Posted November 2, 2017
The first recorded mountaineering expedition occurred in 1492. According to Pastemagazine.com, the first recorded mountaineer was a fellow named Antoine de Ville, who climbed Mont Aiguille in the Vercors near Grenoble in southeastern France (best known as the locale for the 1968 Winter Olympics). Safe to say, de Ville made his ascent without the help of modern climbing gear and clothing – a lot of it made with the help of natural gas and oil – which have made climbing popular among today’s outdoors enthusiasts. Put another way, climbers everywhere should be grateful they don’t have to do what they do in old-fashioned wool outerwear and leather-soled boots.
Mountain and rock climbing, though not the same, are related in the way they surmount the obstacles of sheer rock and the forces of nature – and in the way energy makes them safer and better. In the United States, the state of Idaho is among the best places for a climber to get their thrills, boasting impressive ranges such as the “Seven Devils Mountains” and the Sawtooth Range.
Natural gas and petroleum products didn’t make the rocks or the mountains; they just help make pristine views and the breathtaking surroundings of nature more accessible – figuring in the manufacture of gear ranging from trekking poles to backpacks to outerwear and more.
Packing for the Peak
Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to climbing. Think you’re going to make your way up Borah Peak, Idaho’s tallest, without dressing and packing for the occasion? Think again. Conditions when climbing steep trails at higher elevations are unpredictable. Gear such as petroleum and natural gas-produced water bottles, tents and climbing packs are among the basics for making the journey.
Packing can be tricky considering the various scenarios, terrains and weather conditions. That’s why suppliers like REI offer such a wide variety of packs. They’re durable and offer a number of features to keep supplies dry and safe while reducing strain on the climber. Petroleum products, such as nylon, provide durable materials that can be fashioned into the pack’s main structure, while the outer membrane of the pack provides a reliable and essentially waterproof carrier.
A trusty knapsack isn’t the only necessity. Traction and support are an absolute must when dealing with craggy mountains. Mountaineering boots keep you upright and on your feet while traversing challenging sections. With support provided from nylon and fiberglass, both energy-infused, popular boots like the Salewa Crow GTX make for a trustworthy partner. Synthetic rubber soles used in a number of boot models, made with petroleum, provide durable, gripping traction on the way up.
Look Ma, No Hands
Mountaineering is a one-of-a-kind experience, but precautions are important for a safe outing. Trekking poles are handy for stability and support, coming in various styles and with different features to suit individual climbers’ needs. Grips made from rubber and foam offer climbers comfortable, dry and temperature-controlled handles to control the poles. You could say that energy is the trail guide in the form of these poles, for rubber and foam made from EVA are manufactured from petrochemical and natural gas feedstocks.
But, if your hands are busy finding your next step with trekking poles, how are you supposed to hold onto handheld items like ice axes, maps and water bottles? No worries. Experienced mountaineers are thorough and efficient planners, which is clear from the evolution of their gear. Accessories like nylon ice axe leashes and polyester pack compartments help keep gear secure. Nylon and polyester are polymers forged from petroleum, providing flexible, durable and strong materials to keep a climber organized.
Energy produced gear is an absolute must for mountaineers. From packs to poles, natural gas and petroleum help climbers summit the marked peaks of Idaho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.