I recently was going through some of my old climbing gear that has been in storage since at least the mid-80's. Among the stuff I found were a lot of old mild-steel pitons, a few aluminum "bongs" and about six steel screw-gate carabiners. Also in the box was a 120' length of 7/16" manilla rope and several 1/4" manilla slings with wood steps built in. All weighed together the pile of out-of-date climbing gear came to nearly 20 pounds and it was only part of what I used to take along when climbing in Washington long ago. My old ice axe weighs about 24 oz and my old front-point crampons weighed about the same. A lot of the climbing iron had long since been retired in favor of either aluminum versions of the same thing or in favor of eccentric jam nuts of one flavor or another. It is hard for me to believe that I used to take that stuff along in addition to the camping gear needed for climbing trips.

Also in the pile was a Sierra Designs mountain parka made of 60/40 cloth that I bought in the late 60's, if I recall correctly. It is now holey and frayed but still useable. It weighs 1.5 lb and is a far cry from the 4 oz hooded wind shirt I made a few years ago to serve much the same purposes. I only retired the parka a few years ago. But, it seems as though 60/40 is making a comeback. Check this out.

"Long before the days of GORE-TEX, eVent, or even Polartec Fleece, the weather resistant fabric du jour was something called 60/40 fabric. In 1968, this special fabric made Sierra Designs famous through the introduction of the original 60/40 mountain parka, planting the company firmly on the outdoor apparel map.

Developed in the US during the 1950's and still manufactured in the US today, 60/40 fabric is a combination of 60% cotton and 40% nylon. The cotton and nylon fibers are woven perpendicular to each other into a dense fabric that actually increases in density when wet, helping to further repel water and wind. In dry conditions, the fabric is extremely breathable, perfect for vigorous outdoor activities.

Extremely durable, jackets made out of 60/40 fabric have been known to last a lifetime of outdoor punishment. Apparel made today with this fabric is usually treated with a DWR finish to help with water repellency and can be continually retreated over the life of the garment. Though eventually losing favor in the US, 60/40 fabric has remained popular in many parts of the world.

Sierra Designs has now brought back the original 60/40 fabric in their Vintage Heritage Collection."

I knew that if I hung on to the parka long enough it would come back into fashion. Now, about those pitons..........
May I walk in beauty.