"With the ever-going popularity of climbing the Mont Blanc, the Haute Savoie Prefect have voted unanimously to police both the Gouter Route and the Three Monts Route up to the Mont Blanc from June to September."
Remember our for fathers who climbed with brouges and tweed.......without the benifit of the "best in test"
But they used tweed becuse it was the best available for the job!
Modern gear has become progressively more comfortable/convenient. Which is, I suspect, part of why there are a hell of a lot more people out playing in the hills than there used to be. But it will also be the case that far more marketing of the outdoors (via fancy gear) has a hand in it too (as does more leisure time and easier access).
It's all a complete con. I often climb in the Scottish mountains wearing tweed, and can assure you it's just as comfortable as Goretex in the most extreme conditions (except if it's warm and raining, but then again even Goretex fails in those conditions!)
Modern gear offers only small improvements over the stuff people were wearing 100+ years ago. I've tried it and it works. Nailed climbing boots, simple un-lined leather, are also more comfortable than £350 Scarpa B3 boots.
"These "inexperienced walkers" for whose benefit we are proposing a grading system are the ones who go into the hills in completely unsuitable clothing, without map/compass or the knowledge to use them anyway, and get into trouble or get back safely in spite of their massive ignorance."
I think it's pretty obvious that walkers that inexperienced need educating, or at least a friendly reminder when we bump into them that they are putting themselves in danger, and potentially wasting resources if their inexperience results in an unnecessary callout.
A unified grading system is only half the battle really.
I have thought of a system that may be able to reduce the number of MR callouts that are the result of inexperienced walkers biting off more than they can chew.
While some walking guides use a loose form of grading system for their walks, they are massively subjective, often have no relevance outside the scope of the guide, and are not widely adopted. This has in some cases led to walkers being misled by the perceived difficulty of a walk. For example, many describe the ascent of Ben Nevis via the CMD Arete as a walk, yet as such it is one of the most difficult walks in the British Isles and is a trap for the unwary.
The obvious solution is to introduce a universally-accepted grading system, unified with the scrambling grades. This way everyone, from the most seasoned mountaineer to a complete beginner, will have a clear idea of where a particular route fits in the grand scheme of things.
Here is my proposed system:
Class D : easy walks on obvious paths, length not over five miles, to a summit of height no more than 500m.
Class C : similar to D, but possibly involving an easy ridge walk with a longer total distance and a total height of up to 700m. Paths may not be as good.
Class B : routes of up to 12 miles on rough terrain, some of which will be off-path and may feature some scrambling. Summits may be up to 900m in height.
Class A : walks of any length on very rough terrain up to the maximum possible height in this country, possibly entirely off-path and featuring challenging navigation.
Class B and A walks may feature graded scrambles. For example, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe would be graded A(1), as would the Snowdon Horseshoe. The ascent of Tower Ridge would be A(4). Coniston Old Man via Brim Fell Slabs would be B(2).
I think this system, if adopted, has the potential to create better awareness among the walking community of the objective dangers of any walk they might want to attempt. I think it's astonishing that walks have so far escaped a unified grading system when both scrambling and rock climbing have had established grading schemes for years.