When Tenzing and Hillary attained the summit of Everest, the outer clothing that protected them from the fantastic winds and cold at the top of the world was made of an almost ridiculously lightweight fabric (4¾ ounces to the yard) that has since proved to be one of the finest protective shells developed by man. The cloth, a poplin of such extremely fine weave that only one mill (John South worth in England) is producing it, is of 72% Sea Island cotton, 28% nylon. It was the only one of 22 fabrics developed in competition for the British Ministry of Supply that met the Everest expedition's specifications. It will withstand winds of 100 mph and continuous hard rain for seven hours without penetration. "Everest cloth," as the fabric has been popularly called (the mill's name for it is Wincol 711), is now being made into a wide variety of outer clothing, from frostbite suits for sailors to classic trench coats. They're expensive, since the cloth is costly, and limited (only 4,000 garments may be made a year by Aquascutum of London, sole manufacturer), but for protection against the extremes of the out-of-doors a man would be hard put to find a better fabric. As added proof, the U.S. Navy has just placed an order for Wincol cloth to be made into Blanchard Draw-Tite tents for Admiral Byrd's 1957 Operation Deep Freeze expedition to the Antarctic.
Ski parka of Everest cloth ($65) has drawstring in hood and at waist. Since the fabric is mostly cotton, it "breathes."
Fishing jacket ($65) has many pockets for carrying the gear and a drawstring closure at the waist to keep winds out.
Frostbite suits ($130) of blue Everest cloth come in men's and women's sizes, have tubes for inflating safety compartments.
September 9, 1956
Golf jacket ($45 for man's, $42.50 for woman's, both Brooks Brothers, N.Y.) is zippered, has plenty of shoulder swing room.
Shooting jacket ($65) has belt, bellows pockets for shells, free pleat at shoulder. It comes in conventional field-tan color.
Raincoat for women is raglan fly-front (I. Magnin's, about $70) and for men is horn-buttoned trench coat (Marshall Field, $85).