Walking along a high-altitude path the other day, clad in about ten layers of thermogorexlactylite, I met a family who had decided to take their kids up the same mountain wearing flipflops and summer dresses.
When you’re standing at the bottom of a big hill, on a beautiful sunny morning, it’s very easy to think that a stroll to the top would be a fun, spur-of-the-moment thing to do for an hour or two. Four hours later, you can easily find yourselves soaked, lost in the mist and with chattering teeth in a wind-chill of -10. The mountain rescue services cost a huge amount to launch -and they may not get to you in time.
Today’s invention is a way to help people to imagine what conditions on the way to the top can be like (I once worked on a naval firefighting simulation project with the aim of making the unimaginable real). This takes the form of an extra portaloo shell (many popular walks supply these facilities at the carpark anyway). This would have an entrance and an exit and be built into a fence so that the only easy way onto the mountain would be via this portal.
On opening the entrance door, showers inside would be activated, together with a powerful fan, in an attempt to create the worst thermal environment experienced on the mountain within, say the last month. Inside it would be kept dark.
Ill-equipped people would thus be made aware of the potential unpleasantness of their impromptu trip and either get correctly kitted -or dissuaded.
Better dissuaded than deceased.