This spring, Bally launched its Peak Outlook initiative in an effort to preserve the world’s most extreme mountain environments and their surrounding communities. Introducing this long-term commitment, the Swiss luxury brand sponsored a critical clean-up expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, reaching the Earth’s highest peak on 21st May. During one of the most challenging climbing season’s to date, Bally sponsored a clean-up mission that removed more than 2 tons of waste, over half a ton of which was collected in the ‘Death Zone’ (above 8000m) where available oxygen is a quarter of what is needed to sustain the human body at sea level.
Led by Dawa Steven Sherpa and his team of experienced climbers and guides, all of whom are of the Sherpa ethnic tribe native to Nepal’s high Himalayas, this extraordinary clean-up effort, taking place from April to May, helped to restore the pristine landscape between Everest Base Camp (5,380m) and its iconic peak (8,848m). The initiative also engaged Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who while wearing Bally boots made history in first reaching Mount Everest’s summit alongside Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Trekking the world’s tallest mountains is a formidable feat requiring courage, commitment and perseverance. However, the harsh conditions found at these extreme altitudes make it challenging to manage the volume of trash and debris that gets left behind. The planet’s majestic mountains and their inhabitants are in urgent need of support, and with outdoor tourism’s popularity on the rise, visitors across mountain ranges worldwide are leaving a devastating footprint. The recent loss of human life on Everest also exposes the very real dangers of this intrepid climb and the magnitude of the role the Sherpa community play in preserving and protecting their high-altitude territories.
While previous clean-ups have been limited to areas between base camp and the mountain’s mid-point at Camp II (6,400m), due to the high-altitude terrain which renders mechanical assistance impossible, Bally’s Peak Outlook expedition reached the very top of Everest’s summit. It’s an endeavor that was only achieved by human intervention, and specifically Sherpas, who possess rare and remarkable genetic pathways and fortitude to work at such staggering heights.
“When I first started climbing in 2007, I was shocked and saddened by the amount of waste abandoned in this magnificent landscape. The following year I made it my goal to pioneer a clean-up mission which to date has recovered over 19.5 tons of trash. Reaching the summit of Everest requires significant resources, so I was delighted when Bally came to our cause, aiding and supporting the first organised clean-up of Everest’s summit.’Dawa Steven Sherpa, Leader, Eco Everest Expeditions and CEO, Asian Trekking
Without Bally’s funding and support, such an ambitious expedition would not have reached the peak––a perilous journey fraught with challenges, whether enduring the hours-long queues of climbers, the shifting surface of the melting Khumbu Glacier or the temperamental weather, notably Cyclone Fani which tore through the camps causing damage to tents and delaying treks.
As silence descends at Everest Base Camp and the climbing season draws to a close, Bally’s initiative continued by supporting an additional Sherpa crew this June to remove discarded debris left behind by the last expedition teams. This was the first time ever that a clean-up expedition had been initiated at the end of the season, collecting one tonne of abandoned waste. The 2019 season alone saw some 1200 climbers pass through the storied campground that leads to the world’s highest peak.
Nepali mountain climber and author Jamling Tenzing Norgay also played an important role in shaping and informing Bally’s Peak Outlook initiative in the region, furthering the long-standing relationship between Bally, the Himalayas and the Norgay family.
“I think people come to the Himalayas to enjoy its beauty—the highest mountains in the world. They forget that the beauty lies not in the mountains but in the culture. We Sherpas believe that mountains are a sacred place. We don’t climb mountains for leisure or sport. We climb because it’s a way of living.”- Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Nepali mountain climber and author
Bally’s ties to Mount Everest date back to 1947, when the luxury brand supplied the Swiss Expedition with custom, rubber-soled footwear. It was during these earlier expeditions that Tenzing Norgay received his world-famous Bally reindeer boots, which he later wore during the first-ever successful summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Bally’s enduring bond to the mountains stems from its deeply-rooted Swiss heritage, Alpine origins and pioneering legacy. This inaugural Everest clean-up expedition marks a long-term commitment by Bally to preserve the world’s most extreme mountain environments and communities.
To celebrate the launch of Bally Peak Outlook, the brand will introduce an exclusive capsule collection, where 100% of net proceeds will benefit future expeditions. The first drop includes a GOTS-certified organic cotton t-shirt, featuring the slogan ‘No Mountain High Enough’, available online for €95.
‘The mountain lifestyle is not only core to Bally’s heritage but an integral code in the roadmap for its future. I am proud that Bally’s Peak Outlook initiative is just one element of a larger commitment to sustainability.’- Nicolas Girotto, Bally CEO