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Bally's long-standing tie to the mountains begins with its Alpine origins and pioneering legacy since 1851. From sponsoring the 1956 Swiss Winter Olympics team and early 20th century expeditions with notable mountaineers including Raymond Lambert and Lionel Terray, to creating the Reindeer boots worn by Tenzing Norgay during the first-ever ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary, Bally has always had a deep reverence for the environment and outdoors.
The Bally Peak Outlook Foundation
In 2019, Bally returned to Everest and introduced Bally Peak Outlook, an inaugural cleanup expedition that reflected the company's broader commitment to corporate social responsibility. Led by environmental activist and mountaineer Dawa Steven Sherpa and his team of expert climbers, two tons of waste were successfully removed from base camp to the peak, and responsibly processed by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, with over half collected from the "Death Zone."
The 2019 Bally Peak Outlook initiative also collaborated with climber and author Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of Tenzing Norgay, for his cultural expertise and insights into the region. Bally is proud to support the family-run Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Foundation, which provides educational programs throughout the Khumjung Valley and the Himalayan region.
The Bally Peak Outlook Foundation was further established in 2020, formalizing the company's ongoing commitment to environmental preservation. With a mission to safeguard the world's fragile mountain habitats from the adverse effects of global warming and excessive tourism, the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation raises global awareness around the issues threatening the future of these extreme landscapes and empowers local communities to affect positive change.
In Fall 2020, a Bally Peak Outlook eco-friendly capsule collection of shoes, accessories and ready-to-wear was launched, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the foundation's preservation projects. Environmental activist and renowned photographer Michel Comte shot the limited-edition collection in Switzerland's Rhône Glacier, calling much-needed attention to the glaciers of the Alps.
The "8 X 8000M" Pledge
According to the Himalayan Database, a record of all mountaineering expeditions in Nepal, over 10,500 expeditions have attempted to climb the country’s 8,000-meter peaks, including Everest, since 1905. Subsequently, base camps are among the most inhabited areas on the mountains during climbing season, and frequent sites for pollution.
Due to their remote access and extreme conditions, these heavily trafficked areas have rarely been cleaned, amassing decades of garbage that pollute the Himalyan glaciers, which provide 800 million people downstream with freshwater for everyday irrigation, hydropower and drinking.
In September 2020, the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation embarked on the first phase of its “8 X 8000M” pledge to clean up the base camps of Nepal’s eight 8,000-meter mountains, which comprise this at-risk ecosystem. The 47-day expedition, led by Dawa, traveled West to East, removing 2.2 tons of waste from the base camps of Cho Oyu (8,188m), Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,516m) and Makalu (8,485m), while utilizing alternate routes since official trails were closed due to Covid-19.
The unprecedented events brought upon by the global pandemic have had consequential effects on Nepal, whose tourism industry supports over 1 million jobs and comprises 7.9% of its GDP. The Bally Peak Outlook Foundation project was able to provide critical income for local communities in the Himalayan region, employing professional climbers, cleaners, sorters, packers, porters, as well as dedicated support teams on the ground at each base camp who were all native to the mountain region.
Restoring these sacred slopes to their natural, pristine state, the second phase of the “8 X 8,000M” expedition will take place over the course of 2021, when teams will clean up the base camps of Kanchenjunga (8,586m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m), Annapurna (8,091m), as well as Everest for a third time.
Celebrating Local Voices
In 2020, Bally formalized its long-term commitment to mountain preservation, establishing the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation, whose mission is to safeguard the world's fragile mountain environments. By 2021, Bally will clean up the base camp of Everest for a second time, as well as those of seven other 8,000-meter mountains in the Himalayas, including Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, under Dawa's stewardship.
Future cleanup initiatives to Mt. Fuji and Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Japan and Tanzania, respectively, are planned for the near future.
Due to the demanding terrain, approximately half of the “8 X 8000M” expedition team was composed of ethnic Sherpa, whose unique genetic pathways allow them to live and work in extreme mountain environments. To highlight the Himalayan Sherpa community, Bally commissioned a series of short documentary films dedicated to the first phase of “8 X 8000M” and its four majestic mountain peaks.
Everest, the Himalayas & Beyond
Narrated by the people who are an intrinsic part of its everyday life, these local voices include Yankila Sherpa, a trailblazing female entrepreneur from Olangchung Gola, and Naga Dorje Sherpa, a prominent expedition Sirdar, or leader to the younger generation, who was born and raised in Khumjung village.
Covering 25% of the world's land surface and supplying freshwater for 12% of the human population, mountain environments around the world are in need of critical attention and care.
Developing expeditions with “sister mountains,” the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation conducts mountain preservation programs around the world.
A high-altitude climb to remove waste from the inaccessible areas of Mt. Fuji with the Fujisan Club is underway, as well as initiatives to support local rangers of Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania to build new routes and promote sustainable tourism.
Since 2019, Bally sponsors the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, also known as the UIAA, and its annual Mountain Protection Award, which leads global projects that improve the lives and conditions of mountain people and their communities.
Covering 25% of the world's land surface and supplying freshwater for 12% of the human population, fragile mountain environments around the world are in need of critical attention and care as they face the adverse effects of global warming and excessive tourism.
Further Reading & Resources
Unión Internacional de Asociaciones de Alpinismo (UIAA)
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
World Nature Forum (WNF)
Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible: Montañas. Naciones Unidas
Día Internacional de las Montañas, 11 de diciembre. Naciones Unidas
Limpiar la cima del mundo – National Geographic