I was lucky enough to be invited on a training session for some Snow+Rock staff by Sherpa Adventure Gear, a brand new to the UK this year. Obviously I jumped at the chance and did a bit of research into the brand, their history and why we’re stocking them this year.
Sherpa Adventure Gear are a family owned business, founded in 2003, that make quality outdoor clothing. What really sets them apart is that they’re based in Nepal, setup by a Sherpa, and have a charity ethic.
It’s named after the “Sher-pa” (people of the east) who trekked from the snowy reaches of Tibet into the Khumbu Valley of Nepal some 300 years ago. These people have since become synonymous with Himalayan expeditions, on which they’ve helped climbers reach the high summits by carrying loads, laying ropes and setting the routes. They are known as tireless and trustworthy people.
The company itself is based in Kathmandu bringing much-needed manufacturing to Nepal. As they phrase it; “’Made in Nepal’ means the world to us socially, economically and environmentally.” They go on to describe how this brings much needed jobs and money into this poor corner of the world.
Not only does the company take the name “Sherpa” but its founder was himself a Sherpa – Tashi Sherpa, a relative of one of the Sherpa’s on the first successful Everest expedition in 1953. He set the company up to leave a lasting legacy in the region and to benefit the local people. To this end they give $0.50 for every item sold to a local charity that provides education to underprivileged Sherpa children.
All this gives you that nice confident feeling that you’ll be investing in a product that will do some good in the world. Which is great – if the products also perform. I was inspired that they’d be able to do this by the fact that they’ve signed some of the British climbing royalty – in form of Kenton Cool (10 times Everest summiteer), Neil Gresham (arguably Britain’s top climbing coach) and the young gun Ed Hamer to act as ambassadors and testers of their products. People with the experience these guys have don’t put their names to just any brand.
So on a cool November morning we arrived at Stanage Plantation car park, closely followed by the guys from Sherpa. After a quick, hot cup of tea and a change of clothing later, and we were kitted out and ready to go. The guys each had a Sherpa Men’s Dorje 1/4 Zip Top, Sherpa Men’s Lithang Jackets, and a Sherpa hat. Rosie, our female representative, got to try a Sherpa Women’s Diklia 1/4 Zip, Sherpa Women’s Lithang Jacket, and a Sherpa hat.
We then watched a video (also available here) on an iPad, providing an interesting and thorough introduction to the brand. This was followed by a discussion of the products features you might look for, who would be interested in them. At this point the rock was still a little damp and the wind was blowing so our first test of the kit would be to head up to the edge at a good pace (to test out the breathability), before scrambling up and down the edge a couple of times to test out the durability and comfort. All the tests worked well and full reviews of each of the items are available as part of our shopping site.
We had lunch back at the car park (a good selection of pasties, piccalilli, and Mule bars) and then headed back to the now dry boulders. Personally I found the Lithang Jacket to be a little hot for bouldering – as you’d expect from a Gore-Tex Pro jacket. The Polartec Powerstretch in the Dorje was superb at keeping my temperature regulated – which was needed, as we’d moved on to the highball (well for me anyway) “Pebble Arête” high up on this is definitely not where you want to be worrying about what you’re wearing! Other classics soon followed with plenty of time spent working the “Green Traverse” (Matt showing us how it was done) followed by “Crescent Arête” and “Not To Be Taken Away”.
All in all it was a top day – lots of fun and a good introduction to the brand and all they stand for. I’d highly recommend Sherpa both as a brand and for the quality of their products. Checkout some of the pics in our Facebook album here and for more information on Sherpa go to http://www.snowandrock.com/sherpa/content/fcp-content