Mountain Equipment: The Truth of Alpinism
Mountain Equipment started making gear to take on the most inhospitable places on the planet in 1961. Since then, they have participated in countless ascents, supported ever more adventurous routes and equipped world record trips to both the North and South Poles. Alpinism is their way of life, a culture that is as undiminished today as when they were founded. So, how have they achieved so much in just over sixty years? We explore the philosophy behind this leading mountaineering brand.
The Truth of Alpinism
For Mountain Equipment, alpinism is more than just climbing, it’s an entire approach to life that sets out to connect those who value simplicity, efficiency, honesty and self-responsibility with a deep respect for the mountains and others. This philosophy shapes every decision they make, guiding them towards summits, along ridges and through their daily lives.
For them, alpinism is at the heart of every product, and they put their expertise into designing and engineering clothing and equipment, not for glory or recognition but for necessity. By combining both the craft and the practice of alpinism, they create unbeatable gear that performs in the most extreme conditions.
Born from a desire to head higher and push further, Mountain Equipment are constantly seeking to challenge their capabilities. The climbing culture of evaluating and assuming risks, self-managing and self-responsibility transfers directly into their workforce. Their whole team is guided by these principles to ensure that their gear not only pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, but that allows you to push your boundaries too.
A more sustainable future
Sustainability, ethics and responsibility matter to Mountain Equipment too. They’re on a journey to minimise their impact and enhance our world, leaving it in a better place than today for future generations. To achieve this, Mountain Equipment are involved with several organisations and have implemented their own strict codes of conduct.
Fair Wear Foundation
Mountain Equipment have been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2012 and have been awarded ‘Leader Status’ since 2016.
The Fair Wear Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with brands and producers to improve labour conditions in the garment industry. Mountain Equipment are committed to implementing the strict eight-point Fair Wear Code of Labour Practices of the organisation. These are some of the highest standards for working conditions and include the payment of living wages, reasonable working hours, safe and healthy working conditions and the prevention of child labour, and many more.
Like many outdoor brands, Mountain Equipment utilises down within some of their insulated products due to its incredible warmth-to-weight ratio. But they want to ensure the down they use doesn’t cause any animal unnecessary suffering, so they’ve put together the Down Codex®, a set of rules and standards they are committed to upholding.
The four key rules of the Down Codex® set out that any virgin down used:
- Should be a by-product of the meat industry and come from birds that have been humanely slaughtered
- Should come from birds that have been raised in good conditions and to high standards of animal welfare
- Shouldn’t come from birds that have been live-plucked or live harvested
- Shouldn’t come from birds that have been force-fed
In addition to these rules, Mountain Equipment also upholds the Five Freedoms as defined by the RSPCA.
To ensure compliance, Mountain Equipment works with independent auditors and uses on-the-ground audits of farms, slaughterhouses, processes and factories. They are also committed to transparency and are the only brand to make audit results and independent quality reports publicly available online.
You can trace the down used in your Mountain Equipment products by inputting the 12 digit code printed on the Down Codex® stamped label on their website.
Mountain Equipment recognise the impact that the manufacturing of gear has on the environment, from carbon emissions and other pollutants to the use of vital materials. They recognise one of the best ways to combat this is to look after the gear we already have and reduce consumption. But when that’s not possible, they aim to reduce their reliance on virgin materials by using more recycled materials. Their Down Cycle initiative recycles post-consumer down products and re-uses the down.
Down Cycle began with the introduction of 100% post-consumer recycled down in their Earthrise range in 2017, but they have now set themselves even more ambitious plans. They want to create a functioning closed-loop recycling system that ensures down products, that are no longer wanted or are at the end of their life, don’t just get thrown away.
Down is extremely resilient and has a long life span, so when correctly treated can be easily rejuvenated and offer performance close to that of when it was new. The recycled down Mountain Equipment use is guaranteed to be a minimum of 85/15 700 fill power - the highest quality possible.
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