re-sized Eiger Monch and Jungfrau

Mammut of Switzerland turns 150

Mammut used to be just a humble little Swiss company selling ropes. That was in 1862, 150 years ago. Today it has blossomed into an innovative multi-national company with its head office in Switzerland and branches and subsidiaries around the world developing, manufacturing and selling mountaineering, outdoor pursuits and snow sports products. An extensive network of agents handle its global distribution.

In 2012 Mammut officially turns 150. In celebration of this event Mammut have come up with a fitting anniversary celebration – 150 Peaks for their 150 years. And how are they going to achieve the biggest peak project in history? “From August 2011 until August 2012, 150 teams from all over the world will crest 150 peaks worldwide and take part in the most jaw-dropping alpine undertaking the world has ever seen!”

The peak project was officially launched on Wednesday, August 3rd 2011 on the Jungfrau (4’158 m) in the Bernese Alps. on the very same day that, exactly 200 years ago, the mountain peak was first conquered by two Swiss brothers, Johann Rudolf  and Hieronymus Meyer.

The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks

The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks

150 glaring red tents blossomed on the Jungfraujoch (3,471 m) like a field of poppies. It was from here, Anniversary Basecamp, that well-known personalities from politics, economy and sport joined top-class alpinists to climb the Jungfrau and kick off the staggering event. The tents also accommodated 40 international mountain guides from all over the world, including Peru, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, the USA and Canada, as well as top athletes, climbing pros, and mountain rescue authority Oswald Ölz (SUI).

Mammut's Anniversary Basecamp on the JungFraujoch

Mammut's Anniversary Basecamp on the Jungfraujoch

This is no hastily thought out project. It has been many months in the planning and the lead-up to the kick-off event was carried out in 3 phases:

Phase 1 was the initial recruitment phase. Mammut fans had the chance to apply to become team leaders by creating a virtual mountain. After creating their peak, their next task was to find supporters among their friends and in the Community. Their supporters’ photos were then mapped on the mountains to make them grow to dizzying heights.

The mountain founders with the highest peaks were selected from each country to go forward to the team building phase. More than 2,500 users from 80 countries founded their own mountains. 38,000+ supporters let those mountains grow…

In Phase 2 the selected peak founders had to assemble their teams and plan the details of the tours. Each peak project has its own separate page to introduce the team and to be part of a team, you had to apply to the team leaders via the Climbers’ Board, a kind of jobs exchange for mountaineers. The complete teams then had to present their projects to an expert jury which decided whether they should go forward to phase 3 of the ultimate Test Event.

… phew…

In Phase 3 the jury selected the the teams who will climb the 150 summits around the world in the ultimate Test Event. The climbs will be made with the support of professional mountain guides from the Mammut Alpine School. They will also be equipped with the anniversary collection and a visual and audio record will be made of their ascent.

Although the initial team selections have already been done and you think you’ve probably missed out, don’t worry, there is still a chance to join an existing team. Just head over to the Peak Project web site and get registered.

One of the three mountain guides from the US is Art Mooney and I have him to thank for this wonderful photograph taken inside the lecture igloo. Look at the size of the thing!

Mammut's lecture igloo on the Jungfrau

Mammut's lecture igloo

“From start to finnish the event was non stop. Groups climbed the Jungfrau and the Monch peaks, we attended workshops, and were treated to excellent Swiss cuisine each day,” he said.

“Standing on the summit of the Jungfrau this morning (3rd August) – 200 years to the day of the first ascent – and simultaneously giving the starting signal for MAMMUT’s fantastic project was a simply mind-blowing experience,” said Heinz Karrer, CEO of Axpo Holding AG.

If the rest of the year is anything like the opening event, then it promises to go down in living memory… and not just as the biggest summit project of all time!

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