Inspired by Heinrich Harrer’s Seven Years in Tibet and his account of the north-face ascent of the Eiger Mountains in The White Spider, Montbell founder and CEO Isamu Tatsuno spent his youth exploring Japan’s hills.
In his early 20s, his passion for climbing took him to the European Alps before returning to Japan at age 23 to open the country’s first climbing school. Five years later he founded Montbell. He then turned his attention to honing his whitewater skills in Japan’s rivers and eventually touring the world by canoe and kayak.
With Tatsuno’s outdoor adventures, it seems only natural for his outdoor gear company to create an “outdoor activities” side now known as Montbell Outdoor Challenge (MOC). Guests can enjoy trekking, climbing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, shower climbing, snow trekking and a variety of other activities.
MOC’s nationwide network of seasoned guides takes great care in using these locally-based events to showcase characteristics distinctive to each area. When asked what event he might recommend in the spring, Kenji Watanabe of Montbell’s public relations department emphatically states, “Everything. There are seminars, lectures and photo exhibitions, plus lots of events taking place all over Japan.” The Montbell Website has a full list of activities.
“Contributing to society” is also part of Tatsuno’s policy toward outdoor living, and the Montbell Club Fund gives form to this feeling. For each person who joins the Montbell Club and pays the ¥1,500 membership fee, 50 points are given to the fund.
As points are accumulated, they are used to assist groups involved in conservation, social welfare and disaster relief. Shoppers can also donate to the fund points through purchases.