Descente provided the specialist winter wear for the Japanese team that climbed Mt Everest
“Mountain Goat Party”
Descente participated in the planning and execution of a mid-winter attempt by two teams of Japanese climbers to scale Mt Everest from the south (Nepalese) side and the north (Chinese) side, to arrive simultaneously at the summit. The climbing groups, known as the "Mountain Goat Party" were led by Kazuyuki Takahashi and his wife, Michiko.
To protect the climbers from the extreme winter conditions at the top of Mt Everest, more than 8,000 metres high, where temperatures plunged to minus 50 deg. and jet stream wind speeds reached 60 metres per second, Descente had to apply all of its sports science knowledge and experience. The suits were made in bright fluorescent colors, in order to be highly visible to base camp personnel at all levels of the climb – adding an important safety dimension.
To maintain core body temperature in minus 50 deg. and provide maximum freedom of movement in extreme conditions, Descente created a one-piece suit filled with Polish White Goose Down – at the time the world's best lightweight insulation material, which made it ultra-light as well as trapping the maximum amount of dead air* Because of its appearance, the suit became known as the "walking sleeping bag", and it played an extremely important role in the success of the climbing project.
Knowledge gained in the development of this suit – in combining two or more different materials to achieve a particular purpose - led to multiple benefits for Descente in the subsequent development of other high performance sportswear products.
* Dead Air: The term given to a trapped, immobile layer of air within a garment. Trapping a layer of still air in a garment increases heat retention.