• Transform magazine
  • March 30, 2020


Everest expedition is opportunity for brand and for history

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Summiting the highest mountain on Earth has always been a perilous endeavour. But now, melting glaciers and high levels of foot traffic present more challenges to climbers.

Even this week, there has been debate about the famous Hillary Step’s possible disappearance from the near acme of the peak. But most treacherously in recent years was the 2015 earthquake that shook Nepal with a magnitude of around 8.0. That event also caused a team of Gurkha climbers to be stranded midway up the mountain, while their path back down had been destroyed.

That 2015 attempt at the summit was part of the ongoing dream of the British Brigade of Gurkhas – Nepalese infantrymen serving in the British Army from – to reach the peak of Mount Everest. Never before had a Gurkha in active service reached that lofty goal. Until now.

Beginning preparations in 2016, the 13-strong Gurkha climbing team enlisted London-based brand consultancy Fable to create an identity for the expedition. Fable’s objective was to devise something that would reflect the Gurkha’s fearless spirit and the monumental challenge facing the climbers. The resulting badge features a pair of crossed kukris – a curved dagger traditional to Nepal and iconically associated with the Royal Gurkha Rifles – with the negative space visually creating the peak of Everest.

The proud ‘Gurkha Everest Expedition’ strapline streams around the badge and has been deployed on the mountaineering team's clothing, the expedition's digital channels and on the flag finally taken to the peak of Mount Everest on the regiment’s 200th birthday, the 15th of May.

One of the climbers, rifleman Rakesh wrote from Everest’s Khumbu Icefall, “As soon as we crossed the crampon point, it felt like entering into horror chamber of icefall because any time a crevasse might open under us. Either an ice pinnacle could fall over or the entire area could collapse.” He later documented the freezing, exhausting climb up the mountain to Camp 3 before the team managed to make the final ascent to the summit in May.

Brian O’Bree, chairman of the 6 Gurkha Rifles Regimental Association wrote to the team after their success, “An absolutely magnificent achievement – many congratulations on behalf of the 6th Gurkha Rifles Regimental Association and ‘thulo shybash’ to all members of the team. You have raised the name of Gurkhas to the highest point – literally.”