Sunday, 21 April 2013

Preparing to Conquer Giants - Jöttnar

Some time ago I caught a glimpse of something on a web page or a social network somewhere, it took my interest and I followed it like Alice did watching Mad Hatter disappear down the rabbit hole. I read the statement on the home page of Jöttnars website and I admired their ethos and could sense the passion that emanated from it.

"Jöttnar has one aim: to produce the highest quality technical mountain sports wear and gear in the world. Our ethos and focus are built upon our experience as mountaineers and a core commitment to create equipment of exceptional quality and functionality. First and foremost, Jöttnar is about quality; of design, materials and craftsmanship. Rigorously tested at each stage of development by our Mountain Professionals, you will find clothing of unimpeachable integrity.
Our gear is constructed to help protect your life and optimise your performance in the harshest conditions on earth. We make no compromises in our approach and everything we make is created for serious users in serious conditions."

I emailed the info address to see if there was any more information on what was coming up. 

Promptly I received a very gracious response from an ex-member of an organisation I was also a member of, although I was a lesser rank and department. The email came from Tommy, one of the founders of Jöttnar, he explained that at that time the brand was in its infancy and the early stages of product design. This was back in January 2012. Since that first email I have kept in touch regularly with Tommy and received updates on how things were going. 

Recently I received an email with the impending launch this coming autumn and Tommy has posted a blog with how the brand has developed from an idea made around a kitchen table to company that will go up against multi million dollar brand names. 
A quote by Tommy taken from the recent press release shows again the concept Jottnär are striving for ‘Our passion as mountaineers, skiers and climbers feeds a core commitment to create gear of enduring quality and functionality. Clean lines, uncluttered design, athletic tailoring and a relentless attention to detail are the defining features of the range.’

Polertec and Schoeller were confirmed for their fabrics and through the medium of Facebook glimpses of the prototypes could be seen. 
There has also been regular blogs from the Jöttnar ambassadors proving their own calibre and how they will test the initial garments to their limits in every mountain environment. The ambassadors include - 

Mark Thomas
Mark is a full-time UIAGM International Mountain Guide and is a co-founder and Director of Elite Mountain Guides, a Chamonix-based guiding company. His outdoor achievements make for an enviable outdoor bucket list. In March he put up a new VIII,8, mixed route on the North Face of the Aiguille Du Midi and named it 'Jöttnar' which was covered on UKClimbing.

Mike Pescod
Mike is a Jöttnar Mountain Professional and operates Fort William-based Abacus Mountaineering, providing skills training and mountain guiding in Scotland and the Alps. There's a good blog of the first winter ascent of Engineer's Crack on Buachaille Etive Mor.

Alison Culshaw
Alison operates Off Piste Performance, based in the Chamonix Valley, where she has been teaching and skiing for over 7 years.  She delivers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to the British Mountain Guides and works as a trainer on the BASI Mountain Safety Courses tutoring aspiring instructors. She has written blogs for the Jottnär website including this one on planning for teaching to ski.

Daniel Wildey
Daniel Wildey is a professional photographer as well as a guest blogger and friend of Jöttnar.  He has climbed, skied, worked and travelled throughout the Dolomites and is the author of Aspects of the Dolomites. He took the photo above of Mike Pescod pulling out of Minus Three Gulley on Ben Nevis. He also wrote this blog about Working The Dream which I really enjoyed.  You can look him up on Facebook, here.

Now the launch date looms and I for one am very excited to see the finished products hit the mountains, this Autumn/Winter season will see Jöttnar go head to head with the big boys. The launch will take place at a "well-known and iconic venue in the Scottish Highlands" is what I've been told, whether I'm invited or not I'll be going for a nosey! I know what new gear smells like, I'll find them! 

With the pedigree of the founders and the experince of the ambassadors we should expect a lot from their products. So expect to see this emblem in the future and you'll know it's come from good stock.

So Tommy and Steve over to you, show us what you got...