A Climber and Photographer Are Chronicling Their Daring Everest Expedition on Snapchat

Bold content from Eddie Bauer, Soylent and Strava

Have you ever wanted to see a Mount Everest expedition unfold live? Now you can, thanks to Snapchat. Sponsored by Eddie Bauer, meal replacement beverage Soylent and Strava, a social network for runners and cyclists, #EverestNoFilter is a journey to the top of Everest chronicled in real time by ski mountaineer Adrian Ballinger and National Geographic photographer Cory Richards.

This week, Ballinger and Richards will begin to climb the world's tallest mountain to raise awareness for the dZi Foundation, a Ridgway, Colo.-based nonprofit that helps remote villages in Nepal rebuild after the devastating earthquake there in April 2015. Throughout the expedition, the alpinists will produce a "Snap-umentary" documenting the journey on Snapchat with short videos and photos posted to the EverestNoFilter account.

Adding to the expedition's intrigue is the fact that Ballinger and Richards are attempting the dangerous climb without supplemental oxygen. More than 7,000 expeditions to Everest's summit have been made with bottled oxygen, but only 193 have been completed without it.

Richards and Ballinger—who has summited Everest six times with oxygen—spoke with Adweek from a village in Nepal where they were preparing for the climb. "Certainly, it's a small group, and for me, it's a peak experience that I've dreamt about for a long time," Ballinger said. "It's something I find inspiring." 

Ballinger added, "We thought about different ways we could tell our story, maybe through blogs or Facebook or Instagram, and we liked Snapchat because it's very difficult to game it. Everything you post has to be posted instantly. You can't edit the photos or videos. It's authentic; it's exactly what's happening to you in the moment. We thought it was a better way to tell the story of climbing Everest."

Eddie Bauer's history with Everest runs deep. The brand equipped the first American expedition to its summit in the 1960s. Ballinger and Richards are a part of Eddie Bauer's guide and athlete program, a slate of skiers and climbers who help the brand create products and provide content for its social media channels.

"It's about inspiring others by telling stories about their adventures," Kristen Elliott, director of marketing at Eddie Bauer, told Adweek. "This was a really direct way for us to tell the story of the adventure of Everest. Our tagline is 'Live your adventure.' We want to inspire people to get out and have an outdoor experience."

 

Likewise, Soylent has a lot of fans who camp, hike and love the outdoors, making #EverestNoFilter an ideal fit for the brand, said Soylent CMO David Renteln. Ballinger and Richards will consume Soylent along with solid food throughout the climb.

"The idea that they would be climbing Everest while being fueled by Soylent was interesting to us," Renteln said. 

Ballinger will also track the expedition on Strava and provide exclusive content for its digital magazine.

"We're big fans of [Ballinger] and what he's doing, and [Richards] is a world-class photographer," said Strava brand manager Andrew Vontz. "It's an opportunity for us to chronicle a historic ascent of Everest, and it's such a cool and interesting endeavor." 

For their part, Ballinger and Richards are excited to work with the brands and mostly to set out on the expedition. Richards narrowly survived an avalanche in the mountains of Pakistan in 2011 but said he feels ready for this climb, one of his first major expeditions since that disaster.

"It's about spending time on the biggest mountain in the world and seeing how far we can take it," he said. "In terms of being scared, I'd be foolish if I wasn't somewhat nervous. It's Everest without oxygen, but the underlying fear isn't present. The content we're creating and the stories that we can tell is open source, and that's exciting. I don't know where it'll go, and I don't care right now—I just want to get on the mountain and have fun with it."