Clima Customer Spotlight: Black Yak
Black Yak engineers outdoor clothing for the toughest conditions on the planet. Their gear is a favorite of Adam Bielecki, a climber known for the first winter ascents of Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak. Last year Bielecki, together with Denis Urubko, was awarded the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for their heroic rescue mission on Nanga Parbat.
The mountaineers' perseverance and selfless attitude displayed in the Himalaya embodies the spirit of Black Yak. The company’s founders believe that true high altitude climbers live by the rule of the mountain. Moderation, tolerance and appreciation for nature and their peers is what they learn on the snowy slopes and what they take back into everyday lives.
Founded in 1973 in Seoul, Korea, Black Yak is dedicated to providing high climbers with the toughest, most technically advanced gear that can be trusted even in the Himalayan death zone. From working with the best designers to the meticulous production and testing process, Black Yak products are engineered to perform. In 2016, the company entered the European and US markets and subsequently won eleven ISPO Awards, eight of which were gold.
In 2017 Black Yak made history as the most successful company in the history of the ISPO Awards. A year later, the company was praised again for their successful venture into urbanwear. The technology developed for the highest peaks on Earth was blended with sleek design inspired by the habitat of the yak and the unique landscape of Nepal.
Social responsibility and environmentalism are at the core of the brand’s identity. That’s why in 2015 the company could not stand by in the aftermath of the tragic Tibetan earthquake and donated one million dollars to aid the victims.
Apart from ad hoc charity, Black Yak’s long-term goal is to release a PFC-free collection by 2022 - a move rooted in the concern for global climate change. (PFCs are greenhouse gases that do not break down once released into the environment and are still commonly used in many industries, including clothing.)
The 2020 collection is innovative both in its design and functionality. Capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of the Alps and even the Himalaya, Black Yak garments are equally at home in the valleys and cities. It brings together the most advanced materials, like GORE-TEX®INFINIUM™ for the weather shell and Climashield® insulation for durable warmth. This combination can be found in the technical waterproof KOSTROMA Jacket, which is also windproof and highly breathable.
To achieve the highest performance levels, Black Yak blends natural down and synthetic insulation, like in the MOCHO Jacket designed to feel at home above 5000m of altitude. Other garments, like expedition grade Mahal Pants, are insulated solely with synthetic continuous filament insulation from Climashield®, depending on their intended functionality.
“Functionality comes first, and then the innovative product is equipped with a unique design. It’s not an easy path, but we have a young, highly motivated team that’s working (sometimes day and night) on making a visible difference in both function and design. Only that way can we come out on top,” says Maximilian Nortz, Managing Director responsible for establishing Black Yak’s brand in Europe and North America.