We’ve said it before: We’re not above appreciating a really clever publicity stunt. Pop-up shops are … good. But, they’re also a little 2010. A pop-up shop on a mountainside in the Italian Dolomites, however? Now we’re talking.
The North Face has long been among the world’s most innovative outdoor brands, so it seems fitting their marketing team would debut a publicity stunt befitting the 50-year-old company. Pinnacle Project launched as a one-of-a-kind pop-up shop set high in the Italian Dolomites — at an elevation of 6,889 feet (2,100 meters) to be exact. The only way to get there was — you guessed it — via a two-hour hike to Val San Nicolò in the Italian Alps.
Beyond the extraordinary location, the company took the shop one step further. Inside, visitors discovered eight The North Face items personally used by some of the world’s best-known and most experienced explorers. These were well-worn items — camp duffel bags, down jackets, and alpine mountaineering-worthy backpacks — taken straight from the packs of pioneers like Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, David Göttler, and James Pearson. Each piece was up for auction to one lucky bidder and, in The North Face’s words, “all proceeds will be given back to the mountains.” More specifically, the charity auction benefits the Society of the Tridentine Alpinists.
To be fair, The North Face isn’t the first company to open a mountainside pop-up shop. As far as we know, that honor goes to 37.5 Technology. In September 2017, the performance technology brand opened Cliffside Shop. The so-called “world’s most remote pop-up shop” was only accessible via a 300-foot climb up a nearly vertical wall in Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon State Park. Sure, both were blatant publicity stunts. But neither is any less awesome for it!
A visit to the Pinnacle Project shop really only counted if you’d gotten there the hard way: on your own two feet. But, for the less adventurous armchair explorers among us, the one-of-a-kind items mentioned above could also be bid on via the Athlete Archives on the official The North Face website. For those who missed this round of items, the pop-up shop will next travel to Berlin, Germany, then on to Manchester, England. The highest bidders will receive a personal message from each piece’s respective owner with words of encouragement to never stop exploring.
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