Thursday, 10. September 2015
ISPO and Mammut: Mutual Respect and Trust Fuels Mont Blanc Tour
Many outdoor enthusiasts have a deep passion for the mountains. It isn’t any different for two personalities from the outdoor industry: Rolf Schmid, CEO of Mammut Sports Group, and Klaus Dittrich, Chairman of the Management and CEO of Messe München. They made plans to climb the highest mountain in the Alps together, the 4,810-meter-high Mont Blanc. Yet mountains are not just objects of our fascination—they also show us our limits.
Under bright sunshine the two CEOs and a team consisting of journalists and mountain guides set off on their tour on the morning of September 4th. The plan called for a one-shot ascent, meaning a window of only one day, as the forecast called for a change in weather conditions for the following day. From Nid d’Aigle near Chamonix (2,362 m) the group continued to the Gôuter Refuge (3,835 m) and following a short rest pushed to the peak of Mont Blanc (4,810 m). Both Klaus Dittrich and Rolf Schmid are no mountaineering novices and had trained intensively for the tour. They felt up to the challenge to overcome a vertical ascent of 2,500 meters in one day. But the weather in the mountains is often unpredictable. Shortly before reaching the peak the climbers were assailed by a sudden deterioration in the weather with strong storm winds. Within a short period of time they were enveloped in dense fog and temperatures plummeted. For these conscientious alpinists there was only one correct decision: abort the tour! Head of Messe München Klaus Dittrich: “Safety in the mountains is always rule number one! Of course we were disappointed to have to turn around so close to the peak, however even under those circumstances the tour was a spectacular experience. I am very glad that all participants made it safely down the mountain.”
360-Degree Perspective for the Outdoor Industry
One special feature of this Mont Blanc tour was the documentation for the Mammut #project360. The project documents alpine routes with the help of 360-degree camera technology. “Mammut turns the world’s most important mountain peaks into a virtual experience for everyone. Of course, Mont Blanc had to be among those peaks. It was particularly enjoyable for me to directly help with the documentation,” explains Rolf Schmid. The two CEOs documented their tour up to their weather-related return. A second team successfully finalized the shoot at the peak the following day.
The tour also offered the two executives time to reflect on the competitive outdoor market. Both agree that in these difficult times for everyone the cohesion of the industry is of critical importance. “Just like this tough mountain we can only master the challenges in the market working together,” explains Klaus Dittrich: “ISPO reacts very attentively to the changing market conditions and supports the industry as a partner all year round.” Rolf Schmid is certain: “In today’s market a brand like Mammut can only remain competitive by reflecting back on the unique characteristics that define it and at the same time collaborating with other involved parties as a united industry.”
The two men discovered their common fascination with Mont Blanc at last February’s ISPO MUNICH. This quickly spawned the idea to climb the peak together. A period of intensive training followed, as even natural athletes like Klaus Dittrich and Rolf Schmid can’t handle a challenging tour like this at the spur-of-the-moment. Both went through comprehensive preparations. Beginning in April, Klaus Dittrich started an exercise program with the personal trainer of Messe München, went on a variety of tours with the Mammut Alpine School, and also trained in the altitude chamber at Globetrotter in Munich.
The topic of Health & Fitness—at home and at work—is one of Klaus Dittrich’s most important concerns. He motivates his employees to participate in the corporate sports program and to focus on nutrition—even if there is no tough mountain ascent on the calendar. “Exercise generally promotes health and also has mental benefits. It was a very interesting experience for me to see how you can exceed your own expectations not only in your job but during a mountain ascent.”
For more information and the video from the Mont Blanc ascent please refer to the ISPO Newsblog and the ISPO Facebook page. Images can be downloaded free of charge from the picture archive. More information about ISPO is available at www.ispo.com.