How it all started

Australia may not have much in the way of high mountain terrain but what we lack in the vertical scale is more than made up for by (usually) enviable weather and a rugged landscape with a rich diversity of wild and natural coastline, rivers, forests, cliffs, mountains and deserts.

“Three fifteen year old boys, their black hooded heads bent down against the wind driven rain, walked resolutely on. There was no other easy option -the ragged ridge top disappearing into swirling mist before them was by far their easiest way out. Wetness, coldness and a background sense of being a long way from home dominated their feelings but in the absence of any view- down into densely forested ravines below or further onto the succession of ridge crests and mountains that led to all horizons, it was what they could hear that made their setting so dramatic. The wind tearing at the rocks and roaring through the waving canopies of twisted snow gums, their soaked army surplus wool trousers flapping to each hurried step, the squelching of their boots and the near freezing rain splashing down in curtains were sounds that combined to confirm their precarious predicament.

It was a typical nor-westerly front hitting the crest-line of the Victorian Alps but for the three walkers it was their first alpine blizzard and as they marveled and shuddered at the ferocity of the wind and the wildness of the setting, a sense of doubt and unease grew in their minds Their oilskin coats might have kept the rain out but their woolen under garments were soaked from condensation … ” So Tim Macartney Snape later wrote about one of his first forays into the mountains in 1971.

Back then outdoor gear had changed little in generations but change was on the horizon and people were just starting to take to the outdoors for fun in growing numbers. A decade on, the new wave of enthusiasm for the outdoors was in full swing and on the other side of Australia, another teenager, Roland Tyson, began discovering the outdoors. As his adeptness grew, especially in climbing, he started sewing his own gear in his bedroom. Gradually the sewing took over as a fulltime job, he had his mum June help him out, called his business Namche Bazaar and set up above an outdoor store in the middle of Perth.

Having summited Everest in 1984, Tim was in Perth lecturing on mountaineering when Roland approached him for some advice on how he might go planning a trip to cross the Himalaya on skis and a friendship was born. So naturally when Tim began planning his unprecedented climb of Everest starting from the sea on the Bay of Bengal, he asked Roland to make him some lightweight equipment for the trip- more than twenty years later Tim is still using some of that gear. In 1990, Tim and Roland established Sea to Summit – named after Tim’s successful expedition- as a company that would make use of their outdoor knowledge to create innovative, lightweight gear for travel the outdoors. Twenty-one years later, June, Roland, Penny Sanderson (Roland’s partner) and Tim are still the owner directors but the family has grown to fifty employees and all are encouraged to foster a passion for the outdoors.

Sea to Summit is now sold in over 35 countries and has won design and business awards in Australia, Europe and America. But growth and international recognition has not compromised the original ethos of the company. Today more than ever, Sea to Summit continues to research the best materials, production methods and ideas for new products keeping us at the forefront of bringing lighter, better made, better performing gear to enthusiasts around the world.

We thank all our customers and wish you all the best in getting out there and discovering this remarkable world.