The Everest model for high-altitude professionals,
innovated through the experience of conquering nine ascents

Hiroyuki Kuraoka is a mountain guide with expertise in the high-altitude field, having climbed the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on the seven continents) as well as the eight-thousanders including Mt. Everest, Manaslu, and Cho Oyu. His career as a high-altitude guide spans nearly 20 years, and he has climbed Mt. Everest nine times–the most ascents by any Japanese person on record. In 2013, he joined Yuichiro Miura's Mt. Everest summit attempt as the expedition leader, guiding the then 80-year-old Miura to a successful ascent.
Kuraoka, who grew up in Chiba Prefecture, first became fascinated with mountains when he was in the fifth grade. While browsing through an introductory book on mountaineering at a bookstore, he saw a picture of a climber ascending Mt. Tsurugidake. Not knowing what had come over him, he couldn't take his eyes off the image.
"I knew this was what I wanted to pursue in my life, and I had found my calling. But there were no mountains like Mt. Tsurugidake in the area, and I was in elementary school, so I couldn't go hiking far away from home. So I immersed myself in books written by mountaineers and studied about climbing. I would go out in the middle of the night with my piton, and climb the rock walls in my neighborhood. My family was furious when I drove a piton into a pillar in the house (laughs). "
He began as a self-taught climber in high school, and when he enrolled in university, he joined a mountaineering club for working members of society to gain experience. He was a very strong climber but was utterly helpless at self-belaying and other safety procedures. His senior climbers thought he was hopeless, but he went on to learn the basics of climbing and made his first trip to the Himalayas when he was 21. Ever since then, he has followed his passion for high-altitude mountaineering. After reaching the summit of Cho Oyu in 2003, Hiroyuki has mainly focused on challenging the peaks in the 7,000 to the 8,000-meter range.

Protecting the extremities of the strongest and
most invincible high-altitude guides from the cold

Kuraoka's commitment to extreme altitudes is evident in his physique. The amount of oxygen at the summit of Mt. Everest is less than 40% of that at sea level, so it is often said that oxygen is the key to conquering high altitudes. To adapt to such a hypoxic environment, Kuraoka modified his diet to build a body that can operate most efficiently at 7,000 meters. He tried to shed most of his body fat, which can decrease at a rapid pace, in order to retain his weight even at high altitudes. At the same time, he avoided gaining too much muscle mass, which consumes extra oxygen. As a result, his vascular age had rejuvenated to the level of a teenager, and he no longer suffered from the headaches associated with high altitudes. While his "7,000-meter body" was incomparably strong in extreme environments, the only drawback was the vulnerability to the cold in its extremities. NANAGA's down products provided a solution to this problem.
"In 2017, I guided a client on Mt. Everest and he had a NANGA sleeping bag. Just from looking at it, seemed like a great item, and I was surprised when I heard it was a Japanese brand. Later, through the owner of Denali, a climbing gear retailer in Yotsuya, Tokyo, I was asked if I would work with NANGA to make a down one-piece suit intended for climbs on Mt. Everest."
At the time, Hiroyuki was using a suit made in the United States. The sizing was different from the Japan-made suits, and its usability could have been better. So we decided to modify those points to develop the Everest model. The quality of the down was upgraded to improve heat retention while keeping the weight down. We also customized the zipper positions and the ventilation specs.
"On the glaciers of Mount Everest, the body temperature will feel close to 50 degrees Celsius when the sun comes out, and minus 20 degrees Celsius when it is hidden. The one-piece suit stays on throughout these temperature changes, so I asked them to devise a way to adjust my body temperature just by opening and closing the ventilation."
Just as invaluable as the down suit is the specially-made sleeping bag. This bag was also designed with Kuraoka's input and specifications to withstand the extreme conditions of Mt. Everest.
"It's lofty and has good thermal insulation, but it packs down very small. The fabric is soft and smooth, making it comfortable to sleep in. I guarantee you'll sleep very well at any base camp in the world."
Equipped with the strongest physique and reliable down products, Kuraoka is essentially invincible even at extreme altitudes.



Hiroyuki Kuraoka was born in Tokyo in 1961. His mountaineering experience began in the third year of middle school as a self-taught climber. In college, he sought membership to a mountaineering club for working adults where he started his full-fledged climbing activities. At the age of 21, Kuraoka experienced his first expedition to the Himalayas. The following year, he summited Venezuela's Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall. Another year after that, he climbed Mt. Denali, the highest peak in North America, as part of the crew for the film, Lost in the Wilderness (Japanese title:「植村直己物語」 [Uemura Naomi Monogatari]). In 2004, Hiroyuki made his first ascent to Mt. Everest, and by 2018, he had succeeded in his ninth summit. He is also known for his support of professional skier, Yuichiro Miura, in his summit challenges, having accompanied Miura on his expeditions to Mt. Everest in 2013 and Aconcagua in 2019.