A climbing partner to the Himalaya
born out of a light conversation

Yasuhiro Hanatani is a mountain climber based at the southern foot of Yatsugatake, in Hokuto, Yamagata Prefecture. He started playing on the Rokko Mountain as a kid in Kobe, where he was born and raised. After graduating from high school, he left his hometown to go to Shinshu University, in Nagano Prefecture. While learning about outdoor education, he climbed several mountains both in Japan and overseas, including the Himalaya, as part of a long-established Alpine club. After graduation, he started making his own adventures while living as a mountaineering guide. In 2012 he climbed the south pillar of Kyashar (6,770m) for the first time, an achievement which earned him the Piolet d'Or. In 2015 he started a project to nurture beginner climbers, the "Himalaya Camp". This project involves challenging virgin roads and peaks in the Himalaya, together with publicly chosen members. Currently, the project hosts training courses year round.

always needs with himself on the Himalaya is a Nanga sleeping bag

A tool that Hanatani always needs with himself on the Himalaya is a Nanga sleeping bag. "I knew of the brand through an older climbing colleague of mine, Osamu Tanabe, who was sponsored by Nanga. At the time I was even surprised to know that there was a Japanese company manufacturing sleeping bags."

He first personally came into contact with the brand during an event a few years ago. After being introduced to a Nanga employee by a shared acquaintance, he jokingly said how good it would be to have a sleeping bag designed for two people, a dream which became reality soon after. "I only said it as a joke, thinking that it would be impossible to create such a product. But when I was told that it would, in fact, be possible, I gave some rough sketches which I had drawn to the Nanga employee, and the company made some prototypes."

The innovative sleeping bag

The special sleeping bag designed for Hanatani kept on evolving, and in 2016 a sleeping bag which can accommodate up to three people was born. Of course, that is what he brings with himself on the Himalaya. "On normal climbing expeditions, there are certain mountains where it could be useful to have individual tents and equipment, but on such a high place as the Himalaya, all equipment must be as light and compact as possible.

It is much more efficient to use shared equipment to reduce the total weight bore by the team. In a three-person expedition, it is normal to only use one tent, so I thought that it would be nice to also have sleeping bags for two or three people." The innovative sleeping bag, designed to meet Hanatani's requirements, has a seamless inside to allow its users to share their body heat while maintaining the same comfort of use as an individual sleeping bag.

"As I had decided that the total weight had to be under 1.5 kg, deciding the ideal amount of down and the size took some time. Thanks to that effort, the first time I actually used it on the Himalaya was extremely comfortable. I remember the other members who couldn't believe how comfortable it was."

Products one can trust as mountain gear

This is how the relationship of trust with Nanga was born. He says: "They have a unique sewing technology and use high-quality down. Nonetheless, their prices are reasonable, so I'm simply convinced that their products were good."
"After climbing for a whole day, one can rest in a Nanga sleeping bag knowing that no body heat will be wasted. The construction is solid and one feels that it is a product that a lot of thought went into."
The third edition of the "Himalaya Camp" is around the corner. This year, too, Hanatani will climb the Himalaya with the climbers and mountain guides of the future, equipped with his special sleeping bag.



YASUHIRO HANATANI / 花谷泰広 (はなたに・やすひろ)

Born in 1976. Climber, mountain guide recognized by the Japanese Mountaineering Association, supervisor for the "First Ascent" company which provides customized mountain guidance. Manages the Shichijo shed on the Kurodo ridge on the Kaikoma Mountain. In 1996 he first reached the Ratna Chuli peak, in his first Himalaya experience. Falling in love with overseas climbing expeditions, especially on the Himalaya, he kept collecting successes in the central Meru peak in India, the first climb of the western wall of the Nemjung, the first climb of the southern pillar of the Kyashar, and more. He is currently promoting the "Himalaya Camp" training program to pass down what he learned in his expedition to the next generation of climbers.