The North Face sparks conversation on inclusivity with ‘Walls Are Meant For Climbing’ fundraising campaign

The North Face Walls Are for Meant for Climbing wall at Outside Lands / Tim Gonzalez Mena

The North Face has just introduced a new global brand campaign aimed at making the sport of climbing more accessible and inclusive. ‘Walls Are Meant for Climbing’ asks people to rethink the way we look at walls, as places where people in the climbing community come together to test themselves, build trust, and strengthen communities.

The campaign, which doesn’t directly address Trump’s call to build a wall on the Mexican border but certainly alludes to it, carries the message that walls aren’t meant to divide us – they unite us… And also they’re meant for climbing.

The Walls campaign, done by Sid Lee under the leadership of Nicolas Van Erum, managing partner of Sid Lee LA, will feature a full-page ad in the New York Times, along with a dedicated web page, plus products featuring the campaign slogan, live will climbing activations and social elements.

Walls Are Meant for Climbing print ad

To celebrate the campaign’s launch and to highlight the connections formed through climbing, The North Face will be making a $1m donation to The Trust for Public Land to support public climbing walls in more communities, with a focus on underserved areas and making the sport more accessible to all.

“At The Trust for Public Land, our mission is to create parks and protect land for people," said Will Rogers, president at Trust for Public Land. "Every park we create is an open invitation for all to enjoy, and we’re proud to say we’ve connected communities to the outdoors — and to each other — since 1972. We’re happy to partner with The North Face to make climbing more accessible to more people in neighborhoods nationwide.”

The North Face is also partnering with gyms and facilities worldwide to make August 19 a global day of climbing, with free climbing opportunities in cities in the US, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and China.

For every person who walks through the door of one of these participating gyms, The North Face will make a $5 donation (up to $50,000) to Paradox Sports, an organization committed to making climbing accessible to people with physical disabilities. Additional climbing activities with athletes will take place in New York, Shanghai and London.

“The North Face has been a passionate partner to the world’s climbing community for more than 50 years,” said Tom Herbst, global vice president of marketing at The North Face. “We see walls as a place to unite our communities through the sport of climbing – a sport that requires trust and partnership. Our climbing community is truly global and we believe that communities are stronger when inclusive. Our intent is to inspire others to think more hopefully about the type of community we all want to work and play in.”

The North Face recently brought the Walls Are Meant for Climbing wall to the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, where it was climbed by adventurer Jimmy Chin.

Jimmy Chin at Outside Lands / Tim Gonzalez Mena

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle