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Challenge x droproof

Man Overcomes Paralysis to Head for Harsh Mountains Abroad

Drop Roof has always been taking on new "challenges" and pursuing better services with its originally developed water repellent treatment and cleaning technologies.

Mr. Takanobu Katayama, a mountaineer who overcame paralysis and continues to energetically take on the "challenge" of climbing high mountains overseas,
Takayoshi Murono, the developer of Drop Roof and the representative of Soronoshita, a pioneer in the outdoor gear rental industry, held a conversation on the theme of challenges.
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February 1, 2020 at Sorono-no-sita Head Office

Murono: What is your most recent goal?

Katayama: My goal for this year is to go to an unexplored area in Kyrgyzstan. This time, we will climb not by piste (*1) but by traverse (*2).

(*1) A way of walking from the starting point to the summit or other destination and back, using the same route.
(*2) A way of walking that does not descend after reaching the summit, but heads directly to the next mountain.

Murono: Why did you choose to traverse?

Katayama: Originally, I was not thinking of a traverse. It was just a longing, and I had a vague idea that someday I would like to climb an unexplored peak somewhere, but one day I suddenly had the chance.
In 2019, I challenged a 7,000m peak in the Kyrgyz Republic, and I was able to obtain certain data from the Kyrgyz Alpine Club, which was a great help to me at that time. I was able to obtain a document from the Kyrgyz Alpine Club, which had been a great help to me at that time. This huge amount of records was very valuable because it contained information such as which mountains in which regions were unclimbed (no summit record in the mountain history), who made the first ascent in which year, and so on.

In the Kyrgyz Republic, it is not known where the country is located or that there are many 7,000-meter peaks, and with the goal of making mountain climbing a tourism industry, they graciously gave me the documents. I read through the material, put it into a map of the Kyrgyz Republic, and thought about which regions I wanted to try.
I am a company employee, so my time off is limited. I looked at the map and climbed mountains over and over in my head, 4,000m peaks, 5,000m peaks, 6,000m peaks, day after day after day, until I decided which region I would challenge. I climb mountains with a lot of things on my mind and in my imagination, but in my experience, I couldn't get to the areas where the 6,000-meter peaks were densely packed. I was afraid of going to high peaks where no one was and where I had never been. So, after much consideration, I decided to go to the Zaraski Range, where there is a high concentration of 4,000- to 5,000-meter peaks.

But in the Zaraski Mountains, in the area I was planning to visit, there were only two recorded peaks that had been climbed. So it is possible that some of the surrounding peaks have been climbed as well.
If I climbed a mountain by piste and submitted a report to the Kyrgyz Alpine Club afterwards, someone might say, "Actually, that is the mountain I climbed (passed through)! There is a possibility that they will say, 'Actually, that is the mountain I climbed (went through)! If that happens, our goal of climbing an unclimbed peak will not be realized. However, I thought that if we connected many mountains by traversing, we would be less likely to miss something, and we would be able to pick up some mountain and record it.

Murono: It would be difficult to do a traverse, wouldn't it?

Katayama: That's right. It is very difficult to plan. Unlike the piste, we can't leave our luggage behind. I am still struggling with the plan as I revise it (laughs).

Droproof water repellency for power in tough conditions

Murono What is your ultimate goal?

Katayama: My goal is to climb Denali, the highest peak in North America, by myself in 2025. Denali is the mountain where Naomi Uemura disappeared. I like the way he achieved great things while maintaining a humble attitude, and as I climbed the mountain, I began to think that perhaps I could go to Denali, too. I began to think that maybe I could make it to Denali.
Denali is not an easy mountain for me. It is located at a very northern latitude, and the conditions are very difficult. Therefore, I don't think I can go there suddenly, so I try to climb one or two mountains overseas a year to improve my skills while aiming for Denali.

Murono How did you come to know Naomi Uemura?

Katayama: I learned more about him after I started mountain climbing. I am from the same prefecture of Hyogo, and in Toyooka City, where I was born, there is the Naoki Uemura Adventure Museum. I went there many, many times. By getting to know Mr. Uemura in depth, I thought the strength and humanity hidden in his humility was cool.

Murono What kind of mountains were you climbing at that time?

Katayama: I was climbing Mt.

Murono How do you think our drop-roofs can be useful in these challenges?

Katayama: It is maintenance that can withstand severe conditions. When I was originally doing my own maintenance, I didn't really know the difference between waterproofing and water repellency, so I just kept shaking waterproofing spray. (Laughs)
How do you perfectly waterproof a product in a challenging, harsh environment? (laugh) I found Drop Roof when I was researching how to perfectly waterproof a product in a challenging environment.

Murono: Indeed. No matter how much you shake the waterproofing spray, the effect is limited, isn't it?

Katayama: I learned about the difference between waterproofing and water repellency on the website, and as I learned more about how it was developed, I decided to consult with your company.

Murono: I will do my best to be of service.

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When you feel like your heart is breaking - take encouragement from the messages of support.

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Murono: I would like to ask you in the context of a challenge. How do you overcome the feeling of losing heart during a challenge? It can be either while preparing for the mountain or while climbing the mountain.

Katayama: It is important for me to remind myself, "What am I challenging myself for? It is the messages from the people who support me that make me realize, "I'm doing this for the right reasons. They say things like, "Good luck! I'm rooting for you! are very important to me.
Lately, I have been talking more about small talk than messages of support (laugh), such as "It snowed in Japan today. (Laughs) "It snowed in Japan today. I got a flat tire on my bicycle today. (laugh). It doesn't matter (laughs).
(Laughs.) Is he concerned that cheering me up might push me over the edge? (laughs) I am also glad that they treat me in a normal way.

Murono: I also feel that your support encourages me. I am not yet satisfied with the repellant coating technology that we are currently using at Drop Roof, and it is a challenge for us as well. I am doing research and development with the thought that we must make this technology even more wonderful, but by seeing the voices of those who are happy when I feel like giving up, I am inspired to do my best to increase the number of people who are happy. In another 20 years...I would like to make this technology a technology that will bring satisfaction.

Message from Mr. Katayama to those who are about to take on the challenge.

Murono Please give a message to those who are trying to take on this challenge.

Katayama: Your limits are not something that can be determined by others. But if I give up, that will become my limit.

In return for what I have been made aware of, I decided that next time I would be the one to tell people about it. The trigger for this thought happened to be the mountain (Yatsugatake Daidōshin), so I am conveying my message through the mountain. My left arm was said to be irreparable at the time, and there was no rehabilitation for my left arm. It was rehabilitation for living with my right hand. I would put on socks or wash my head using only my right hand.
I was rotten, but when I met him, an elementary school student (*see profile), and he made me aware, I became positive even though I couldn't move my left arm. And even though I couldn't move my left arm at all, I felt like I could give it a try just in case it didn't work.

Murono Until then, you had not even tried to move (your left arm).

Katayama: I was told that it wouldn't move, so I gave up. So I blamed my family, friends, and hospital staff. But I met someone and was able to change. Not only that, but the fact that I could not move my left arm at all was also a good thing.
Imagine, Mr. Murono, if you had been able to move your left arm even a little and the doctor had told you, "If you push it any harder, it will stop moving," don't you think you probably would not have done it?
But since it didn't move at all, I thought that since it wouldn't get any worse, even if I did something reckless, it would either stay the same or get better.

Murono I see, there was nothing less.

Katayama That's right. If I had moved at all, I probably would not have done it. The fact that my left arm did not move at all and the fact that I was noticed by the elementary school students was a plus and made me feel positive. I didn't have to take it out on anyone anymore.
I happened to be able to move my left arm, but I think there are many people who really can't heal. There are many people who can't get well even if they try. However, I was able to become a positive person through such a chance! I think that if I could just tell people that my illness or injury may not be cured, but they can become positive, even if it is only in their mind. I would be happy if I could convey that through my activities.

Katayama: Three years ago, I met a woman. She was climbing a snow-covered mountain with some friends when she stepped on a snow bank and slipped 200 meters to her death. She was just following the same trail as her friends, but she was the only one who slipped and fell. One step slower or one step faster would have changed my life. Why me? I was very worried.
But through my challenge, they became more positive, and now they are already back on the snowy mountain. When I see that, I realize that what I am doing is not in vain.

Murono: I think it is natural to feel depressed at times, but you may have had unfavorable circumstances, but it is no use holding grudges forever, so you changed your mind about what you can do now.

Katayama: Yes, I was able to create that opportunity. I want to keep telling people that going forward.

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Katayama-san's attempt was postponed due to COVID-19,
But he successfully reached the summit in 2022.


Takanobu Katayama

Born in 1974. Born in Hyogo Prefecture. Company employee.
When he was 20 years old, he had a single vehicle accident on his motorcycle and crashed into a guardrail post, rendering him unconscious and in critical condition. The doctor told him that his right leg would never bend completely and his left arm would never work again.
One day, an elementary school boy, who was also rehabilitating from a traffic accident, asked him, "Would you rather have a bent knee for the rest of your life or a stretched knee? The boy answered without hesitation, "I'd rather keep it straight," and the reason was that he could "run. I was shocked to hear that a boy could make a decision based on such a simple reason, and I was shocked to hear that I could do it too! I was shocked, and I was able to change my mind to "Let's do what we can do! I was shocked, and was able to change my mind to "I will do what I can do! After grueling rehabilitation and more than a dozen surgeries, he miraculously recovered.
He began mountain climbing in earnest in 2014 and started overseas expeditions in 2015. He has succeeded in single-handedly climbing Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, and Cu Hi Garmo (7,134m) in 2019, among others.
Sun TV "Hyogo-Shoten! and Shanana TV's "Eye to Scales", among others.


Takanori Murono

Born in 1980. After graduating from university, he joined Daikin Industries, one of only two fluorine manufacturers in Japan. He was involved in development work as an engineer. In 2010, he started Outdoor Gear Rental Soronoshita as a sole proprietorship and became the first in Japan to start renting outdoor equipment, mainly for mountain climbing, over the Internet.
In 2012, he established Soronoshita Co. He is the current president of Soronoshita.
Certified Mountaineering Guide Stage II & Nature Guide Stage I by the Japan Mountain Guides Association.
Camping Instructor, Japan Camping Association; Camping Instructor, Japan Auto Camping Association; Cleaning person; High-pressure gas production safety officer