Behind the Label: Honoring Jonny Copp

Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world, standing over 26,600 feet above sea level. It’s the western anchor of the Himalayas, located in Pakistan, where it’s known locally as “Killer Mountain.” The dramatic peak that looms large over its surroundings reinforces its reputation for a difficult climb; only the most seasoned climbers tackle Nanga Parbat. And you can also find it on the Sherpa Chai label.


The history of Sherpa Chai is tied up closely with the towering ranges of the Himalayas. Pemba Sherpa, the owner of Sherpa Chai, grew up in Nepal drinking his mother’s chai recipe and leading climbers on treks around Nepal, Europe and Africa. Naturally, a mountain-themed label suited the essence of where Sherpa Chai has evolved from. But more importantly, it was an opportunity to honor the community surrounding Sherpa Chai.

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Jonny Copp, a close friend of Pemba’s, was a similarly spirited adventurer. Much like Pemba’s bridge project, Jonny had a heart for building community. He launched the Adventure Film Festival to bring together people in a mission-oriented way that connected film, art, and activism, all with the desire to inspire and educate the world. An artist himself, Jonny was an avid photography, and he loved to capture the various treks he would do. He saw art as a means to bring people together and share the beauty of the world. Speaking of the film festival, Jonny said: “We believe in the power of the story, especially the narrative of adventure and awakening, to change and challenge the world we live in.”


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Tragically, Jonny was killed in an avalanche in China with fellow climber Micah Dash and filmmaker Wade Johnson in 2009. Pemba was, in fact, supposed to be on this trip with the group, and should he have joined them, there is a high likelihood he would have met the same fate. It seems fitting, then, that Pemba chose to use Jonny’s photograph of a climber on Nanga Parbat as the Sherpa Chai’s label. It was a heartfelt way to honor Jonny’s memory, his legacy of community-building, and his adventurous spirit. Never one to shy from a challenge and always eager to explore the wonders that the world has to offer, this label is a constant reminder of Jonny’s passion and enthusiasm for adventure.


Learn more about the community outreach that Sherpa Chai does here, and check out our products to see Jonny’s label here.


Grant Cassingham