Gift Idea: Everest trash remade into art

Clapp's bells and bowls from Everest

Here's a gift idea for aspiring mountaineers, veteran climbers, and armchair adventurers alike. Sculptor Jeff Clapp makes ornaments, bowls, and bells from oxygen cylinders that were discarded on Mount Everest.

In 2004, after watching a National Geographic documentary on Everest's trash, Clapp traveled from Maine to Nepal and brought back 132 discarded tanks.

In the years since clearing customs, he's been hand carving unique bells and bowls from the tanks using a woodworking lathe, and adding grooves, beads, and undulations with wood turning tools.

Customers select a style of bell or bowl and Clapp creates a unique work just for them. According to the Morning Sentinel, Clapp's bells and bowls can sell for up to thousands of dollars; He recently sold a set of three bowls for $6,000.

Clapp's bells are on display at the American Mountain Museum, the Nepal Mountaineering Museum, and the Messner Mountain Museum in Italy, as well as many galleries.

If you can't afford a custom oxygen cylinder bowl, bell, or lidded vessel, $15 will get you a genuine Everest Ornament.

The Everest Ornament

Using chopsticks, Clapp inserts the metal shavings left over from the bells and bowls into glass balls to make the ornaments.

I bought one at L.L. Bean in Maine a few years ago, and it makes for a unique and interesting ornament in comparison to conventional holiday decor. How many other decorations come from the world's highest peak?

See Clapp's photo gallery of his work and read about him and his process on

Filed under: Gear News


73 reviewer rep
303 forum posts
December 1, 2010 at 5:23 p.m. (EST)

The chimes/bells look really cool.  Wonder how they sound?

244 reviewer rep
5,245 forum posts
December 1, 2010 at 5:45 p.m. (EST)

So someone is finally hauling that stuff down, eh? Can they find Mallory's Camera to prove he was on top first?

136 reviewer rep
623 forum posts
December 1, 2010 at 10:11 p.m. (EST)

they have some of these at LL Bean's main store in Freeport Maine. They are pretty neat, but over priced.

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