Named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain. Helped explorers reach the most unfathomable heights of the Himalayas. But The North Face® legend begins, ironically, on a beach. More precisely, San Francisco's North Beach neighbourhood, at an altitude of only 150 feet above sea level. It was here in 1966 that two hiking enthusiasts resolved to follow their passions and founded a small mountaineering retail store.