Columbia Data Products Inc. is trying to move the marketing of microcomputers to a higher plane -- like, say, 21,000 feet above sea level. The company has donated one of its portable computers to an ascent of Mt. Everest. Not coincidentally, one of the climbers happens to be W. R. Berg, president of Zepher Industries Inc., a $12-million-a-year Columbia distributor in Seattle.

Berg, contacted just prior to his departure, insisted, however, that he was not bringing along the computer as a publicity stunt. Rather, he says, it would play an important role in coordinating the logistics of the climb, scheduled to begin in mid-March. The expedition planned to set up the computer in camps at 17,000 and 21,000 feet, where it would be used to keep track of some seven tons of gear, 16 climbers, six porters, 21 yaks, and seven yak drivers spread out through seven or eight camps. "We hope it saves us a lot of grunt work," berg said. "That's what computers are for."