For anyone who makes their living in the mountains, it is no shock that our glaciers are melting. We hear it from our guides, our athletes, our photographers, our filmmakers and our brand partners, but putting the story in a local context is a tough task even for the most accomplished storytellers. Yet Ethan Steinman, and the folks behind Glacial Balance, have done just that in a film that travels from Colombia to Ecuador to Argentina along the spine of the Andes, getting to know the locals who are the first impacted by the melting glacial reserve.
We’ve been retracing Mason Earle’s climbing trip to Ua Pou, but the epic started to get more serious when they reached the base of their objective. Led by a former French military guide and base camping at an off-the-grid jungle ex-pat compound, the team set out to climb Poumaka, a 4,000-foot warrior tower protected by dense jungle and a brutal 45-degree, fifth-class fern gully approach. Even fueled by coconut water and homegrown avocados, the hourly assaults of torrential rain; wet, mossy climbing conditions; and a bad case of cashew dermatitis shut them down. So they refocused on Motutakae, an 800-foot tower of white basalt rising from the sea on the dry side of the island, with a west-facing wall that baked in the sun.
Beta or no beta, Mason Earle has never shied away from an adventure. The big wall free climber has put up first ascents in off-the-grid locations from Venezuela to the Northwest Territories, but his journey to the Marquesas Islands ranks as one of his biggest foreign missions of all time. Packing a machete, board shorts, and a substantial rack of big wall gear, Mason and his two climbing partners—Bronson Hovnanian and George Ullrich—journeyed 5,000 miles by international flight, puddle jumper, and fishing boat to reach the giant basalt pillars on the island of Ua Pou.
When Mason Earle returned from the island of Ua Pou in the Marquesas Islands, not only did we have no idea there was big wall climbing there—we couldn’t even pronounce the place. Turns out it is pronounced uwah poe and the center of the island is characterized by four massive basalt pillars that rise directly from the South Pacific to heights of more than 4,000 feet. So yeah, there is climbing there. But leave it to Eddie Bauer climber Mason Earle—who has put up first free ascents in remote locations from the Venezuelan jungle to the Northwest Territories—to fly halfway around the world to French Polynesia with little beta and no climbing guide in search of towering unclimbed walls.
With his ties to Nimbus Independent, his local skiing roots, and his superfluid style, Andy Mahre has long been a progressive force in skiing. So we were completely pumped when Andy joined the Eddie Bauer ski team back in January. Unfortunately, his first trip out of the gate for us to Japan with Lexi du Pont and Poor Boyz Productions landed him on injured reserve. But luckily for The Mayor, the comeback was quicker than initially anticipated.
Eddie Bauer fishing guide and Deneki founder Andrew Bennett is lucky enough to spend a lot of time fishing in glorious locations from Alaska and BC to the Bahamas—for his day job. But when he decides where to spend his time off, one of the vacation destinations he often lands on is the Florida Keys.
When we first linked up with Tim Wayne Medvetz and The Heroes Project, they were attempting Carstensz Pyramid with First Ascent guide David Morton. It was a story of strength and struggle so, from that point on, we backed the effort and followed Medvetz in his drive to empower wounded warrior amputees up the world’s highest peaks, from Kilimanjaro and Vinson to Aconcagua. Each success story was incredible and tracking each brutal step of the journey to the summits was truly inspiring. For The Heroes Project, it’s six of the Seven Summits down and one to go. But the next operation is indeed a Big One since Medvetz has set his sights on Mount Everest, the tallest peak on Earth, for their next objective.