Last fall, Eddie Bauer climbers Mason Earle, Katie Lambert, and Ben Ditto journeyed to the sandbagged desert routes and super aesthetic problems of Joshua Tree. We ran a preview Gabe Rogel gallery of the trip a few months back, but this week we’re retelling all the stories of the trip, starting with this climbing ode to the Stonemasters of the past from Ben Ditto’s experience on an iconic J-Tree route called Father Figure (5.12d).
Last fall, Eddie Bauer climbers Mason Earle, Katie Lambert, and Ben Ditto migrated to the high desert venue of Joshua Tree to experience an iconic location in climbing lore. With a storied Stonemasters legacy, a lifetime of sandbagged routes, and a history as one of the places where the Yosemite Decimal System was honed, J Tree is a destination where climbers still travel on seasonal pilgrimages into an otherworldly zone. Katie Lambert experienced an even more personal form of pilgrimage, tracing her trip back to an album cover and a fascination with the eponymous vegetation that gives this unique desert climbing venue its name.
As the first American to summit all 14 of the 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, Ed Viesturs is recognized as one of the greatest American mountaineers of all time. His connection to Everest and the Khumbu Valley also runs deep, with seven summits of the world’s tallest peak and 31 Himalayan expeditions to his credit. So when his son Gil expressed an interest in experiencing the Himalaya through a senior project installing portable solar panels in remote Sherpa villages, it was both a chance to visit old friends and a chance to see the place through fresh eyes. It is a powerful father-son story of marking time through the mountains, but Ed’s words tell the story best.
Earlier this week we ran the report from a goodwill mission to Kyrgyzstan that included Eddie Bauer skier Lexi duPont. The story was a powerful one and duPont kept a journal of her transformative experience. We’ve excerpted a few of her most reflective moments from the trip below.
This past winter, Eddie Bauer skier Lexi DuPont joined a goodwill mission to Central Asia spearheaded by globe-trotting splitboarder, dreamer, and documentary filmmaker Nayla Tawa to the landlocked but mountainous former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. Donating fifteen hundred of pounds of ski gear, providing guide and rescue training, and connecting with the locals through basic ski and snowboard instruction, their crew landed deep in a cultural exchange between two very different snow sports cultures. The impact they made, and the connections they experienced, left both the locals and the visitors forever changed. In the story below, we excerpt duPont’s powerful journal entries from the journey and discover Tawa’s very personal motivation behind the Return to Krygyzstan expedition.
Each month we’ve been highlighting specific conservation projects we’ve backed with American Forests that focus on reforestation and recovery efforts as part of our greater One Tree Initiative. We’ve profiled efforts in Southern California to Florida and last month we shined a spotlight on a longleaf pine recovery effort in Alabama. But this month, as another long, hot summer approaches in the Sierra, our focus is on an effort in the Tahoe National Forest to reforest areas burned by a 2014 wildfire. While all the American Forests projects are worthy, this effort resonates even more deeply with Eddie Bauer guide Lel Tone, who calls the Tahoe area home.
This year was a big year for American Forests, with the planting of the organization’s 50 millionth tree. So this year we are celebrating our longstanding partnership with the conservation nonprofit by profiling twelve projects that we’ve backed with our efforts. So far we’ve shined a spotlight on worthy reforestation undertakings in a fire damaged area of the San Bernardino Mountains, a replanting effort of Longleaf Pine in Florida and a spruce beetle epidemic in Colorado—all in some way connected to the ecological impact of climate change. This month we travel to the deep south, profiling an effort to bring back a longleaf pine savannah ecosystem in Alabama.