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Expedition Rewind: The Struggle for Makalu
Posted on October 31, 2014


To carry on the Five Years of First Ascent celebration, we’re looking back at the top 10 (of 53) expeditions our guide team tackled in the last five years. While the list of summits and triumphs has been long, we couldn’t leave this one off the list: First Ascent guides David Morton and Melisa Arnot’s struggle to climb 8,463-meter Makalu, the fifth-tallest peak in the world. Fighting bronchial pneumonia and brutal winds on a self-supported expedition they were turned back 150 meters from the summit, but that didn’t stop this story from rating as one of the ten best epics of the past five years.

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Ed Viesturs Speaks the Guide Truth on Five Years of First Ascent
Posted on October 30, 2014

Ed V on Everest in 2009; photo: Jake Norton

Ed Viesturs is the first American to summit all 14 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. When Ed signed on to the First Ascent effort as one of the original six alpine guides, his presence instantly added serious high-altitude cred to the  development effort.  Along the way, the longtime Seattle native and Seahawks 12th man flag-raiser provided unfiltered perspective on what works and what doesn’t in the mountains. His words and books of alpine knowledge also provided inspiration and encouragement for any climber training for a summit—including more than a few folks here at HQ. We sat down with Ed V. on Mt. Rainier a few months back to get his take on the significance of First Ascent hitting the five year mark and his perspective on the Guide-Built process.

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Expedition Rewind: Everest 2009
Posted on October 29, 2014

Everest base camp photo: Jake Norton

For the Five Years of First Ascent celebration, we picked the top 10 missions our guide team has embarked on in the last five years. With 53 expeditions to choose from—ranging from Antarctica to the Arctic—narrowing the list to only ten was a tough task. But the one that clearly stood apart was Eddie Bauer’s return to Everest in 2009. During our triumphant return to Everest, guides Ed Viesturs, Peter Whittaker, Dave Hahn, Seth Waterfall, and Melissa Arnot returned the Eddie Bauer brand to the top of Everest 46 years after Jim Whittaker’s first American summit and the historic first ascent of the West Ridge on the Eddie Bauer-outfitted American Mount Everest Expedition in 1963. It was a triumphant return to the roof of the world for a brand that built its name in the golden age of Himalayan mountaineering.

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Melissa Arnot Looks Back on Five Years of First Ascent
Posted on October 28, 2014

Melissa on Everest in 2012, photo: Kent Harvey

High-altitude climber, extreme fitness disciple, and peacemaker Melissa Arnot holds the women’s world record with five summits of Mt. Everest. A guide since 2004, she recently co-founded the Juniper Fund to support Sherpa families faced with mountaineering tragedy. We sat down with her to get her take on the significance of First Ascent hitting the five year mark and her perspective on the Guide Built process.

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Eddie Bauer Celebrates Five Years of First Ascent
Posted on October 27, 2014

Today is the day that we officially kick off the celebration of the five-year anniversary of First Ascent. All month long we will be publishing stories, running in-depth interviews with our guide and athlete team and spotlighting videos from expeditions to remote rivers and ranges around the globe. It’s been five memorable years of the guide-built process, expedition testing and award-winning gear. So all month we’re taking an in-depth look at where we’ve been and where we are now.

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Mason Earle’s Probable First Free Ascent of Gar Wall Sends Out the Bugaboo Classics Trip—Part Five
Posted on October 25, 2014

Descending the Kain Route, Bugaboo Spire

All good climbing trips must come to an end, and that’s the case for Mason Earle and Erik Leidecker’s tour de classical force in the Bugaboos of BC’s Purcell Range. After classic big wall missions up the Beckey-Chouinard route (5.10) and Solitary Confinement (5.11), the duo topped off the trip with Mason’s probable first free ascent of the slabby section of the Gar Wal (5.13). As an encore, they navigated a high fourth-class circuit of the famous granite towers, then tackled some serious philanthropic cleanup before their departure. In final reflective summation, Mason Earle files his last report from the Bugs.

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Eddie Bauer Funds Mandatory Evacuation from the Bugaboos—Part Four
Posted on October 24, 2014


Longline with high consequences

We’ve been recapping the climbing saga of Mason Earle and Erik Leidecker’s expedition to climb towering classics in British Columbia’s Bugaboo range, but there is a less serious backstory that needed to be told. When the team arrived at East Creek camp, they found a buried outhouse that was overflowing beyond capacity. Evacuating the full pot was a problem that required philanthropic funding to pay for the long line heli time required—so Mason and Erik spearheaded an effort with Alpine Helicopters and Friends of Bugaboo Park to accomplish the mandatory evac. After a quick call to Eddie Bauer’s team, guide and grassroots philanthropy manager, Caley George, the mandatory evac was funded and underway. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let Mason ride the long-line out of the wilderness. But this is Erik’s colorful recap.

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