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Mason Earle Sums Up Guide-Built Gear
Posted on November 11, 2014

Mason Earle bouldering on the shore of Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia P: Andrew Burr

From Utah cracks to Patagonian faces, big-wall free climber Mason Earle has tallied an impressive tick list of accomplishments in remote locations. From brutally steep multi-day first ascents to big-wall speed records, Earle has made a name as rising trad climber with vision in locations from Yosemite and Moab to the remote jungles of Venezuela and French Polynesia.

We caught up with Mason in Moab this past spring, while he was working on his secret desert project, playing some classical banjo and living in his kitted-out Sprinter van. Although Mason is a newer addition to the Eddie Bauer First Ascent team, his contributions on the expedition side have already been extensive with impressive big-wall trips to Ua Pou, the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Moonlight Buttress and the Bugaboos. Rather than ask him to recount each trip in epic detail, we asked him how these expeditions and these experiences are reflected in the Guide Built process. This is what the First Ascent rock star had to say.  —LYA Editor

Mason Earle, charging the corner on Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park. P: Ben Ditto

Our tagline is Live Your Adventure. Why have you structured your life so that you can go on these trips and visit countries?

The idea of a normal career path never appealed to me. I always had other ideas in my head of what I wanted to do, and so I’ve always tried to structure my life with the flexibility to be able to go on cool trips. Obviously I couldn’t do a lot of these trips without the help of sponsors, but that’s where I get the most fulfillment — exploring, checking out new places, going to different countries.

Tell me about the Guide Built process and why you like using that process to help develop the gear.

I think the only way you’re going to end up with a really good product is to have people testing it who are going to be pushing it the hardest and putting gear to its limits. I think the Guide Built process really embodies that and allows gear to be put through the wringer and be tested until destruction. It’s got to go through that process to end up a good final product.

Big-wall ascensionist Mason Earle, charging.

What was your first impression of the First Ascent line and why did you decide to get involved with the brand?

I’ve been involved with the First Ascent line for over two years now and it’s been really cool to see the progression and quality of the products, which is what first drew me to the brand.

Tell us a little bit about how the First Ascent line has changed since you first became involved with the brand.

I’ve been involved with the First Ascent for about half its lifespan, and it’s been really cool to see the progression of quality and see new products coming out of the testing. It’s really good stuff — everything a guide needs.

Where do you hope that the First Ascent line goes in the future?

I hope that the First Ascent line stays true to its roots and is always Guide Built and Guide Tested.

Mason Earle bio

Five years ago we had a mission: draw on our brand’s heritage of technical innovation and alpine exploration to launch Eddie Bauer First Ascent and set a new standard for gear in the alpine realm. Five years after First Ascent launched, our record speaks volumes: 13 industry best-in-class awards, 53 pioneering testing expeditions, and a series of innovative technical gear that has enabled personal adventures, big and small, around the globe. For the next three weeks we’ll be profiling the First Ascent effort on Instagram, on the Live Your Adventure blog, at and with our YouTube playlist. Check back daily for guide-built, expedition tested and award winning product stories behind the making of First Ascent.

Author: - Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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