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Expedition Rewind: Mason Earle Climbs the Pillars of Ua Pou
Posted on November 14, 2014

Mason Earle, George Ullrich, & Bronson Hovnanian camping out on Ua Pou

Celebrating Five Years of First Ascent wouldn’t feel right without a recap of our favorite expeditions. We’ve chosen the top 10 of 53 guide team adventures to highlight, and big-wall free climber Mason Earle’s trip to Ua Pou in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia with little information and no guidebook couldn’t be left out. From jungle base camps at an off-the-grid compound, brutal sufferfests, and a towering first ascent on Montutuake, every step of the way thrilled.

Mason Earle recounting the  isolated climbing nature of Ua Pou

Discovering the island via Google image search, Earle didn’t hesitate, packing a machete, board shirts, and a huge rack of gear then traveling with Bronson Hovnanian and George Ullrich to seek out the giant basalt pillars of this remote island. He remembered, “Our first view of Motutakae had our jaws dropping. Like a pale ivory tusk, Motutakae rose some 800 feet directly out of the turbulent sea. The occasional lurking shark reminded us why we were roped up, so close to the water.”

Earle ascending the the 8-pitch west face of Motutakae on Ua Pou.

Mason Earle told the entire story of foraging for tropical fruit, jungle rashes, and topping out on some of the most beautiful pillars we’ve seen at It’s also a story chronicled with Andrew Burr’s incredible images in the November issue of Climbing Magazine. For a little more background, and a little more local color, on the trip check out the Fruits of Ua Pou series Mason and his crew put together at Jerome’s off-the-grid jungle compound in the short clips below.

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 month of November 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: - Friday, November 14th, 2014

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