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.
With 53 stories and galleries to choose from, picking the top 10 trips from the past five years of First Ascent was no easy task. But one late arriving entry made the final cut—Erik Leidecker and Mason Earle’s Bugaboo Classics trip. The story is a good one, the climbing was impressive and the history of the area all converged to elevate it above the expedition competition. As a short summary, the climbers heli-approached into to this pristine area to tackle alpine classics like the Beckey-Chouinard route on South Houser Tower, the NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire and Mason’s probable first free ascent of the Gar Wall.
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
Five years after our First Ascent line launched, our record of achievement speaks volumes. Thirteen industry best-in-class awards, 53 pioneering expeditions and a series of innovative technical gear that has earned widespread respect in a critical outdoor world by proving itself at the extremes.
Our top 10 (out of 53) expeditions are taking center stage in the celebration of Five Years of First Ascent. Although it was tough to make the cut, Tom Wayes, Reggie Crist, Wyatt Caldwell, Chris Coulter, Kent McBride, and Erik Leidecker made it easily with their epic season in Haines, Alaska in 2011. We loved this guide adventure for the steep line slays and first descents—including the now famous toe-in line on Bell Ringer—that seemed to follow them everywhere.
“Haines, Alaska, represents the frontier of big mountain heli skiing,” Reggie Crist wrote, “—a unique and rugged region sheltered by the highest coastal mountains in the world, that special locale attracting the world’s best skiers and snowboarders attempting legendary first descents.” He remembered, “Photographer and good friend, Will Wissman says: “A bad day in Haines is still potentially the best day of the season.”
Snapping heart-pounding photos and writing the fully expedition story, Wyatt Caldwell’s blog post is worth the view at http://blog.eddiebauer.com/2011/05/06/wyatt-caldwell-rides-with-the-first-ascent-seaba-crew-in-haines-ak/. Watch the recap of epic slays in the Expedition Rewind video 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 next three weeks we’ll be profiling the First Ascent effort on Instagram, on the Live Your Adventure blog, at eddiebauer.com and with our YouTube playlist. Check back daily for guide-built, expedition tested and award winning product stories behind the making of First Ascent.Comments (0)
Eddie Bauer announces the opening of a pop-up store in New York City on Thursday, November 6. The pop-up will be open through the holiday season and transform into a permanent flagship store to reopen in spring 2015. The store is located at 15th and 5th in Flatiron District and will serve as New York City’s ultimate resource for outfitting outdoor adventures.
As First Ascent celebrates five years, we’ve picked the top 10 global migrations from our list of 53 official guide team trips. Especially with trips that ranged from Waddington to Haines to the red rock visuals of Southern Utah, it was tough to choose which ski trips make the cut, but we knew we had to place Las Lenas, Argentina on the list. If you didn’t catch the “you should have been here” reports the first time, the First Ascent ski and shred team – Chris Coulter, Reggie Crist, Zach Crist, Lynsey Dyer, and Lel Tone – migrated south to track the Santa Rosa storm and slay some of the most mind-blowing lift-access backcountry terrain in the world.
“It’s the kind of stuff that summer dreams are made of: a meter of fresh, cold temps, no wind, blue skies and we are waiting in the Marte lift line in Las Leñas, Argentina.” Reggie Crist wrote about the all-time migration to Argentina. “We have the entire venue to ourselves. Weaving around rock features, I gravitate toward a prominent spine and begin slashing turns towards the valley floor before launching a small air off the nose and into the gully. Ahead, I can see Claudio raising his hands skyward. It’s a memorable opener and quite possibly the best resort run of my life.”
Days of fresh pow were followed by snowy nights and rowdy dynamite explosions to reduce avi danger. Read more about their journey to Argentina, including their sample of the “A Factor,” at http://blog.eddiebauer.com/2011/09/12/las-lenas—perfecto/ and watch the recap in the Expedition Rewind video 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 next three weeks we’ll be profiling the First Ascent effort on Instagram, on the Live Your Adventure blog, at eddiebauer.com and with our YouTube playlist. Check back daily for guide-built, expedition tested and award winning product stories behind the making of First Ascent.