Friday, May 22, 2009

Eddie Bauer Summits Everest, Again!

Had I written this post a day ago I would have ended the title with a question mark rather than an exclamation point. I am not an Eddie Bauer outfitted kind of guy. When I think of Eddie Bauer I think of older gentleman walking through the Maine woods with shotguns and bird dogs, not world famous climbers and sons of famous climbers summiting Everest.

I can understand why Jim Whittaker, when he was the first American to climb Everest on May 1st, 1963, wore a goose-down parka and pants made by Eddie Bauer. There was very little else available. That is why Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) soon followed. American Climbers, especially those in the Pacific Northwest like Jim and Lou Whittaker, couldn’t find the gear they wanted and needed to climb world Class Mountains, so they started manufacturing and distributing their own through a co-op.

When I think Mountaineering I think of manufacturers like North Face, Patagonia, Petzl, Black Diamond, and Mountain Hardwear, to name just a few. I certainly don’t think of Eddie Bauer. Maybe my thinking needs to change.

Brothers Jim and Lou Whittaker, Lou’s son Peter, Melissa Arnot, Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn. And Seth Waterfall have teamed up to design and test a new Eddie Bauer product line called First Ascent. The ultimate test was Everest and on Thursday, May 21 (Yes, Ascension Day in the Christian tradition), Eddie passed the test. Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker reached the summit of Everest primarily outfitted by Eddie Bauer in an Eddie Bauer sponsored expedition.

The next test will be the Mountaineering marketplace.

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