Last week I asked climb_ca a seemingly innocuous question regarding accomplishment and the qualities that lead to accomplishment. What climb_ca said was rather predictable, but on second look, all the things he mentioned that were good qualities about him where things that ultimately benefited his employer, i.e. motivation, analytical and organizational skills. At the end of the day, nothing that really advanced him personally, no major climbs, no major events, no major accomplishment - your standard B-/C+ offering. While climb_ca chastises me for squandering my talents, I can counter that at least there was a peak, there was talent to be squandered, B-/C+ was never even considered, nor settled upon. I'll let you decide which is better or worse. First Ascent by Eddie Bauer is akin in some ways. Hahn, Viesturs, Whittaker, 3 great guys, 3 great guides. None of them are stellar climbers, Hahn and Whittaker are simply guides, charismatic, but RMI celebrity schleps nonetheless. Interestingly, the heroic first ascent of K2 on their ad was made by Peter's father Jim, not Peter.
In terms of Viesturs, he took a typical American workman-like approach to his goal of 14 8ks. Make the marketing more than the accomplishment. He was bound to get it someday because otherwise a marketing campaign would be shot, much like the current Everest expedition with Whittaker and Viesturs promoting First Ascent. The use of First Ascent is rather laughable as these guys, between them, probably have enough first ascents to count on two hands. Regardless, they're advertising like crazy on our site and Eddie Bauer sees value in this, the creation of a hardman brand - I mean, how many people will buy a down suit? While I can't think of 3 nicer guys, I can think of many more deserving guys.
Welcome to the website for First Ascent, a line of mountaineering clothing, accessories and outdoor gear created by Eddie Bauer, Whittaker Mountaineering and Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI). First Ascent makes hardshells (hard shells), softshells (soft shells), mountaineering jackets, ski jackets, rain jackets, climbing pants, ski pants, fleece jackets, PrimaLoft jackets, PrimaLoft pants, down jackets and down suits for men and women.
Hey, ebomb. Greetings from Andrew Turner, design team/guide team liason for First Ascent! We love good conversation and informed opinion—even when it’s critical of us. That’s part of why we chose to advertise on getoutdoors.com: It’s a great resource and community forum for outdoor information. But in the interest of supporting opinions with actual facts, we’d like to correct some errors in the original post.
You make a point that, “the heroic first ascent of K2 on their ad was made by Peter’s father Jim, not Peter.” We assume you mean our print ad. Actually, the photo of Jim Whittaker in our national ad is from his first American ascent of Everest in 1963, not K2. And Jim is Peter’s uncle, not his father. (Peter’s father, Lou, led the first American ascent of Everest’s North Face, in 1984.) We used that historic Everest photo because we outfitted that expedition.
However, also of factual reference, our first venture into mountaineering gear was tied to K2. In 1953, the Third American Karakoram Expedition approached us to develop a mountaineering parka for their attempt at the first ascent of K2. While the expedition didn’t summit, they became famous for their heroism and teamwork. Our Kara Koram Parka and its descendents went on to become part of the first ascents or first American ascents of Gasherbrum I, Masherbrum, Everest, Everest West Ridge, Vinson, Dhaulagiri, Peak Lenin, Nanda Devi North Ridge, Great Trango Tower, Makalu and Everest East Face, to name a few.
From our first mountaineering parka in 1953 to our latest First Ascent jacket in 2009, we’ve always developed our climbing gear in collaboration with experts. Originally, with men like Dr. Charles Houston, Jim Whittaker and Pete Schoening; and now with Peter Whittaker, Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn and the rest of the First Ascent guide team. What’s different about the First Ascent line is that the guide team led the development process from Day One. They signed off on every fabric, every feature; and they lived in every piece on Rainier, Cotopaxi, Aconcagua and, most recently, on Everest.
We’re proud of the results. And equally proud of the quality of the video and photography that came out of our Return To Everest expedition. No apologies. If you think that’s just hype, we’d love to outfit you, ebomb, in a few pieces of First Ascent so you can make an informed decision. And if, as you say, you can think of “many more deserving guys” than Peter, Ed and Dave, then give us the names of three folks that can provide an unbiased, credible review for your site—we’d love to outfit them too.