SEATTLE, Oct. 7 -- Eddie Bauer will launch First Ascent in 183 of its stores across North America on October 12, 2009. First Ascent is Eddie Bauer's new line of expedition-quality mountaineering outerwear, apparel, and gear built by a team of the world's foremost mountain guides, including Peter Whittaker, Ed Viesturs and Dave Hahn.
"The launch of First Ascent brings Eddie Bauer full circle," says Neil Fiske, President and CEO of Eddie Bauer. "As the original expedition outfitter, Eddie Bauer developed outerwear with mountaineering pioneers of his time, and now we've aligned with today's generation of world-class climbers to match his exacting standards for technical performance and craftsmanship."
Located inside Eddie Bauer stores, First Ascent "shops" will carry the line's complete system - from baselayer and insulating layers to soft shell and hard shell outerwear. Each piece is designed to work with every other piece in the system to ensure the best fit, comfort and performance. The line also includes backpacks, duffels, knives and other essential gear. The in-store experience takes the customer to Mt. Everest with footage from the First Ascent team's recent summit shown on 65" screens, giving unique access to the guides, their climbing adventures, and an understanding of how they built the gear.
"The role of the guides in the development of this line is unprecedented," says Peter Whitttaker, First Ascent guide and co-owner of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. and Whittaker Mountaineering. "Combined, we spend more than 1200 days a year in the high mountains. We know what gear works best out there and what it takes to be prepared."
The First Ascent guides developed the line from the ground up, leading the design process, then testing the gear under some of the harshest mountain conditions throughout the world. The team is led by Peter Whittaker, son of acclaimed mountaineer Lou Whittaker and nephew of Jim Whittaker, who wore Eddie Bauer gear on his historic first American ascent of Everest. Also part of the team is Ed Viesturs, the first American to summit all fourteen 8000-meter peaks without bottled oxygen, and Dave Hahn, who has summited Everest 11 times, more than any non-Sherpa. Joining Peter, Ed, and Dave are three accomplished guides from Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI), the largest mountain guide service in the U.S.: Melissa Arnot, Seth Waterfall, and Chad Peele. Lou and Jim Whittaker have acted as advisers to the team.
"Our approach to First Ascent is to keep the product pure, focusing only on what you need," says Ed Viesturs. "The guiding philosophy has been about simplification, functionality and performance."
First ascents outfitted by Eddie Bauer:
The First Ascent of Gasherbrum I in Pakistan (1958)
The First Ascent of Masherbrum in Pakistan (1960)
The First American Ascent of Everest (1963)
The First Ascent of the Everest West Ridge (1963)
The First Ascent of Mount Kennedy in Canada (1965)
The First Ascent of Vinson Massif in Antarctica (1966)
The First American Ascent of Dhaulagiri in Nepal (1973)
The First American Ascent of Peak Lenin in the Russian Pamirs (1974)
The First Ascent of the North Ridge of Nanda Devi in India (1976)
The First Ascent of Great Trango Tower in Pakistan (1977)
The First American Ascent of Makalu in Nepal (1980)
The First Ascent of the Everest East Face (1983)
First Ascent is currently available on eddiebauer.com. For more information about the collection, expeditions and latest news, visit firstascent.com.
To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/eddiebauer/40168/
ABOUT EDDIE BAUER
Established in 1920 in Seattle, Eddie Bauer is a specialty retailer that sells casual sportswear and accessories for the active outdoor lifestyle, as well as expedition-class mountaineering gear. The Eddie Bauer brand is a nationally recognized brand that stands for high quality, innovation, style and customer service. Eddie Bauer products are available at approximately 370 stores throughout the United States and Canada, through catalog sales, and online at eddiebauer.com.