Ed Viesturs Returns To Everest!

The Outside Blog over at Outside Online is reporting that climbing legend Ed Viesturs is returning to Everest this year as part of an all-star team of climbers making their attempts on the highest peak on the planet. This will be Ed’s 11th time on the mountain, and he has made six successful summit attempts already.

Considered one of the top mountaineers in the world, Viesturs is the only American to have successfully topped out on all 14 of the 8000m peaks, without supplemental oxygen no less. After completing his climb of Annapurna back in 2005, the last of the 8-thousanders on his list, Ed announced that he was retiring from climbing the big peaks, although he has stayed plenty active on other mountains and various adventures, including a polar ski expedition to Baffin Island last year.

Ed will join mountaineering luminaries Peter Whittaker, Dave Hahn, Melissa Arnot, Seth Waterfall, and Chad Peele in the attempt on Everest. Lou and Jim Whittaker are serving as consultants to the team as well. The expedition is sponsored by gear company Eddie Bauer, who are attempting to get back to their roots with a new line of outdoor gear called First Ascent. The First Ascent website has some nice video of the team testing out the new gear and preparing for their expedition.

This should be a fun expedition to follow this year when the Everest season gets underway in another month. There are some great stories here, such as Dave Hahn going for another Everest summit, as he is already the man with the most summits on the mountain who isn’t a Sherpa.

It’s also great to see Eddie Bauer returning to it’s roots as well. Over the past ten years or so, the brand has become a shadow of it’s former self, sold on discount racks at Target and in its own stores in upscale malls. Most of the stuff was aimed at the urban crowd looking for a distinctive label, and there was little of interest for those that actually wanted to wear it on a trail somewhere. This new First Ascent line looks like good, quality gear that you can take on an adventure. Something Eddie Bauer hasn’t offered for some time. Hope it turns out well.

Kraig Becker

11 thoughts on “Ed Viesturs Returns To Everest!”

  1. I will be curious if they make ‘fashion’ clothes like TNF and Columbia or real performance stuff like Patagonia and Arctryx

  2. My guess is that the First Ascent line will be their answer to Patagonia and Arctryx. I’m interested in seeing how closely they tie the line to the Eddie Bauer brand.

    Glad to see them getting back to basics though.

  3. What ever happened to brand loyalty? Ed V and Whittaker were very recently flogging Mountain Hardwear all over the place, and JanSport too. What, you sell your endorsement to the highest bidder? Ed is climbing because he is getting paid a lot of money to climb. Perid. This is mercenary work dressed up as gear sponsorship. We like Ed V, thought he was above this kind of trash.

  4. I’m sure Eddie Bauer rolled up the Brinks Truck for these guys to get their endorsement. Seems like they’ve had some hand in the designing of the new gear too, which I’m sure didn’t hurt. They’re no different then any other professional athlete though.

    In Ed’s case though, he was with Mountain Hardwear from the beginning. It is odd that that relationship seems to have changed.

  5. Eddie Bauer’s so short on cash they’re laying off employees left, right and center. Bad form to fire a bunch of people while the CEO and/or the product development team take totally unnecessary climbing jaunts. Put the gear on a proven climber like Ed and let him test it, don’t spend the equivalent of multiple employees’ annual salaries sponsoring a bunch of other ‘testers’ who mostly will be testing themselves, not the gear. It is a scam. Unseemly all around.

  6. To be fair, I haven’t heard a peep about how much, if anything, these climbers are getting paid to endorse the new gear. I’m not going to criticize Eddie Bauer without knowing more about the financials of this situation.

    And in today’s economic climate, layoffs are the norm and they’re hitting nearly every business to some degree. You could make a case that EB is trying to save the company by launching a new line, as clearly their current focus isn’t working.

  7. To be fair, I have heard more than peeps and the amounts are staggering. True, things are looking fairly grim for Bauer so maybe this is a Hail Mary. But when the CEO goes climbing on the company’s dime while corporate cutbacks are happening all around him? I don’t need to know the financial details to find fault with the appearance of wastefulness. Bauer could sponsor one big name (like Viesturs) without footing the bill for the entire entourage, which is apparently the case. Even without the details you can question the appearance of poorly timed excessive spending. Or you could call it impressive bravado in the face of demise.

  8. I definitely won’t argue with it being excessive, when you consider the costs of an Everest climb. Everything needs to be examined in this economic climate. I agree with you there.

    And I do think this is a bit of a “hail Mary” as you put it. Not sure it’ll score either, as the gear market is just so crowded now, and EB has alienated much of their former market. We’ll see.

  9. Curious… First Ascent has been the name of a South African brand of mountaineering and outdoor apparel. They’ve been around since 1989 and they manufacture in Cape Town, South Africa. http://www.firstascent.co.za

    I think it is odd that these guys chose the same name, even though they’re in a different country…
    Lisa – South Africa

  10. I was a little surprised that there wasn’t already a line of gear called First Ascent when this story broke, but now I know why. There IS a line of gear. I wonder if they worked something out already to not see the new gear in SA.

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