First Ascent Team #2 Summits Everest!

May 26, 2009

Hahn, Waterfall and Arnot Complete the First Ascent Success

SEATTLE, May 26 /PRNewswire/ — Led by renowned First Ascent guide Dave Hahn, the “Return to Everest” expedition’s second summit team has reached the top of the world’s highest mountain. Hahn was joined on the summit on the morning of May 23 by fellow First Ascent guides Seth Waterfall and Melissa Arnot, as well as members of their production crew and Sherpas. Their successful summit means that all five First Ascent guides on the expedition topped out ( Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker summited on May 19).

High winds and snow placed the second team’s summit bid in jeopardy right up to the time they left their tents at Camp IV around midnight on the 22nd. But grabbing a narrow window of opportunity when the winds diminished slightly, the team opted to go for the top. Climbing as quickly as conditions and the extreme altitude would allow, they reached the summit around 6:45 a.m., staying at the top only a few minutes before descending as the weather window closed.

“It was a tough one,” Hahn said. “But we had a really good team. Everyone was really highly motivated and we got it done.”

This was Hahn’s eleventh Everest summit — more than any non-Sherpa in history. It was Waterfall’s first trip to the Himalaya, while Arnot summited Everest in 2008 as well.

In addition to assembling several of the world’s most celebrated mountain guides, the Return to Everest expedition has introduced breakthrough video and audio production techniques that have revolutionized the coverage of high-altitude mountaineering. Unprecedented, high-resolution footage, images and sound have created a compelling canvas for the climbers’ approach, acclimatization and successful summit bids. The drama of massive avalanches and the challenges of sudden weather changes and extreme altitude have played out on the stunning film. The entire expedition has been broadcast on the First Ascent blog and has built an avid online following.

The success of the second summit team punctuates the return of Eddie Bauer to its roots. Beginning in 1953, the company outfitted major mountaineering expeditions with down clothing, sleeping bags and other gear. Over the next 30 years, Eddie Bauer outfitted many of the most significant first ascents in American mountaineering history, including the first American ascent of Everest, in 1963. For the past 18 months, Eddie Bauer has been developing the new First Ascent mountaineering gear in collaboration with their First Ascent guide team. The “Return to Everest” expedition marks the expeditionary launch of the new line.

“We made our reputation as America’s premier expedition outfitter,” says Eddie Bauer President and CEO Neil Fiske, “on Everest and the world’s other major peaks by working with the leading climbers of the day. Guys like Jim Whittaker, Pete Schoening and Charles Houston. Now we’ve taken that collaborative approach to a whole new level with our work on First Ascent with Peter Whittaker, Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn and the rest of the First Ascent team.”

Positioned as “guide built gear,” First Ascent takes a new approach to designing and developing gear. “Viesturs, Hahn and I agreed,” says Whittaker, “that most of the mountaineering gear out there is overbuilt. I can’t tell you how many times that we, as guides, actually cut features off a product because it doesn’t serve a necessary function. To us, that’s just extra weight. Our goal was to create the simplest, lightest, best gear in the world. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.” Nothing ended up on any First Ascent piece that wasn’t approved and tested by the First Ascent guide team. And nothing was left off that would compromise performance. Because in the guides’ words, “We live in the mountains. Our clothes are our life support.”

Five of the six First Ascent guides participated in the Return to Everest climb. Those five include:

Ed Viesturs The only American to summit all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, Ed is recognized the world over as a mountaineering legend. This was his seventh Everest summit.

Peter Whittaker Co-owner of Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI), the largest guide service in the U.S., Peter has been a professional mountain guide for 25 years. This was his third Everest expedition and his first summit. Peter has said that part of his motivation on this 2009 climb was to restore some balance to the bragging rights at Whittaker family reunions. By mid-June, more than 50 RMI guides around the world (and many of their clients) will be outfitted in First Ascent gear.

Dave Hahn Acknowledged as America’s leading Himalayan guide, Dave has summited Everest more times than any non-Sherpa in history. This year, many of his blog posts from the mountain outline the strategies for successfully climbing in the Himalaya.

Melissa Arnot This was Melissa’s second Everest expedition. In 2008, she reached the top as part of EVEREST TEAM INSPI(RED) to help raise awareness for the organization (RED) and its work for people in Africa suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Seth Waterfall While this was his first trip to the Himalaya, Seth has guided on Rainier, Kilimanjaro and Denali; and he has multiple first ski descents to his credit.

    Eddie Bauer's mountaineering history:

            1953 - K2, Pakistan/China
            1953 - Logan & Cook, Yukon
            1953 - Inca Highway Expedition, South America
            1954 - Makalu, Nepal/Tibet
            1955 - Lhotse, Nepal/Tibet
           *1958 - Gasherbrum I, Pakistan/China
            1958 - Antarctica
            1958 - Slick-Johnson Snowman Expedition, Nepal
            1959 - Eastern Kanjroba Himal, Nepal
            1960 - Andes, South America
           *1960 - Masherbrum, Pakistan/India
            1960 - McKinley/Denali, Alaska
          **1963 - Everest (South Col), Nepal/Tibet
           *1963 - Everest (West Ridge), Nepal/Tibet
            1964 - McKinley/Denali, Alaska
           *1965 - Kennedy, Yukon
            1965 - Antarctica
            1966 - McKinley/Denali, Alaska
           *1966 - Vinson Massif, Antarctica
            1967 - Andes, Peru
            1967 - McKinley/Denali, Alaska
            1971 - Everest, Nepal/Tibet
          **1973 - Dhaulagiri, Nepal
          **1974 - Peak Lenin, Russian Pamirs
            1974 - Coppermine River, Northwest Territories
            1975 - Mt. Logan, Yukon
           *1976 - Nanda Devi (North Ridge), India
            1976 - Brooks Range, Alaska
            1976 - Thule-Grise Fjord, Canadian Arctic
           *1977 - Great Trango Tower, Pakistan
            1978 - Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic
            1979 - Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland
          **1980 - Makalu, Nepal/Tibet
            1980 - Dhaulagiri, Nepal
            1980 - Ellesmere Island, Canadian Arctic
            1981 - Spitsbergen Island, Norway
            1981 - Rainier (Pelion Project), Washington State
            1981 - Everest, Nepal/Tibet (2)
            1982 - Ama Dablam, Nepal
            1982 - Ellesmere Island, Canadian Arctic
           *1983 - Everest (East Face), Tibet
            1983 - Northwest Passage, Canadian Arctic
            2008 - Cotopaxi, Ecuador
            2009 - Aconcagua, Argentina

            *First Ascent       **First American Ascent

To learn more, visit blog.firstascent.com.

For interview requests and more information, contact: Anita Woo (425) 755-8832 anita.woo@eddiebauer.com

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 365 stores throughout the United States and Canada, through catalog sales and online at eddiebauer.com.

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SOURCE Eddie Bauer

Source: newswire

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