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Kane

First Ascent Clothing - New choices

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Felt like I had to post this since I never hear anything about the clothing line from First Ascent. They have some nice stuff and I am ordering a peice right now. Looking through the features, it is definately built for climbers. HERE

 

 

 

Edited by Kane

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Yeah, I wound up in an Eddie Bauer store over the holidays, saw their guide gloves (which are tits! btw.) and picked them up. I think they are definitely headed in a good direction with this stuff.

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Seems like they ripped off clothing designs from patagonia and a couple of other places in the hopes people would pay patagonia prices...if this stuff goes on super clearance it might be worth it but better deals on better gear can be found elsewhere.

 

That "Belay Knife" looks sweet for the next time I need to cut the rope while belaying though.

 

 

 

 

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Not to start a stir (or maybe to start a stir!), but I've seen some of this stuff first hand, and the quality may not be patagonia, but your also not paying "patagonia prices". The pants are actually pretty nice, and I own a few pairs of patagonia pants that in my opinion, just aren't "there" in terms of design (simple guide pant?).

Using fabrics such as schoeller in their pant design is fairly expensive, it's akin to using gore-tex or event fabrics (you pay for their advertising). Therefore the price point for their pants is right on. Additionally, the last time I checked, paying 250-300 bones for a pair of softshell pants to get chewed up by crampons when ice climbing, was and still is retarded.

Also where else are you going to get another down parka with 850 fill down for around $250? show me that deal and I'm all over it. Lastly if you head into the mountains with no way to cut a rope or webbing, Let me know how that works for you whe you get benighted due to a stuck rope or worse.

It's not the most lightweight or techy gear out there (it wasn't designed to be!); but just because it wasn't designed by a bunch of canadian softshell blazer designers and instead developed by people who climb, ski, and guide like beasts; doesn't exclude it from the "good gear" pile.

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Personally I'm glad to see Eddie Bauer back in the business of making real clothing. With guys like Whittaker and Viesturs helping with design they have a good shot at making it right, and their reputation was originally built on expedition clothing for Himalayan peaks.If you look at the catalog Mountain Gear sends out you can find shells by Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, NF,etc. all made out of Goretex Pro Shell, all virtually identical by order of Gore, and all priced within $20. It's nice to see a company break out of the mold and develop their own materials. I wish them the best.

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Eddie bower parka doesn't list a fill weight so no way to tell how warm it is pretty much ruling it out for technical use in my book. Also there are no rules for down fill power numbers... manufactures can pretty much make them up if they want so you have to trust your down provider.

 

Parka's i would rather spend that kind of money on:

 

http://www.featheredfriends.com/Picasso/Garments/Lt/HoodedHelios.html

http://www.campsaver.com/itemmatrix.asp?GroupCode=rab0008&MatrixType=1&avad=1768_e6ebe4d

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=70&p_id=2301315

 

If none of these tickle your fancy use spadout to watch for end of winter sales:

http://www.spadout.com/c/mens-down-jackets/

 

I have never heard the term "belay knife" before and think it is some marketing bs. (though i do carry a small key chain knife to cut webbing etc if needed).

 

 

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I've got a Trango alpine knife

http://www.trango.com/prod.php?id=104

 

But was thinking to get something a little larger for cutting tat. The Trango alpine kinda gets bound up in a biner, and is pretty small to handle. Did see the EB knife...looked pretty nice.

 

EB Belay knife

http://www.eddiebauer.com/FIRST-ASCENT/First-Ascent-Gear-Equipment/index.cat#ppl={type%3A%22hide%22}

 

BUT, the Trango Barracuda looks like a better fit for me (can keep it clipped in while using)

http://www.trango.com/prod.php?id=137

 

What's your fav knife for cutting tat and crap?

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Oh, and I would agree...go with a proven down manufacturer. I like Feathered Friends; they are family owned, and have served our local community for years. Everyone has used their down suits and bags for years.

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Eddie Bauer was supplying down for k2 in 1953 and the first successful Everest expedition in 1963. Feathered Friends(one of my favorite stores) was founded in 1972.Believe it or not there might be people there with more experience than you.

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Dave A.; please keep the thread on topic. Jabs at me or anyone else here on this thread are not warranted.

 

You are correct; Eddie Bauer has been making down gear long before most anyone else, including Feathered Friends. I admire the Eddie Bauer's new First Ascent line; I'd like to get a pair of their work gloves, or whatever they're called.

 

Eddie Bauer is corporate owned...and has been on the brink of going under for awhile. Their stock has not fared well lately. Feather Friends, being family owned, no doubt appreciates the support of our local climbing community.

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You're right, that last sentence was uncalled for. Apologies. I fully support FF, and shop there everytime I'm in the big city. However, there is nothing wrong with corporate, with the exception of their most excellent down clothing the products in the store are made by relatively large corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, Dave, and agreed. Good gear is good gear.

 

I do hope that First Ascent does well. It's nice to have a full array of choices out there, and First Ascents truly adds to the pool of viable picks, and the guides who are designing the gear are truly exceptional.

 

I also hope that Eddie Bauer is able to hold on during this rocky economy. It's sad when anyone goes out of business these days, including corporations.

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i bought my friend a peak XV jacket for xmas to use on our aconcagua trip, i had tried on a few jackets incl a mhw sub zero parka, i have a north face himalayan jacket, the peak xv seems pretty close to my jacket, and way above in the quality and warmth of the sub-zero

 

my only gripe is that it does not have a proper water bottle pocket, the pocket they have you could not fit a nalgene or 1 liter bottle in

 

btw it is 850 fill per whittaker mountaineerings site

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Also where else are you going to get another down parka with 850 fill down for around $250? show me that deal and I'm all over it. Lastly if you head into the mountains with no way to cut a rope or webbing, Let me know how that works for you whe you get benighted due to a stuck rope or worse.

It's not the most lightweight or techy gear out there (it wasn't designed to be!); but just because it wasn't designed by a bunch of canadian softshell blazer designers and instead developed by people who climb, ski, and guide like beasts; doesn't exclude it from the "good gear" pile.

 

 

http://www.eddiebauer.com/FIRST-ASCENT/First-Ascent-Mens/First-Ascent-Mens-Insulation/index.cathttp:

 

You get what you pay for and the quality is not up to par. I was given a Peak XV from the "design team" and after only a few uses and the first washing in a front loader on gentle cycle several baffles failed in the back, under and in the arms. At least two panels in the back were void of any down as was under the arms. The arms looked like Pop Eye arms with all the down in the cuff area. There is simply no comparison to this jacket to a WM or a FF. Nothing about them is comparable. If you need/want a cheap jacket for one or two trips then the Peak XV will fit the bill. Then when EB had there Fleece 1/4 zips on sale for 19.00 I bought two. Again, no comparison to the R1 or other quality layering pieces. It is clear that EB has targeted the entry level climber that only climbs once or not very often and hence only needs a pierce to last a trip or two and is seeking low end price point climbing clothing and the quality is on par with that. Kind of like the majority or entry level RMI Rainier client. And for water bottle pockets? You don't need water bottle pockets for Rainier.

 

Edited by ASmith

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Eddie Bauer was supplying down for k2 in 1953 and the first successful Everest expedition in 1963. Feathered Friends(one of my favorite stores) was founded in 1972. Believe it or not there might be people there with more experience than you.

 

Too bad they didn't continue to improve with those successes. EB was never cutting edge in design or manufacture but simply available to the American market. Their down quality and designs were bad then (50/'60s) in comparison to the Euro down garments available. Think miner as opposed to climber....when it came to design.

 

Now they have the designs lets see if their manufacturing can live up to the price point they have targeted

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I haven't seen much of their stuff, but it doesn't seem to be geared to technical alpinism/climbing/ice-mixed etc as much as some of the other brands of clothing available. Interestingly enough, I heard from another climber that some of the climbers that First Ascent has chosen to feature in their ads have never done a "first ascent" in their entire climbing careers. Perhaps keeping it simply "Eddie Bauer" would have been in order.

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I picked up at XV jacket, Cloud 1/4 zip fleece and the guide gloves and some other FA stuff for an upcoming winter climb.

 

Seems like good stuff to me. The Mountain Hardwear Sub-Zero Hooded Jacket weighs the same, filled with 650 down, but it's got an interior water bottle pocket which I like. But I went with the XV Jacket because of the cost and the fill.

 

I have yet to have a long term testing but I don't see why some of the First Ascent stuff wouldn't stand up.

I have owned the MH Pinnacle Pants and thought they were extremely breathable and totally waterproof and surprisingly tough. Sort of sold me on non-goretex products.

 

A few things I've noticed is that the hoods are truly helmet compatible and generous. The softshells are sweet. and that I can afford it.

 

Although Eddie Bauer has been doing down since 1953 they got out of expedition outfitting many years ago and were never in alpine. So I wouldn't use "first produced down garments for an expedition in 19XX year" as a selling point on me. Since they didn't continue making expedition gear.

 

Their Downlight sweater fits much better than the Patagonia down sweater, is less boxy, and about 1 oz heavier.

 

I'll have to give it all time though. I mean yes, "First Ascent" doesn't have a lot of first ascentionists, but I wouldn't buy something for apline that carried the eddie bauer name only. They had to call it something.

 

Ed Viesturs helped develop and grow and develop Mountain Hardwear and now he's been recruited to help develop and grow First Ascent. No reason to believe it won't work as well.

 

Guess time will tell. They offer a lifetime guarantee so shouldn't hurt to find out.

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Also where else are you going to get another down parka with 850 fill down for around $250? show me that deal and I'm all over it. Lastly if you head into the mountains

 

If you are any part of SAR or work at a ski resort or do any job realted to being out side. outdoorprolink.com is the sh**. Rabs Neutrino Endurance down jacket is on there for $150.

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I picked up the FA belay knife over Xmas. I like the design but I'm not sure that it can take much punishment. The biner attachment is a part of the blade and the body has a stop which prevents the knife from opening fully while it's on a biner. The biner attachment makes it really easy to open one handed even with gloves without the need of the thumb stud on the side. The blade is made in China and I'm not sure about the durability of the plastic body but I couldn't pass it by at 25% off.

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The thing that annoys me about the "belay knife" is that they claim it is the lightest belay knife out there ignoring the fact that no other manufacture uses this term (google it...the only other mentions of "belay knife" are old jokes on rec.climbing) AND that the very similar trango "alpine knife" is half the weight.

 

I'm sure some of their gear is fine and it is cool that they have a r1 hoodie style thin hooded fleece and a simple patagonia ascentionist style hooded soft shell and MH compresor synth hooded belay coat.

 

BUT the prices on those pieces is not that good and seem worse then similar pieces available from mec, montbell, OR or the deals on last years colors annually available on the web or at second ascent.

 

More competition in the market is usally a good thing but EB is bringing no new ideas to the table. The one vaguely novel thing i saw in their line was the hooded paradise base layer but it is only available in women's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The main reason they're called First Ascent is bc Jim Whittaker was the first American to summit Everest using Eddie Bauer gear, among other expeditions EB was involved in.

 

I have the big tahoma pack, downlight sweater, and some base layer items. It's all really nice quality. I really like the pack, IMO it's MH or Gregorie quality, but streamlined. Their "everything you need, nothing you don't" slogan is something I think is needed. So much gear has all this extra BS that realistically does nothing.

 

I think the main focus of their stuff is peak type climbing, hence RMI using it. Don't get me wrong, MH,OR, all that is great, but Viesters, Hahn, and others are reputable, and the current line is the first production run. Any bugs should be worked out with time.

 

About the "belay knife," I would definately use a Benchmade or SOG or something else.

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Too bad they didn't continue to improve with those successes. EB was never cutting edge in design or manufacture but simply available to the American market. Their down quality and designs were bad then (50/'60s) in comparison to the Euro down garments available. Think miner as opposed to climber....when it came to design.

 

 

Surprizing to me but let me eat my own words and a good helping of CROW here. I happened by the EB store in dt Seattle today. Had a few minutes and browsed around with the intent of acknowledging my original diss and doubt of the 1st Ascent line and gloat a bit on how smart I am :)

 

Funny that, as the yearly sale was happening with up to 1/2 off.

I walked out with a XV down Parka and a "Aahsome" fleece Jacket. I have to admit retail on either piece was more than fair for the design and quality. The "Aahsome" @ $50 compares to the MH Monkey Man @ 139. or the Pagaonia R2 @ $175. I like it better than either. No way I'd pay $140 for one let alone $100...OK maybe a $100. But $50?!!

 

I am a belay/bivy jacket fanatic and am really picky about what I use. The XV is the first down jacket I have seen in years that was actually designed as a bivy, really, realy cold weather climbing jacket. Retail is $269. Compare it directly to the FF Front Point @ $429, Wild Things @ $295 ($170 sale) and Arct. Dually @ 499, Norrøna Lyngen $378 when you can find them and the new lwt DAS @ $300. I made those comparisons in person today except for the Norrøna Lyngen. Mammut has the Stratus for $$219 which good lwt and the Ambler for a thicker jacket @ $300. and another best buy in down. I bought my last Swiss, Egge Delux for $150 in the '80s...and the XV is a better jacket imo.

 

AND that is saying a LOT! In short...GOOD SHIT here for hard, really cold, alpine. Pick and choose though...some of the stuff is below par to other manufactures and price point I think; some way, way above. At 1/2 price some of it is really a steal imo.

 

While it may say machine washable on the XV, no one in their right mind would :) What were you thinking Allen? These types of jackets typically get taken on many YEARS of expeditions before they ever see soap/ water and a gentle hand washing. With all that they'll see only HOURS of actual use (climbing) past sitting around camp or laid over your bag on the really cold nights for the extra warmth.

 

Below are the kinds of days a XV will be perfect but worth noting Colin is in a new DAS :) Summit of Hunter May '09 after a jacket "bivy".

 

"Above the headwall we simul-climbed up ice slopes until the top of the North Buttress, and then took shelter from the wind in a bergschrund. It wasn't nearly as comfy as the crevasse at the top of the Bibler-Klewin, but nonetheless a nice spot to sit down and melt snow...... After a few hours we headed up towards the summit as it was getting light, this time under beautiful, blue skies."

 

Typical Collin understatement...about freezing your ass for a few hours no matter what freaking jacket you are wearing :)

 

33.JPG

 

30.JPG

 

http://colinhaley.blogspot.com/2009_05_01_archive.html

 

2 day sale, Jan 6 and 7 if you are interested..

 

http://www.eddiebauer.com/home.jsp

 

Edited for clarity and EB pricing as some seemed to have missed the TWO DAY ONLY SALE part of my origianl post.

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Whats the word on the Igniter Pants? They look comparable to the Mtn Hardwear Compressor Pant?

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I have a MH Compressor jacket and love it as a lwt belay jacket. My take is the 1st Ascent stuff targeting that line (MH Comressor) isn't the same quality..certainly not the same amount of loft. One of the dissappointments for me in their line.

 

But if it is on sale... with a big enough mark down....I'd take a second look :)

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Dane,

 

Which fleece product did you buy... the Bat hoodie?

 

BTW.... As I stated, I was given the jacket and due to BO odor in it from someone who may have worn it I "had" to wash the jacket. IMHO, any down jacket should be able to withstand at least a few gentle washings in a commercial front loader as recommended by every manufacture. I don't know about you but I'm not interested in "fragile" gear.

 

And.. you are right for 50% off of $269.00 you probably can't find a better jacket with quality and fragility issues aside but I said that previously and time will tell as more folks buy them. You also give up having a great weather protectant outer fabric like Gore, Epic, or Event to protect your life giving precious down with the XV as well as it is a product made in China with all that that entails as well. It's always comes down to price vs. quality and with that I think FA did a great job in designing gear for a specific target group at a low price point. Personally, for only $130.00 more I would buy the FF front point but the XV really doesn't directly compare to the Front Point in features for an apples for apples comparision.

 

However, for the $130.00 or so sales price it is a great jacket and everyone should own one at that price. And... it is warm, and its working great for shoveling snow in the driveway and to walk the dog ;)

Edited by ASmith

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