Jordan summits Everest!

Karina, Karen, Paul and Jordan at Everest Base Camp

This news is a little old by now, but we’re happy to report that Jordan, Paul and Karen are now safely off the mountain and have arrived back in Kathmandu. After a over a month on Everest, they’re thrilled to have hot showers, telephone and internet access. Sticking to his goal of offering inspiration to other kids, Jordan has already scheduled his first school visit.  From Jordan’s Facebook page:

Jordan at age 9 in front of the mural at his school that started it all

“Stop #1- Rato Bangala School-the ‘harvard’ of middle schools here in Kathmandu, Nepal- 400 students get sneak preview at the new presentation by Jordan. 400 autographs. Need new sharpie.”

We’re incredibly happy for Jordan and proud to have supported him for over two years now. We’re also looking forward to being a part of his upcoming climb of Mt Vinson in Antarctica – the final peak in his Seven Summits quest.  As Jordan continues to be swarmed by the mainstream media we’re happily telling people, “we knew him when.”

For Immediate Release

Two-time Polartec Challenge Grant Recipient Jordan Romero, Age 13, Sets Everest Record

05.28.2010 – (Lawrence, Mass.) On Saturday May 22, at the age of 13, two-time Polartec® Challenge Grant recipient Jordan Romero became the youngest person ever to summit Mt. Everest. Later this year, Romero plans to climb Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, thereby successfully completing his quest to conquer the Seven Summits.

Jordan, who is from Big Bear, California, climbed Everest with his father, his father’s girlfriend and three Sherpa guides. The team arrived safely back at base camp on the Chinese side of the mountain today.

Polartec supported Jordan’s Everest climb through its annual Polartec Challenge Grant, which provides financial and product support to expeditions around the world. Jordan and his family were outfitted with a full range of technical Polartec baselayers, insulation and weather protection garments, helping them to stay warm and dry on the Earth’s highest mountain.

“We’re incredibly proud of Jordan and his family and happy to be long-time supporters,“ states Polartec Global Marketing Director Nate Simmons. “As our country faces epidemic levels of childhood obesity and inactivity, role models like Jordan are critically important to both the outdoor industry and the health of our nation.”

Jordan began his quest for the Seven Summits in July 2006, when he successfully climbed 19,340-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. In April 2007, Jordan summitted Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, in July he climbed Mt. Elbrus in Russia and in December of the same year, he broke the record as the youngest person to summit Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina.

Last year, Jordan, climbed 20,030-foot Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska and tied the record for the youngest person to summit the highest mountain in North America. Finally, in the summer of 2009, Romero climbed the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.

Jordan’s sights are now set on Antarctica’s 16,000-foot Vinson Massif.

About Jordan Romero
Jordan Romero is a 13-year-old boy from Big Bear, Calif. with big dreams. Born on July 12, 1996, Jordan hopes to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each continent.

The Trangoworld Corre Team Conquers the Sahara, Wins Marathon des Sables 2010


After six grueling stages of brutal heat and sandstorms, the ultramarathon Trangoworld Corre team won the famous self-supported endurance test known as Marathon des Sables 2010. With them for the long haul was the Polartec Power Dry T-Shirt, that helped keep them (relatively) cool and dry. The team, made up of Jorge Aubeso, Fernando Cantón, Rodrigo Iturralde, and Gabriel Santamaría, ran 250 kilometers, carrying their own food and gear all while at the mercy of the high temperatures and harsh conditions.

The four Spaniards were pitted against the feared Moroccan and Jordanian teams, who had the advantage of being familiar with the harsh landscape. Even so, Trangoworld Corre came in first place by over three hours.

The experience was nothing short of heroic for Jorge Aubeso, who had to give up the third spot on the podium when he fell back to join his teammates in the final stage on the way to the finish line, thus ensuring that the team could place first. Aubeso declared, “Everyone on the team is thrilled to have won for Trangoworld. They put their faith in us, and supported us completely.”

Both the Trangoworld Corre team and Polartec Power Dry performed to the maximum in this desert race, where extreme conditions made the breathability and light weight of Power Dry invaluable.

500K vertical feet – 1/4 of the way there.

Greg Hill's altimeter

That’s a photo ski mountaineer Greg Hill took of his wrist-watch on March 25th. Why is it significant? Because it means Greg is one-quarter of the way towards his goal of climbing and skiing 2 million vertical feet in 2010. The first quarter of the year is over and clearly he’s pacing himself nicely. Greg is another one of our 2010 Polartec Challenge Grant recipients and while most of us are thinking about springtime running, cycling and hiking, Greg is just warming up on his skis. A resident of Revelstoke, BC, Greg will head to South America this summer to continue his quest. Here’s a great video documenting Greg’s first three months of skiing in 2010.

Jordan Romero’s Seven Summit Quest

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Many of you have probably seen the recent media coverage of Jordan Romero as he prepares to climb Mt. Everest later this month. For those of you who don’t know, Jordan is a 13-year-old from Big Bear, California, who has already climbed five of the Seven Summits. He’s also a two-time recipient of the annual Polartec® Challenge Grant.

Two years ago, we received Jordan’s first grant application. At the age of 12, he had already climbed Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Aconcagua in Argentina and Denali in Alaska, arguably the most challenging of the Seven Summits. Because of the high costs of travel and permits, Jordan applied for a Polartec® grant to help fund his climb of Mt. Carstenz in Indonesia. At the time, we reviewed Jordan’s application very carefully — certainly his age was both inspiring and a reason for concern. We had the opportunity to spend time with Jordan and his family at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City that year and we were impressed by his maturity and sincerity. We awarded him the grant in 2009 and Jordan bagged the peak.

JordanRomeroflagIn his attempt to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, Jordan has become a role model and mentor for other children, speaking at schools about climbing, exercise and the outdoors. In a recent Special Report on Youth, The Outdoor Foundation examined youth participation in outdoor recreation — profiling the extent and quality of participation among ages 6 to 24. The report revealed that in recent decades — amidst changing technological and social landscapes — the American childhood has rapidly moved indoors, leading to epidemic levels of childhood obesity and inactivity. Role models like Jordan Romero are critically important to the outdoor industry and the health of our country.

Thus, when Jordan applied for a Polartec® Challenge Grant to help subsidize his climb of Mt. Everest this year, we again carefully considered his application, but soon agreed that Polartec® should continue to support his quest. After spending time with Jordan and his family we believe they will make prudent decisions in the mountains and will put safety above glory. We all know there are inherent risks in mountaineering — the effects of altitude, weather, gear and even dealing with cantankerous yaks on the trails — many variables that are beyond human control. We believe Jordan and his family have done everything they can to train and prepare for this climb and will do everything possible to mitigate risks on the mountain. Jordan has big dreams, which are inspiring others, and we’re proud to be one of his supporters.

Kate Harris, Polartec Challenge winner, honored as a 2010 Woman of Discovery

harris-bike-gd Small_0WINGS WorldQuest is an organization that “celebrates and supports extraordinary women explorers and promotes scientific exploration, education, and conservation to inspire future generations.” On Thursday, April 15, WINGS will honor the accomplishments of visionary women who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge to help us understand the complex issues we face today at the 8th annual Women of Discovery Awards.

Kate Harris, who is a recipient of a Polartec Challenge Grant this year along with Mel Yule, is one of the four WINGS winners this year.

Kate, at only 27, has an impressive academic resume, combined with a unquenchable thirst for adventure. Her undergraduate degree is from UNC, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar in biology. After graduation in 2006, she retraced Marco Polo’s travels along China’s Silk Road. On this trip, she and two friends traversed the Aksai Chin in western Tibet, a contested territory between India and China, and in the process biked near the Siachen glacier on the Indian-Pakistan Line of Control. The notion that these sublime wildernesses were venues for military occupation and violence, because of arbitrary human borders, was shocking. This experience sparked her interest in the geopolitics of transboundary wilderness conservation. After this expedition, Kate went to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She wrote her Master’s dissertation on the potential for transboundary science and environmental conservation to resolve conflict and cultivate peace between neighboring nations. Her work explored the prospects for establishing a peace park on the Siachen glacier in Kashmir, and drew on historical precedents for science-for-peace initiatives in Antarctica, Outer Space, and transboundary protected areas in Africa, South America, and Asia.

Kate just completed her Master’s degree in geobiology at MIT and is now taking a year off to complete an ambitios project called Cycling Silk, a year-long, all-woman bike journey that will cover more then 10,000 kilometers of the Silk Road between Tibet and Turkey, and study six case studies for cross-border conservation along the way.

Congrats Kate! We’re all looking forward to reading your upcoming updates from the Silk Road!

A week in the Dolomites reaps big air, ripped pants and a win for Polartec

Last Sunday marked the end of the coldest edition ever of the Polartec® Scufoneda Telemark & Freeride Week.  An international event staged in Moena, deep in the heart of the Italian Dolomites, it attracts the very best in Telemark skiing where competitors vie for the prestigious Freeride Cup and the Italian FISI Telemark Championship.

With temperatures plummeting to an all-time low, a cutting wind and some powder still to be found on the Northern aspects, the clear blue skies watched as the gauntlets were thrown down for the ultimate challenge for Polartec® fabrics and skiing prowess.  This year saw the European pros testing their mettle against the honed talents of some visiting Americans:  Nick Devore, a former Telemark Freeskiing World Champion (and member of Polartec’s Athlete Advisory Board) Flylow’s Dan Abrams and Eben Mond and our very own director of marketing Nate Simmons battled it out on the slopes of San Pellegrino. In the overall ranking, the Europeans defended their home turf with a win in the Freeride Race with Italian Armin Senoner grabbing first place and Nick Devore nudging his boots with a second and “Best Trick” accolade. Nick Devore was also the winner of the Telemark category.  Germany’s Fritz Trojer came in third.

Nick Devore celebrates his win

Nick Devore celebrates his win

The Alpine category saw Italians Matteo Bordoni and Aldo Valmassoi bag first and second place respectively.  Canada’s Ross Janzen came third.  The Snowboard category was won by Italy’s Francesco Fersuoch followed by fellow Italians Maurizio Davarda and Mauro Tarter.

Eben Mond goes huge (he bashed his nose on the landing and finished gushing blood).

Eben Mond goes huge (he bashed his nose on his knee on the landing, kept it together and skied across the finish line gushing blood. Luckily he was fine and joined the crew for a 7 course meal Dolomites-style at lunch).

For those who attend the event but choose to watch rather than race, Scufoneda offers great guided tours at various skill levels throughout the week. The groups split up for a few hours in the mornings and then reconvene for Prosecco, salami and cheese in the afternoons.

As title sponsors of the event Polartec® was all over Moena.  From its welcome tent, banners and flags denoting the race routes to its competing staff. It was also a perfect testing venue for 20 European journalists to hit slopes and experience the performance of Polartec Power Shield Pro first hand. Garments will hit the consumer market in the Fall of 2010.

The Polartec® Scufoneda – Telemark & Freeride week was inspired by SCUFONS del COGO, a non-profit association based in Moena, Trentino (most of the original Scufons are local police officers and they also count a high-level regional judge and the mayor among its ranks – it’s good to have the law on your side when you throw a week long party).  Founded in the 90′s by a group of Telemark enthusiasts it is now the point of reference for Telemark fans worldwide.

Polartec Marketing Team - Left to Right - Alessandro Perseo, Allon Cohne, Eric Yung, and Nate Simmons

Polartec Marketing Team - Left to Right - Alessandro Perseo, Allon Cohne, Eric Yung, and Nate Simmons

Oh, and the ripped pants?  Let’s just say, a Polartec® employee double ejected on a narrow couloir and went for a wild ride to the bottom on his backside. After a quick visit to the emergency room and 7 stitches later, he was back in business for the party that evening and skiing the next day.

Want to come next year?  Check out or Polartec® Scufoneda page on Facebook for details on next year’s Polartec® Scufoneda Telemark&Freeride week.

Big Wall Cribs

This is a pretty entertaining video of Black Diamond pro climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson talking about their ‘crib’ on El Capitan. In addition to his sweet portaledge, Tommy (in orange) is rocking a Polartec Power Dry baselayer, perfect for long days of climbing on a big wall.

Big Wall Cribs with Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on El Capitan from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.