Eddie Bauer assets sold for $286 million

Golden Gate capital won the auction for Eddie Bauer’s assets. Winning bid: $286 million.

No mention as to what effect this will have on their newly launched (possibly newly closed) line, First Ascent, that was supposed to get EB back to their roots and start to distance them from just being another khaki retailer at your local mall. As mentioned before, I don’t foresee that dream ever happening, especially now.

Sooo…about that lifetime warranty (aka First Ascent becomes Last Descent?)

Was that my lifetime or yours Eddie Bauer?

And yes, I realize that Chapter 11 is far different than closing up shop, but it’d be hard to believe any potential acquirer will be spending the money to build a new brand (First Ascent) in lieu of just rolling with the marginalized, made in China mall garb and leveraging any economies of scale they can by combining manufacturing/distribution, layoffs and centralize HQs, etc.

FWIW, I’d love to see Eddie Bauer refocus and restructure and become the company my grandpa talks about fondly, but like leaded gas and handshakes being the sign of a man’s word I think those days are long gone.

First Ascent team reaches Everest summit

Looks like the First Ascent team reached the summit of Everest today. Congrats to them, as that’s a burly achievement and chosen suffering at it’s finest. You can follow their every foostep an rib breaking cough at their blog here. It remains to be seen if First Ascent is an authentic attempt by EB to return to their roots or a just a marketing ploy and attempt to boost the company’s value to any suitors.

I’m always skeptical, but again if the gear goes on super closeout I’ll pick up a few items to test out and report back.

Eddie Bauer’s new “First Ascent” line

Just came across this today, Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent.  Interesting stuff as maybe, juuuust maybe, it means that Eddie Bauer is going back to it’s roots (though not going so far as to manufacturing in the USA…) and actually trying to put out quality outdoor gear again.

First thought: Sweet, a potential source of outdoor clothing available in tall sizes for those mongoloids like myself, and I’m always a sucker for a picture of Mt. Rainier so that got my attention.

Second thought: This stuff is pretty expensive.  $349 for the Rainier jacket with it’s ‘WeatherEdge Pro’ generic waterproof/breathable laminate (assuming just another post-Goretex patent expiration knockoff) seems a bit steep for unproven gear – though they have (or at least used to have) their lifetime warranty so you could always ‘rent’ the garment to test it out.  In fact…maybe I’ll do that for a future review.

First Ascent Rainier jacket

First Ascent Rainier jacket

The down sweater, 800 fill, quoted weight of 13.4 oz. puts it in the same weight realm of the Patagonia sweater, not sure how much of the weight of either is down fill v. the shell though.

First Ascent Downlight sweater

First Ascent Downlight sweater

Could be interesting stuff, they’ve certainly got a decent team (including PNW loc Kyle Miller) helping shape the product, assuming they are actually helping shape and not just licensing their name out.  When it goes on the inevitable supercrazywhackfunky clearance I may pick up an item or two and test it out, unless they want to send me something beforehand…