Outdoor Research

Last updated
Outdoor Research
Type Private company
Founded1981;42 years ago (1981)
FounderRon Gregg
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
ProductsApparel, Accessories, and Gear for Outdoor Recreation
Website https://www.outdoorresearch.com

Outdoor Research is a Seattle-based manufacturer of technical apparel and gear for outdoor sports, including alpinism, rock and ice climbing, backpacking, paddling, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding.


Company History

Ron Gregg was a nuclear physicist and mountaineer who left his science career in 1980 in order to join an expedition up North America’s highest peak, Denali. [1] After enduring an open bivouac at 12,500 feet with temperatures reaching -20°F, Gregg’s climbing partner suffered from frostbitten feet and was subsequently evacuated by helicopter. [2] This event inspired and challenged Gregg to find a solution to cold, wet, and exposed feet in precarious mountain environments.

Gregg founded Outdoor Research the following year and released the company’s first product; the X-Gaiter. [1] In 1982, REI placed the Outdoor Research First Aid Kit on the back cover of its catalog. Within days, all 1,000 kits of the first order sold out. [2] By 1984, Outdoor Research had evolved into the space of protective handwear with the Modular Mitts, one of the first gloves utilizing a layering system with a removable inner liner and external hard shell. [2]

In 1986, Outdoor Research was included in Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in the country. [2] The business explored new territory in 1993 with the production of their first apparel product, a pair of soft shell pants inspired by Gregg’s ascent of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America. [3] Outdoor Research expanded even further in 1995 with the acquisition of their current headquarters at 2203 1st Ave South in the SoDo district of Seattle. [2]

On March 17, 2003, Gregg was killed in an avalanche while skiing in the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. [4] This same year, Dan Nordstrom purchased the company with the intention to “build the company while at the same time retaining its reputation as an innovative maker of mountaineering equipment.” [5]

In 2007, Outdoor Research began its first foray into adventure culture community events with the sponsorship of Vertfest in nearby Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. [1]

In 2014, manufacturer of outdoor and athletic clothing Youngone Corporation acquired a strategic equity investment in Outdoor Research.


Outdoor Research offers a product warranty that covers manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the product. [6]

The company uses the real-world testing of a group of professional outdoor athletes and ambassadors to design their gear.[ citation needed ]

In 1997, the company began its ongoing product testing and development relationship with the American Mountain Guides Association.[ citation needed ]

Since 2011, Outdoor Research has received 23 awards from Outside Magazine, 21 awards from Backpacker Magazine, and numerous Gear of the Year and Editor’s Choice Awards from publications like National Geographic, Runner’s World, and Backcountry. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Athletes and Ambassadors

Outdoor Research sponsors athletes and brand ambassadors that are professionals in the company’s core sports. [12] Examples include rock climber Beth Rodden, who is best known for her numerous first female ascents throughout the Yosemite Valley, including a redpoint of the 5.14c Meltdown. Hans Florine, also an Outdoor Research Ambassador, is one of the most accomplished rock climbers of his time, holding various speed records as well as over 100 ascents of The Nose on El Capitan. [13]

Also on the Outdoor Research Ambassador roster is professional skier and host of the hit TV series Tiny House Nation Zack Giffin, alpine and ice climbing guide Sarah Hueniken, and Swiss-American ski mountaineering guide Martin Volken.

Non-Profit Alliances & Partnerships

Outdoor Research supports various environmental preservation, climbing access, and accredited outdoor guiding organizations. Example partnerships include those with the Access Fund, American Mountain Guides Association, Leave No Trace, The American Alpine Club, among others listed on their website. [14]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountaineering</span> Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, mountain climbing, or alpinism, is a set of outdoor activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas that have become sports in their own right. Indoor climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some, but are part of a wide group of mountain sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scrambling</span> Walk up steep terrain involving the use of ones hands

Scrambling is a mountaineering term for ascending steep terrain using one's hands to assist in holds and balance. It is also used to describe terrain that falls between hiking and rock climbing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scott Fischer</span> American mountaineer

Scott Eugene Fischer was an American mountaineer and mountain guide. He was renowned for his ascents of the world's highest mountains made without the use of supplemental oxygen. Fischer and Wally Berg were the first Americans to summit Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak. Fischer, Charley Mace, and Ed Viesturs summitted K2 without supplemental oxygen. Fischer first climbed Mount Everest in 1994 and later died during the 1996 blizzard on Everest while descending from the peak.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski mountaineering</span> Skiing discipline

Ski mountaineering is a skiing discipline that involves climbing mountains either on skis or carrying them, depending on the steepness of the ascent, and then descending on skis. There are two major categories of equipment used, free-heel Telemark skis and skis based on Alpine skis, where the heel is free for ascents, but is fixed during descent. The discipline may be practiced recreationally or as a competitive sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grand Teton</span> Mountain in United States of America

Grand Teton is the highest mountain in Grand Teton National Park, in Northwest Wyoming, and a classic destination in American mountaineering.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Backcountry skiing</span> Skiing in unmarked or unpatrolled areas

Backcountry skiing (US), also called off-piste (Europe), alpine touring, or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries. This contrasts with alpine skiing, which is typically done on groomed trails benefiting from a ski patrol. Unlike ski touring, backcountry skiing can include the use of ski lifts including snowcats and helicopters. Recent improvements in equipment have increased the popularity of the sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Robbins</span> American rock climber (1935–2017)

Royal Robbins was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. He went on to become a well-known kayaker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kangshung Face</span>

The Kangshung Face or East Face is the eastern-facing side of Mount Everest, one of the Tibetan sides of the mountain. It is 3,350 metres (11,000 ft) from its base on the Kangshung Glacier to the summit. It is a broad face, topped on the right by the upper Northeast Ridge, and on the left by the Southeast Ridge and the South Col. Most of the upper part of the face is composed of hanging glaciers, while the lower part consists of steep rock buttresses with couloirs between them. The steep southern third of the Kangshung Face also comprises the Northeastern Face of Lhotse; this section may be considered a separate face altogether following the division of the South "Neverest" Buttress up to the South Col. It is considered to be a dangerous route of ascent, compared to the standard North Col and South Col routes, and it is the most remote face of the mountain, with a longer approach.

Backcountry.com is an online specialty retailer that sells clothing and outdoor recreation gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, winter sports, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alex Lowe</span> American mountaineer (1958-1999)

Stewart Alexander Lowe was an American mountaineer. He has been described as inspiring "...a whole generation of climbers and explorers with his uncontainable enthusiasm, legendary training routines, and significant ascents of rock climbs, ice climbs, and mountains all over the world...". He died in an avalanche in mount Shishapangma, in Tibet. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation honors his legacy.

Steve House is an American professional climber and mountain guide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1953 American Karakoram expedition</span> Attempt at first ascent of K2 in 1953

The 1953 American Karakoram expedition was a mountaineering expedition to K2, at 8,611 metres the second highest mountain on Earth. It was the fifth expedition to attempt K2, and the first since the Second World War. Led by Charles Houston, a mainly American team attempted the mountain's South-East Spur in a style which was unusually lightweight for the time. The team reached a high point of 7750 m, but were trapped by a storm in their high camp, where a team member, Art Gilkey, became seriously ill. A desperate retreat down the mountain followed, during which all but one of the climbers were nearly killed in a fall arrested by Pete Schoening, and Gilkey later died in an apparent avalanche. The expedition has been widely praised for the courage shown by the climbers in their attempt to save Gilkey, and for the team spirit and the bonds of friendship it fostered.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Hahn</span>

David Allen Hahn is an American professional mountain guide, ski patroller, journalist and lecturer. In May 2013, he reached the summit of Mount Everest for the 15th time—at the time, this was the most summits for a non-Sherpa climber, according to Outside Magazine contributor and climber Alan Arnette. His record was surpassed by Kenton Cool in 2022. Among Hahn’s other notable accomplishments are his 39 summits of Vinson Massif, Antarctica’s highest mountain. He has reached the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest peak, 25 times over the course of 37 expeditions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eldorado Peak</span> Mountain in Washington (state), United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountain Madness</span>

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  1. 1 2 3 Donahue, Topher (2011). Designed by Adventure: 30 Years of Outdoor Research. Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "International Directory of Company Histories". International Directory of Company Histories. 67.
  3. Lustigman, Alyssa (February 1993). "Spandura Collection Passes Rugged Test". Sporting Goods Business: 24.
  4. Castro, Hector (March 19, 2003). "Two Local Skiers Swept Away; Outdoor Gear Company Founder, State Attorney Die in Avalanche". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  5. Cook, John (June 3, 2003). "Dan Nordstrom Buys Outdoor Research, Leaderless Company Gets Fresh Start". Seattle Post-Intelligencer: E1.
  6. "Warranty". Outdoor Research.
  7. "Outside Online".
  8. "Backpacker Magazine".
  9. "Gear of the Year - Spring/Summer 2012". National Geographic Society .
  10. "2015 Runner's World Gear of the Year".
  11. "2018 Editors' Choice Awards: Apparel and Accessories".
  12. VerfasserIn., Vargas Llosa, Mario 1936- (2020). La ciudad y los perros. ISBN   978-84-376-3897-3. OCLC   1155909407.{{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  13. "100 Ascents of The Nose". Climbing Magazine.
  14. "Non-Profit Alliances".