North American APEX Award Winners Announced

June 24, 2009 by

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Polartec® is excited to announce the North American APEX Design Award winners for 2009. This prestigious award goes to the best-of-the-best Polartec® based garments that will be available to consumers in fall 2009. Winners are selected based on the style, function and fit of the garment as well as the most innovative and appropriate uses of Polartec® fabrics in the designs. This year’s winners range from a 100% recycled content baselayer, to a technical winter cycling jersey, to a recycled fleece canine coat. And the winners are:

• Arc’teryx Strato Jacket – 64% recycled Polartec® Thermal Pro®

• Burton Polartec® Power Stretch® Gloves – Polartec® Power Stretch®

• Core Concepts Plush Pullover – Polartec® Thermal Pro®

• Cutter Tech Knickerbocker – Polartec® Power Shield® with Hardface®

• Eddie Bauer First Ascent Point Success Jacket – Polartec® Wind Pro® and Polartec® Power Stretch®

• Kathmandu Ltd Hub and Velodrome Cycling Jackets – Polartec® Wind Pro® with Hardface® and Polartec® Power Stretch®

• Mountain Hardwear Polartec® Power Stretch® Jacket – Polartec® Power Stretch® with Hardface®

• Patagonia Capra Jacket and Hoody – 79% recycled Polartec® Thermal Pro®

• Patagonia Phil’s Fleece – 51% recycled Polartec® Thermal Pro® with 40% raw wool

• Peckham USMC FR Grid Fleece Shirt – Polartec® Power Dry® Flame Resistant

• Ruff Wear Dog Gear Climate Changer™ Fleece Jacket – 87% recycled Polartec® Classic 200

The North Face El Cap – 100% recycled Polartec® Power Dry®

In addition to a Tiffany crystal award and bragging rights for a year, winners can participate in a custom hangtag program promoting these products at the consumer level. Polartec® also provides additional marketing support through product placement with media and events. Past winners can testify that the Polartec® APEX Design Award drives sell-through.

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Eco-Champion Round 2 voting is underway

June 19, 2009 by

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The 25 finalists for The North Face/Polartec® Eco Champion contest have been chosen and voting is underway online. A $15,000 donation is on the line for the winning green charity and $1,000 shopping spree at http://www.thenorthface.com for the winning entry.

Check out the contest here. So far it’s a tight race between a couple of Riverkeeper organizations, the Audobon Society of Portland and ConservationNEXT. All of the finalists are incredibly worthy causes and people making a difference in our world. Thanks for your inspiration and good luck!

Back from Namibia

June 10, 2009 by

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Just got back from Namibia yesterday and wanted to send off a quick note to let you all know that we made it– back safe, up a big route (FA Southern Crossing, 1300 ft 5.11+, V, granite crack extravaganza), back without a scorpion bite or snake bite among us. I’m putting together a press release that I will shoot off either today or this weekend that you can post up on websites and release. Stay tuned for that as soon as possible– for now I wanted to just say hi, AND, moreover, thanks. It was amazing to have this much support on this project. I can’t wait to tell you more

Cheers, Majka

Polartec Challenge Winner Returns from Namibia with a First Ascent

June 9, 2009 by

_MG_1462On June 1st, Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette, and Kate Rutherford completed Southern Crossing: a 1300-foot 5.11+, grade 5 rock climbing first ascent on the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest peak. But that’s only part of the story. There’s also a 2,000+ year-old painted giraffe, 108-degree temperatures, eight days at 15km/hour over washboard roads, scorpions, laser sharp granite cracks, crumbling granite faces, cobras, realized conservation, weathered maps, and rugged mountain passes.

Forty-two days ago, I went to Namibia expecting to climb, explore, and push my understanding of how curiosity, ambition, and adventure work vis a vis culture. I knew all of these components would come into play during the month long trip, I just didn’t know the formulation. In the north, where we’d originally planned to climb the most, our best moments came from sitting in the shade of an Acacia tree with a group of Himba women painted in red ochre and butterfat. Himba, Afrikaans, English, Spanish and Portuguese were spoken, but often hand gestures and figures drawn in the sand gained us the vital information we sought. Further south, on the Brandberg, we scraped through the dirt, bushes, and bird refuse that guarded our perspective line for three days to get to what we hoped would be a way up. Each day, we looked for a way for this country, the “easy Africa,” to give us portals to a higher stance, a greater understanding, or a smooth road. We eventually found all of them.

Stay Tuned for Words and Images From:
Majka Burhardt, writer and speaker. www.majkaburhardt.com
Gabe Rogel, photographer. www.rogelphoto.com
Chris Alstrin, filmmaker. www.alstrinfilms.com

Namibia 2009 was supported, in part by The Polartec Challenge Fund and the Mountain Grant Program of the Banff Centre, with additional support provided by Patagonia, Osprey Petzl, Outdoor Research, Clif Bar, and Scrapa.

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*I share this news with a heavy heart in light of the recent news about Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, and Wade Johnson. Just over a month ago, Jonny and I high-fived a send off for our respective expeditions and promised to trade stories when we got back. As most of you know, those are stories we will now not have a chance to hear. When my father heard the news on the radio he called me and asked me one question: “How do you make sense of this in your world?” I told him the only answer I have. “I don’t.”

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RedFox Adventure Race 2009 powered by Polartec®

June 9, 2009 by

Check out this update from Polartec Russia…

Polartec® is proud to become the official partner and supporter of the RedFox Adventure Race 2009 – the biggest Russian adventure race of the year. Among the participants from Russia there will be a team from Ukraine, Latvia, Sweden, Belorussia and Turkey.

RedFox Adventure Race

Adventure racing  is a new to Russia and outdoor gear manufacturer Red Fox is organizing races with the aim to popularize and develop the extreme team sport.

In the RedFox Adventure Race 2009 powered by Polartec®, athletes will compete in mountain running, navigation, river rafting, sea rowing, rock climbing, mountain biking and even rollerblading, non-stop for 48 hours.

Polartec® fabrics are used for the production of garments by many popular Russian brands. RedFox is one of the first Russian brands to utilize Polartec® fabrics to produce a wide range of garments, starting from thermo-underwear. Our successful and growing 15-year long partnership with one of the leading outdoor brands in Russia now enters in-to the new phase: cooperation to support sports.

Bernice Notenboom, Polartec Challenge winner, summits Everest!

May 26, 2009 by

Bernice2Polartec sends a hearty congratulations to Bernice Notenboom, one of the recipients of a 2009 Polartec Challenge Grant, who just summitted Everest yesterday! Bernice posted a gripping satellite dispatch from Everest, complete with the story of a rescue, a white-out storm, a dead body and a 17-year sherpa’s first summit.  From Bernice’s satellite phone dispatch:

“Yesterday morning May 24th, at 7.30 AM I reached the summit of Everest. Only two of our team made it up and two sherpas, one who was only 17 years old and now the youngest sherpa to summit. The climb did not come easy. At 10 pm, it was extremely windy at 8000 m, at the souh col and in our tent and the sherpas refuse to go. Except two of our sherpas who were eager to get their summit bonus. So in 60 km/hr winds at 10 pm we set off, the first party to go for the night. Around 11 pm in the triangle, the wind suddenly stopped. Just before the balcony we found a half-dead American who had run out of oxygen, rapped off and fell. He did not know how long he had been there but he had taken off his gloves and down jacket, a sure sign of hypothermia. His frozen hands and feet were unusable. We radioed for a sherpa to get him down, gave him heat packs, food and hot drinks before we continued up to the summit.

On the way to the South Summit the weather changed, clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Are we losing our one day window already? For the next days bad weather was forecasted with 100 km/hr and worse conditions, perhaps the monsoon has arrived. At the south summit at 8700 m my oxygen mask froze up, the intake for fresh air did not work. Panic. I had less air in my mask then when I took my mask off at this elevation. The ice inside was so thick, it had to get hacked out with a ice axe and this I did not know till we were back at the balcony. I summited Everest in gasping for thin air, in a snow storm and wind. It was not a good day for summit photos! The descend was painful due to low visibility and tiredness; in one day from camp 3 to camp 4, rest a few hours and continue. After 30 hours, I collapsed and somewhere in the middle of the night my oxygen run out because I woke up empty at 8000m. Descending down in vicious wind, the weather changed and we got lucky. Sagarmatha gave us an opportunity and maybe Lhapka kept an eye on us! Despite the challenges, I am super stoked that I did it, perserve the challenges. We are in camp 2 now, one more time through the icefall and then safe in basecamp. I will update this tomorrow with some images.”

The South Col and South Summit of Everest

The South Col and South Summit of Everest

Read more here.

Polartec Challenge winner lands in Namibia

May 13, 2009 by

namibia_big_mapMajka Burhardt, one of the 2009 Polartec Challenge Grant winners, has arrived in Namibia with her team of climbers, photographers and filmmakers. Majka is planning to scale some previously unclimbed,  1,000 ft.+ granite walls in Namibia as well as document one of the last great Southern African ancestral tribes, the Himba.

Did you know that Namibia has the most isolated desert roads on the African Continent? Or that it’s the second least populated country in the world? (Mongolia is the first) And that it has the most stable government in Africa? Neither did we.

Majka (pronounced Micah) will be blogging about her month-long adventure on her site. This is from one of her posts last week:

“I’ve been in Windhoek, Namibia’s capitol for 48-hours—just now longer than it took to get here. Departing Johannesburg, I had the choice to go to Gaborone, Antananarivo, Noola, Luanda, Bulawayo, Lusaka or Doha… I came here—at least here I know there’s granite. I arrived and got my rental car, and immediately got inside, on the wrong side (my right side) and sat down. I looked at the attendant. I had not been horizontal in 46 hours. I gave him a wave, got out of the car, and went to the other side.”

spitzThis week, Majka has been climbing and exploring Spitzkoppe, a a great granite mountain that rises out of the southern Africa desert.  In the next couple of days the team heads north to (hopefully) put in some first ascents.

We’re looking forward to following Majka’s adventures!

Polartec Recognized by Time Magazine as a “Company with a Conscience”

May 4, 2009 by

time_may_09_cover1Time Magazine’s Style and Design issue has included Polartec in its ‘Green Design 100 – The People and Ideas Behind Today’s Most Influential Design.’

Polartec is listed as a “Company with a Conscience” because of its use of recycled fabrics. In 2009 over 25% of Polartec’s total production will be from recycled materials, saving the energy equivalent of over 38 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

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Polartec Challenge Winners Converge Upon Everest

April 28, 2009 by

Unbeknownst to them, it appears as if two of this year’s Polartec Challenge Grant winners have converged upon Mt. Everest at the same time.  Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren, parents of young Jordan Romero, are currently making their way up Nuptse, a 25,000 ft. peak just 2 km west of Everest. Paul and Karen are in the Everest region as part of a scouting/reconnaissance mission. Their hope is to return with Jordan in the next year or two and help him complete his quest to become the youngest person to climb the 7 Summits.

Paul and Karen are using a Spot Satellite to update their progress on Nupste. Check it here.  Later this summer, Paul, Karen and Jordan are planning to summit the Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia, leaving only the Vinson Massif and Mount Everest on 12-year-old Jordan’s list.

In the same zip code, but on a totally different mission is Bernice Notenboon. Bernice is in the Himalaya to research the effects of climate change in the Everest ecosystem. Check out the below video where she and her team are finding climbing artifacts unearthed by the rapidly melting glaciers.

Bernice is posting daily updates to her Himalaya-Alert blog, so check back for more news and interesting vids.

Nominate your favorite green charity or individual to win $15K

April 15, 2009 by

polartec_zipper_2x21Who’s your Eco-Champion? Is it the Waterkpeeper Alliance? The Nature Conservancy? The Environmental Defense Fund? Greenpeace?  The Surfrider Foundation? Your local trail maintenance crew? Your spouse? Your neighbor? You?

Polartec and The North Face have relaunched the Eco-Champion program. We’re giving away $15,000 to the winning non-profit organization and thousands in gear to the winning individual.

So, take a couple minutes, fill out an entry form and help us celebrate Earth Day by nominating your Eco Champion!

Enter the Eco-Champion contest here.