BELLEVUE, Wash. — Eddie Bauer first ascent guide Melissa Arnot summited Mt. Everest for the fifth time, the most of any woman in history. Arnot's celebratory summit falls only weeks after the 50th anniversary of the 1963 expedition outfitted by Eddie Bauer that marked the first American summit of the mountain by Jim Whittaker and his Sherpa partner, Nawang Gombu, and later by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld via the West Ridge.
"Eddie Bauer has a rich history on Everest. We are proud to be a part of the Everest story once again as Melissa captures another historical first on the mountain," said CEO Mike Egeck. "Melissa is an experienced, professional climber who possesses a tireless spirit of adventure that inspires us all, and her achievement and actions on Everest will undoubtedly be remembered for generations to come."
Since the first recorded summit by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, more than 3,600 climbers have stood on the world's highest peak, 335 of whom have been women. Recently, Arnot was asked if she feels a responsibility to inspire other female climbers. She responded, "I am humbled by the climbers that came before me and proud to be a part of the ongoing evolution of mountaineering. I would be proud to inspire any climber, man or woman to push their own limits in the mountains. The mountain does not know your gender."
This week's summit is the most recent addition to Arnot's notable mountaineering and guiding resume. She has been a part of four expeditions to Cotopaxi, four to Aconcagua, three to Cayambe and has summited Rainier 87 times. She is also an active member of the Eddie Bauer first ascent guide team, helping to design and test expedition-level gear and outerwear.
Climbing and guiding also serve as a form of philanthropic outreach for Arnot. In 2008, she summited Mt. Everest as part of Team Inspi(RED) to promote HIV/AIDS awareness in Africa. She has also guided two celebrity Summit on the Summit climbs to Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for clean water access. Most recently, she and fellow climber David Morton launched the Juniper Fund, a nonprofit to provide insurance and financial support for mountain workers.
In a post the week before leaving for Nepal this year, Arnot stated, "Every trip I get to go on, I'm thankful. I'm so appreciative that my job with Eddie Bauer allows me to travel the world and interact with other cultures. I wouldn't trade it for anything at all. If I could create my perfect reality, this would be it, and in some ways I guess that I have created it."
Established in 1920 in Seattle, Eddie Bauer is a specialty retailer that sells sportswear, outerwear, gear and accessories for the active outdoor lifestyle. Eddie Bauer products are available at approximately 400 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Japan through catalog sales and online.