Moment in Climb

If climbing in the 50’s was the origin story of a nascent sport, the 80-90’s were its coming of age. Throughout, ragtag groups of diehards blazed new trails against a backdrop of colorful characters and dramatic natural vistas; creating techniques and tall tales as they went. Much of the gear too was improvised. Without widespread resources, many of those early pioneers cooked up their own solutions—garage scientists tinkering to forward their passion.  

Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard were a couple of those diehards whose lives revolved around on-sights and red points. The two Canadians joined forces in 1991 with little else than a few sewing machines, a meticulous attention to detail, and an unrelenting drive for perfection. And that’s how Arc’teryx began, in the basement of a Vancouver suburb. 

A seminal moment for our brand, and the sport, was the release of Vapor technology. When it hit the market—transcending a traditional construction in favor a thermo-formed anatomically shaped three dimensional harness—everything changed. Reviews poured in. Word began to spread.  Our brand grew as climbing did. You are what you love. And we’re a brand born from a climber’s pursuit of perfection.

Just a few kilometers away from the current Arc’teryx HQ in North Vancouver, another icon was being born. Alannah Yip started climbing at the ripe age of six, and competing at ten. By the time she was twelve years old she’d won her first national title. Since then she’s climbed all over the globe—leaving a trail of first ascents and international trophies from South Africa to Switzerland in her wake. A mechanical engineer with a penchant for last minute heroics and gobbling up 5.14’s like candy, Alannah is poised to reach new heights on the world stage.

One of the biggest joys for us has been our partnership with Alannah. We’ve learned from her inspiring journey as both a climber and person. On the product side, her insights have helped us push the boundaries of performance. She’s become a fixture at our design center Arc One, most recently collaborating with our team on the creation of the National Team uniforms. After all, we began as—and are ever—a brand made for climbers, by climbers.

And now all those roads converge, in this moment. The evolution of this unique sport. The vision of two relentless dreamers. The joy, grit and extraordinary skill of a Canadian climbing phenom. They somehow all meet—to get their time in the sun, and to share this thing of ours with the world. From Vancouver to the global stage. Who would’ve thought?