Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 13

1980s

Outdoor Retailer 35th Anniversary
prop plane to Luxemburg, buy a used Toyota
Corolla station wagon and drive to Nepal to
have a look at Everest, including stops along the
way to climb in the Alps. I also had to register
for the Draft before I turned 18," says Thomsen.
The 10,000-mile drive overland proved to
be a long haul. The pair had a number of close
calls and serious problems. "At one point, my
parents were notified by the State Department
of some trouble we had gotten ourselves into in
Afghanistan and my father had to get his globe
out to find out where Afghanistan actually was
located. I think he was kind of shocked to see
how far away from home I had traveled."
"Mt. Everest was much bigger than any of us
had expected," says Thomsen. "We did some
climbing, but quickly realized we weren't prepared." They didn't summit, but the adventure
reinforced Thomsen's interest in outdoor gear.
Upon his return to the U.S., Thomsen started
guiding. "After returning from Nepal, my brother, Jim, asked me to work with him as a co-manager of The Mountaineer, a two-store chain of
outdoor specialty and ski specialty brands," he
says. "We became 50 percent owners and focused all of the resources on specialty outdoor
and mountaineering products under the name,
The Mountain Store."
Jim Thomsen and his wife, Laurie, also operated a guide company called Wilderness
Experience. It was set up to take underprivileged kids into the wilderness on backpacking
and mountaineering trips. They ran ski touring trips and basic climbing classes for clients
and also for retailers such as Sport Chalet. They
hired Greg to guide the more technical mountaineering trips and teach rock climbing.
"I felt at the time that I had a lot of experience
from Yosemite to the Himalayas, but I really
didn't know much about guiding and teaching
classes. But I really loved it and the money was
not bad so I learned pretty fast," says Thomsen.
He took his job very seriously and studied guiding techniques and best practices. "I was working for The Mountain Store and guiding at the
same time, so I was living pretty well for a young
climber. I was working seven days a week but it
felt like fun and I enjoyed teaching."

LEGENDARY CLIMBER AND WRITER JOHN
Long has been friends with Thomsen for nearly
four decades. "The thing about Greg Thomsen
is that he grew up bouldering at Stoney Point

and climbing in Yosemite and went on some of
the first gonzo-style expeditions to Asia," says
Long. "So he isn't some number cruncher who
thieved his way into the adventure world, but an
adventure person who incidentally is a business
man. Under his watch and sponsorship, some
of the most significant happenings in adventure
sports have come down over the last few years.
Everyone loves a great product, but only a 'lifer'
in the adventure world likes to see just how creative people can be outside the arena, where the
legends are made. If it sounds exciting, original
and historic, Greg Thomsen is always all in."
In addition to bringing in the Wilderness
Experience clients to the store to be outfitted,
the family-operated business began to manufacture some of the basic products for the store,
like stuff sacks, gaiters and ponchos. About that
time, they met a major character in the outdoor
industry who had just started a new company
called Class 5.
"Justus Bauschinger was the single biggest
influence in my life up to that point in time," says

to her death. "It was beyond traumatic," says
Thomsen. He and his brother lost interest in
working with partners, guiding adventures and
retail. In the wake of Laurie's death, they went
full time into making their own products under
the Wilderness Experience brand.
The brothers eventually made packs, sleeping bags, outerwear, ski apparel, tents and travel luggage. They had three domestic factories
and were one of the first U.S. outdoor brands to
start sourcing in Asia. Wilderness Experience
was the first outdoor company to go public and
be traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
"I met Greg and his brother Jim in 1977 when
I started working for an outdoor reps association," says Jim Donini, climbing hero and former director of the Access Fund. "I had been
working as a climbing guide, but after marriage
and with a child on the way, I needed a better
flow of income and what could be better than
selling the very products I used for my climbs
to outdoor shops? Greg and I had an immediate simpatico. His climbing background and

"Everyone loves a great product, but only
a 'lifer' in the adventure world likes to see
just how creative people can be outside
the arena, where the legends are made.
If it sounds exciting, original and historic,
Greg Thomsen is always all in."
Thomsen. "He was charismatic, wildly clever
and a genius designer. I idolized him. He helped
us buy our first industrial sewing machines, a
415 Juki needle feed and a Juki walking foot machine for sewing leather and webbing."
The Thomsen brothers asked their best
friend, Diane Desmond, to help build some
products, and Justus offered to train and educate her up at his very cool factory in Berkeley,
California (she is the same Diane Kay who still
works with Thomsen today). "It was so much
fun," recounts Thomsen.
But then tragedy hit. While Thomsen and his
climbing partner, Lee Panza, were putting up
a new route on Mt. Dade, his best friend and
sister-in-law, Laurie Thomsen, came along to
solo an adjacent peak. On the decent she fell

high wattage personality were hard to resist,"
says Donini.
Thomsen considers his career path to be a
combination of luck, hard work, and the need
to survive. He discovered a real knack for design-he could easily visualize products, and
could basically trace what he saw in his head, cut
complicated patterns and sew them up. He was
a very serious user of outdoor products, having
climbed, guided, and worked retail for years.
Trade shows were always an important
part of Thomsen's marketing efforts, starting with the NSGA (National Sporting Goods
Association) shows in Chicago and the SIA/
Snow Show in Las Vegas. When the Outdoor
Industry broke away, and Steve Lewis and Jeff
Wetmore set up the Outdoor Retailer show,

35th Anniversary 2017 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - July 2017

OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
CONTENTS
CONTRIBUTORS
FIRST WORDS
THE TRIBE
GREG THOMSEN
YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
STEVE BARKER
THE SCENE
JEFF LOWE
PETER AND PATTY DUKE
BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
CARSON STANWOOD
CHAD GALLWITZ
JOHN MEAD
THE TORNADO
THE SCENE
SALLY MCCOY
JOHN STERLING
CASEY SHEAHAN
THE SCENE
MUSIC AND MEMORIES
PETER METCALF
SALLY JEWELL
CONRAD ANKER
JEN TAYLOR
DAN NORDSTROM
JEREMY COLLINS
JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
THE FUTURE
THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTRIBUTORS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - FIRST WORDS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TRIBE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - GREG THOMSEN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 14
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 18
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - STEVE BARKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 22
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEFF LOWE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER AND PATTY DUKE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CARSON STANWOOD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CHAD GALLWITZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN MEAD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TORNADO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 42
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 44
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 45
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 46
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 47
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY MCCOY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 49
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 50
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 51
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN STERLING
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 53
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CASEY SHEAHAN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 55
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 57
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 58
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 59
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - MUSIC AND MEMORIES
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 61
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 62
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 63
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 64
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 65
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER METCALF
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 67
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 68
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY JEWELL
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONRAD ANKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 71
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEN TAYLOR
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - DAN NORDSTROM
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEREMY COLLINS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE FUTURE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 77
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 78
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 79
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover4
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