In the early 2000s NW Alpine founder Bill Amos found himself dissatisfied with technical clothing options for alpine climbing. In an effort to appeal to the broader public, many outdoor companies were slowly turning away from the needs of their core audience and were becoming more fashion oriented. Bill envisioned a simple, functional and extremely durable apparel line for people who were really out there in the alpine. At the tail end of the 2008 recession Bill was inspired to realize his vision. He believed that the only way we would have a real economic recovery in the U.S. is if we started making things here again. There are not very many companies that make apparel in the U.S., and even fewer who make climbing specific apparel, but Bill thought there would be a lot of people who would support it.
From this spark of an idea, NW Alpine was launched in 2010. The founding mission of the company was to: make clothes for climbing that are simple, functional, light, and of the highest quality; support domestic manufacturing; and provide the best customer service.
2010 STARTING SMALL
We worked with independent designers and local contract manufacturers to produce our first small runs of minimal and tough-as-nails alpine gear, bringing Bill's vision to life.
2013 PUT TO THE TEST
NW Alpine Gear starts to make its way around the world getting put to the test by alpinists on first ascents.
An early iteration of the Eyebright jacket, along with the Fast/Light (now Wy'East softshell) are featured in a NW Alpine profile article by Gear Junkie.
"The gear has been through tough conditions such as the ascents of the Northwest Face of Mount Dickey and the 6,400-meter Hispar Sar in Pakistan." See Full Article
2014 KICHATNA APPAREL MANUFACTURING IS FOUNDED
One of the biggest hurdles we faced in the early years was getting our gear manufactured when our contractors focused on larger clients. In 2014 we made a big leap and bought out a contract sewing business in Newberg, Oregon. We started our own contract sewing company, Kichatna Apparel Manufacturing LLC, to ensure that we would have guaranteed access to manufacturing and to provide a domestic manufacturing alternative to other apparel companies.
2016 APPAREL GAINS RECOGNITION
We aren't making clothes to boost our ego but we are grateful that the apparel we invest our passion into is recognized for its quality.
The Black Spider Hoody named one of "The Only Winter Clothes You Need" - Outside Online See Full Article
"this is a killer climber’s piece." - Climbing Magazine See Full Article
Black Spider Hoody named one of Outside Online Gear Guy's all-time favorite base layers See Full Article
Our Belay Jacket: "Testers chose it again and again because of its warmth, toughness, and minimal packed size." - Climbing Magazine Read full review.
2017 CHANGE OF APPEARANCE + INNOVATION IN FABRIC
NW Alpine underwent a rebrand and the mountain logo was introduced.
The first iteration of our Spectra® shirts were introduced in late 2017 in collaboration with Honeywell, bringing apparel made with Spectra® fiber to the market for the first time.
2018 THE BIG MOVE + CUTTING EDGE JACKET
The biggest event of the year was moving in to our new factory outside of Salem, Oregon. We had finally grown too big for our old space in Newberg!
The Eyebright jacket wins a 2018 German Design Award Gold Medal for Excellent Product Design in the category of Sports, Outdoor Activities and Leisure.
"Reaping the benefits of Dyneema’s legendary strength-to-weight ratio, the Eyebright is 30 percent lighter than other jackets we tested. After a year of roughing it up, it has yet to show any signs of wear." - Outside Online
"NW Alpine took our favorite material and made a revolutionary jacket out of it." - Gear Patrol
2019 FORTIS LINE
Our Fortis Spectra® Hoody and Spectra® Rock Hoody are introduced.
2022 CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT
Today, NW Alpine is still going strong. We continue to grow year by year but we remain committed as ever to high quality outdoor apparel, domestic manufacturing, and our community.