Outdoor Research founder Ron Gregg was a nuclear physicist who spent as much time as possible exploring the edges of the map. He referred to the outdoors as The Big Office, taking his work and research into the backcountry as often as possible.
In 1980, Ron watched his frostbitten partner get airlifted off a glacier on Denali. He’d spent months planning a new route in the purest style, skiing 100 miles from the road to the base of the climb. Halfway to the summit, their trip ended with the failure of a simple pair of gaiters. Stubborn to the end, Ron refused a seat on the helicopter and descended alone for two weeks, pondering what had happened.
Somewhere along the way he realized he could fix the gear problem and devote his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. By the end, he knew one thing for sure: He wasn’t going back to his old job.
Back in Seattle, Ron reacted by searching for a solution to keep this situation from happening in the future. The result was a functional, insulated gaiter, the X-Gaiter™, which held snug and was versatile enough to fit a variety of boots. From this original inspiration and its resultant innovation, Outdoor Research was founded the following year.
Outdoor Research was born from Ron’s research-led approach to problem solving. He believed that the Research Method could be applied to solve the outdoor’s biggest challenges. Today, we carry that ethos forward.