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MSR

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About MSR
Larry Penberthy didn’t set out to create a highly successful outdoor equipment company, one that would revolutionize the way we experience the outdoors. An engineer, professional inventor, and lifelong mountaineer, he just wanted to make the backcountry safer. To that end he created in 1969 a newsletter committed to improving mountaineering safety by reporting on testing he did on mountaineering equipment. He called it Mountain Safety Research, or MSR.

Penberthy's goal was to make the best information and gear available to climbers, and if no one was making an item that was up to his standards, he'd come up with it himself. Many of the products were developed by Penberthy himself, usually as a response to real-world challenges he experienced as a climber. For example, his first product, the Thunderbird Ice Axe, was the first ice axe with an aluminum shaft, because Larry needed an ice axe that didn’t break the way wooden-shafted models did. Dehydration was a big problem for high-altitude mountaineers, so he created the Model 9 Stove, the world’s first remote-burner stove. It was designed to deal with dehydration by efficiently melting snow at high altitude.

As time went on, the MSR newsletter relied more and more on the sale of new, innovative mountaineering equipment, and it eventually evolved into the company we know today. Some notable early products were the MSR Climbing Helmet (which was adapted by MSR in 1974 to make one of the very first cycling helmets), the first jackets and parkas to incorporate “pit zips,” the first headlamps to run on lithium batteries, and the Coyote Snow Picket, a radically more effective snow anchor. The Denali snowshoe, introduced in 1995, was the first to feature injection-molded plastic decks, steel traction blades, and modular tails. 2004’s Hubba tents utilized an innovative design offering the ideal combination of light weight and liveability, making them the best-selling ultralight tents in the world.

Today, MSR offers a range of products for the serious backpacker and mountaineer, from tents and bivies to lightweight, portable stoves, camp cookwear, and water filtration and storage devices. MSR snowshoes are available for every kind of terrain and snow conditions, while its snow anchors enhance mountaineers’ safety. And while the company has changed hands, it is still carrying on Larry Penberthy’s crusade. It’s staffed by engineers, tinkers and passionate outdoor users who are driven by his dedication to designing high-quality products that offer greater performance, reliability and, therefore, safety in the backcountry.