GEORGE LAMB is the man behind all three companies. He is seen here in a July, 2008 picture taken by John Rutkowski; the occasion was a conference about the classic gear companies held in Boulder, Colorado on July 18-19 (more material about this important conference will be included later, some on this page, some on the pages about others relevant companies that were represented, such as Holubar, Frostline, GERRY, Forrest, Neptune Mountaineering, etc..
Mr. Lamb was a gear pioneer who did work for several of the early pioneering companies from the Boulder area. References put him connected with GERRY and Holubar, and also with Wiggys (a company still existing that is one of the world's largest sleeping bag manufacturers)....Like the founders of most of the other Boulder pioneering companies, Mr. Lamb was a climber in his own right; one of his most memorable ascents was a first ascent of the Pigeon in the Bugaboo Mountains of Canada.
Please Note: All Material on this page, and in all my "History of Gear" webpages, is copyrighted, and no usage of my material is permitted unless explicit permission is granted by me, Bruce B. Johnson, owner of OregonPhotos.com. Some of the material below is derived from interviews and/or correspondence with George Lamb, founder of all three companies. Other of this material is from Gerry Cunningham, from some ex-Holubar employees, and from Mr. Jerry Wigutow of Wiggys...... Editors: Please contact me at oldgear@Oregonphotos.com --if you have interest in publishing....Others: if you were involved with one of the old-line, vintage gear companies and have a story to tell in these pages, please contact me soon.
Alp Sport was the first of the companies Mr. Lamb created, and that was in about 1960. At the time he was a poor college student with his first child, living in a mobile home. He had formerly worked for Gerry Cunningham as Mr. Cunningham's "Factory Manager." After several years of success with Alp Sport, there was a kind of re-naming of Alp Sport into "Alpine Designs." After the sale of Alpine Designs to a corporation called General Recreation, Inc. of Ithaca, New York, Mr. Lamb rested for a moment and then created his final company, Camp 7, in the very early 1970s....During this time frame, Holubar's leader, Jim Kack, built a new manufacturing plant right next to the existing Alp Sport plant and some interesting stories resulted. The Alp Sport label picture is compliments James A.
In my conversations with Mr. Lamb, he is especially proud of the sleeping bag designs he created, "We made the best-designed down bag in the business, the most creative, the most functional." Mr. Lamb is still alive and living in Colorado, although he reports he has been disconnected from the outdoor gear industry for some 15 years....On a related note, some of Mr. Lamb's designs live on. Mr. Jerry Wigutow, owner and founder of "Wiggys" reported to me that many of his sleeping bag designs are to be directly credited to Mr. Lamb, upon whom Mr. Wigutow heaps praise, "George was the most creative designer the industry ever saw." In relation to Wiggys "Antarctic Parka," Mr. Wigutow adds, "It's George's pattern, I purchased it from him." ....During the mid-late 1970s, Camp 7's very innovative modular sleeping bag system was adopted by Idaho-based Rivendell Mountain Works. George Lamb of course was the original designer behind it. "The System" was composed of an inner down mummy bag named the "Arete, " weight 2 lbs. 5 oz; a removeable vapor barrier liner, and a Polarguard synthetic overbag named the "Pioneer." Any of the three components could be used separately, ie. as a summer bag, ie. as an emergency bivouac sack, etc.....There was no Goretex because The System predates the introduction of Goretex.
Camp 7 was Mr. Lamb's last outdoor gear company. It was begun about 1971. Not too many years later, Mr. Lamb sold all his products and designs to a business named The Sport Chalet in California.. Mr. Lamb himself went on to own a Western tack store based in nearby Longmont called "The Horse of Course." A modern gear company having the name "Camp 7" has no connection with the original Camp 7....
Some of my correspondents now report that the brand "Alpine Designs" can still be found, but the truth seems to be that the high-quality specialness of the brand gradually faded away after it left the hands of George Lamb and went through a variety of later ownerships; eg. the 1976 catalog image to the left proudly sports the Alpine Designs logo, but George Lamb had sold the company several years earlier and the product line and designing no longer had his guidance.
Remarkably different has been the business course of the small custom gearmaker Stephenson's Warmlite, which has survived, and never changed its name or ownership in 40+ years of doing business!
HISTORY OF GEAR BOOKS!
MY BOOK ABOUT FROSTLINE KITS CONTAINS A GOOD DEAL OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND NEW PHOTOGRAPHY. PLEASE VISIT MY FROSTLINE PAGE IF INTERESTED. NEAR THE TOP OF THAT PAGE YOU WILL SEE A "BANNER" THAT YOU CLICK ON TO GET TO MY PUBLISHER....My second book in the History of Gear series tells the story the story of GERRY Mountain Sports, and is titled "GERRY, To Live in the Mountains." It was released May 20, 2008. The third book in the series reveals the life and times of Roy and Alice Holubar, and is titled "Holubar Mountaineering Ltd." The writing of the Holubar book had lots of help from its ex-President Jim Kack, from Roy and Alice's daughter, and also from numerous other ex-Holubar staff.