In April 1971, University of California Santa Cruz students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were in Alaska on the Juneau Icefields on a school project in Glaciology. It was here on the glacier, amongst these students, that the idea of a Marmot club began.
To become a Marmot, you had to climb a glaciated peak with another Marmot. One of the rules of the club was that everyone was president. Most of the other rules dealt with the collegiate fascination with bodily functions.
That summer and through the semesters until 1973, Eric and Dave made prototypes of down products in their dorm room in Santa Cruz. Their first products were a down vest, a sweater and a parka and, later, three down sleeping bags. The warmest bag, the PIKA (now known as the Cwm) was rated at -45 degrees F and retailed for $168.
Eric did a winter ascent of the Grand Teton in Wyoming with Tom Boyce of Grand Junction, Colorado in 1973. Eric and Dave joined Tom in Colorado that next Spring. There, the threesome rented a 100 year old stone building near downtown that used to be a grocery store, and opened a rental and retail shop under the name of Marmot Mountain Works. They taught cross-country skiing in the winter to get by. Thus, in the spring of 1974, Marmot the company was born.