In April 1971, University of California Santa Cruz students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were in Alaska's Juneau Icefield on a school Glaciology project. It was there on a glacier that the idea of a Marmot Club began. The name 'Marmot' refers to a group of highly social, large ground squirrels that live in mountainous areas.
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 a collegiate fascination for bodily functions.
Throughout that summer and over the next two years, Eric and Dave also began making prototypes of down products in their dorm room. 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.