Mountain gear hits lofty heights

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Climbing Mt. Everest or viewing wildlife, adventure travelers need equipment, and they can spend a pretty penny outfitting themselves.

For a consumer looking to equip himself from top to bottom, "figure on spending about $7,000 to $8,000 for basic personal gear and clothing," says Mike Phillips, art director for Mountain Gear, which sells high-end mountaineering, climbing and outdoor gear.

According to last month's Leisure Trends Group's report "Sport Purchases on the Internet," between December 1, 1999 and March 31, 2000, 7.1% of the U.S. population 16 and older made an online sports purchase, up from 4% in the previous four months. Of those, 13% spent $1,000 or more during a single transaction. Altrec.com is one gear company targeting consumers with enough disposable income to splurge on high-end items. Working with McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Seattle, the Web company places ads on America Online and ESPN.com, as well as in publications such as Outside and Men's Health.

MIXING GEAR AND ARRANGEMENTS

In another marketing effort, the company forged an exclusive arrangement in April with Virtuoso, formerly API Travel Consultants -- an online network of independent luxury travel agencies. Virtuoso suggests gear for its trips and sends users to Altrec.com for purchases, in exchange, Altrec.com users click on "Travel" to contact adventure experts at Virtuoso, which claims to book $2.5 billion in leisure travel every year.

"Collectively, we offer incredible options for the top adventure travel company brands, the top outdoor gear and apparel brands and unparalleled customer service and travel planning resources," says Altrec.com CEO Mike Morford.

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