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Outdoors brand launches accessible-for-all initiative

Ed Jackson climbing in the Swiss Alps thanks to Berghaus Adapts
(Image credit: Berghaus / In The Dark Productions)

A leading clothing and equipment brand has announced a new initiative that will make the outdoors more accessible for all.

Berghaus has worked with recovering quadriplegic Ed Jackson, a former professional rugby union player, to launch Berghaus Adapts.

The project hopes to demonstrate that with the right support, guidance and kit, any adventure is possible. 

The introduction of Berghaus Adapts follows a successful pilot project that saw Berghaus make a number of product adaptations for Ed’s recent expedition to the Alps with British rock climber Leo Houlding.

In 2017, Ed fractured multiple vertebrae in his spine. Doctors warned him that he may never walk again. Already a keen outdoor enthusiast, Ed has since confounded the experts and found a way to return to the mountains. 

Leo Houlding (left) and Ed Jackson in the Alps

Leo Houlding, left, and Ed Jackson in the Alps (Image credit: Berghaus / In The Dark Productions)

Leo Houlding and Ed Jackson during their 2021 expedition to the Alps

Leo Houlding and Ed Jackson during their 2021 expedition to the Alps  (Image credit: Berghaus / In The Dark Productions)

Berghaus supports Ed's climbing project

Ed has benefited from support by Berghaus and, this year, he set his sights on climbing two peaks,  Allalinhorn (4,027m) and Weissmies (4,017m), in Switzerland in 48 hours. He had guidance and assistance from fellow Berghaus athlete Leo. 

In preparation for the climb, Berghaus worked with Ed and made a number of kit adaptations to overcome some of his medical and mobility barriers, and to enable him to continue his adventures in the mountains. 

This was the first step for Berghaus Adapts and part of the brand’s long-term vision to ensure that its kit empowers everyone to access the outdoors. 

Berghaus developed bespoke solutions, including a system for Ed to access his catheter bag; a balancing system that includes a handle attached to Ed’s left knee so that it could be lifted by hand while climbing; and a system that allows Ed to better regulate his body when he over-heats. 

Ed said: “I never thought it would be possible to take on these sort of climbs and I know many others who face similar barriers to me would feel the same. 

“My goal for this expedition was to inspire others to get outdoors, to challenge themselves and to show that adventure can be accessible for everyone. 

“The trip has acted as the best proving ground for Berghaus’ adaptations as well as my capabilities, and, with Leo’s expertise and guidance, we have shown how, with the right equipment and support, two ends of the climbing spectrum can be in the mountains together.” 

To celebrate the completion of Allalinhorn and Weissmeis, Ed and Leo created a short film, which documents their journey before, during and after the climb. 

The film "A Different Approach" is being premiered during Kendal Mountain Festival this month.  

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.