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The World's Most Refined Mountaineering Equipment

Established in 1975 to combine utility and extreme durability with environmentally considerate designs and materials, Klättermusen supports outdoor enthusiasts through unforgiving weather and unpredictable situations. From frozen Arctic mountains to deep primeval forests, Klättermusen’s innovations have provided climbers, hikers and expeditions all over the world with maximum safety and comfort for more than 40 years. Their products help you go further, push harder and keep exploring. Rigorously tested in real-world conditions and constructed to last, Klättermusen’s products embody their commitment to creating the best and most sustainable equipment possible.  To better understand Klättermusen’s brand story, values and working practices, we spoke with company CEO Gonz Ferrero and Head of Product Development Isabelle Malm.

Please could you tell us a little about Klättermusen's history?

Gonz: Klättermusen was started by a group of young and idealistic mountaineers who, led by Peter Askulv, came together to make the best possible mountaineering equipment. During an era shaped by growing social and ecological awareness, they were determined to have well-considered design steer their business practices, and they wisely chose to stick with their principles even as Klättermusen grew in popularity. The combination of cutting-edge science, field experience, and sustainable production that guided the first prototypes is still applied today.

What brought you to Klättermusen?

Gonz: Whilst on a mountaineering expedition, I suddenly realised how extremely technical and research-intensive outdoor equipment has to be. What is perceived as a simple garment can have the equivalent technical know-how of an electronic device. As I researched the subject further, I, like many others, fell under the spell of Klättermusen: a small Swedish company quietly toiling away for 40 years, using cutting-edge science to create outdoor equipment of unparalleled durability with a minimal and sometimes even negative ecological footprint. The company founder was getting ready to move on from the business side of things, so I saw an opportunity to carry on this tremendous legacy and help create the change that I want to see in the world, particularly the business world.

Isabelle: I grew up in a world of handicrafts – everything from tie-dye with plants to pottery and wool tanning. This meant a lot of trial and error and experimenting with different approaches to find out what works best. Growing up this way fostered a curiosity in where materials come from and the process of refining them.

Klättermusen not only allows me to question the fundamentals of a product’s construction but actively encourages it – it’s our way of moving forward. Klättermusen’s practices have never been about checking boxes; instead, we create the best possible product in a sustainable way, which absolutely has been, and continues to be, about finding different and better ways of doing things.

Please could you tell us about the values of the brand and its strap-line “Maximum safety, minimum impact" in relation to product development?

Isabelle: Maximum safety has always been the default starting position for development. There is a lot of outdoor equipment that's made primarily for recreational purposes, but Klättermusen has continually developed equipment for active professionals and outdoorspeople. Our user-base reflects that commitment, which means that our equipment must be reliable in the most challenging situations.

“Impact” can and should be considered in several ways, from leaving nature as pristine as you found it, to the lifecycle of your equipment. We always try to look at the wider picture and address the entire lifecycle of our equipment to improve every stage of production, from sourcing materials to their refinement and assembly.

What ties together production and reliability, or impact and safety, is our commitment to durability. Equipment that is safe will be durable, and durable equipment will last longer, therefore, minimising the impact of production. We are as happy as our users when we see 20-year-old kit out in the field.

Gonz: We’ve made tremendous efforts and developed new methods to minimise our impact as much as possible. And by involving ourselves in the development of new fabrics and new industrial processes to make them more sustainable, we’ve been able to improve the performance of our fabrics far beyond what is readily available. Our drive toward sustainability has helped propel performance and durability in our products that would have been difficult or impossible to accomplish otherwise.

Could you tell us how you use post-consumer waste and pioneer new production processes?

Isabelle: Sourcing materials is an important part of sustainable production, and by using post-consumer waste we can help lessen the amount of waste sent to landfill. We use old fishnets and carpets as sources of polyamide, and PET bottles as sources for polyester – which are fairly well-known technologies. Perhaps less well-known is a process for recycling wool from old fabrics that creates a material that both looks and functions the same as virgin wool. These processes require more advanced methods than virgin materials, but they offer us opportunities to improve the performance of the fabrics when compared to off-the-shelf fabrics.

Who wears Klättermusen products?

Gonz: Our equipment is for everyone who appreciates and cares about nature. We have produced equipment that is still in everyday use after 20 years. We are proud makers of equipment that has a legacy and can be handed down from generation to generation. This means less production and less waste – which is good for everyone. Our sales help to finance new research and development of more sustainable and recycled materials with even better performance and durability. What I think is less well-understood is that by choosing to buy sustainable products, customers help move the industry toward sustainability; the industry isn’t really able to do it on its own.

What do you hope to see in the outdoor industry in the future?

Isabelle: The outdoor industry should be helping to change and reshape the entire garment industry. Outdoorspeople are more sensitive to sustainability issues in general, and the industry as a whole needs to work harder to use this as leverage to force much-needed changes. The move toward production completely free from all types of fluorocarbons has been a huge improvement, but there are still enormous legacy issues in the textile industry that are incredibly hard to transcend until there is industry-wide change.

What do you see for the future of Klättermusen and its products?

Gonz: The ambition of Klättermusen has remained the same for over 40 years: creating the most durable, reliable and sustainable equipment possible. What has changed is the growing appreciation among the public at large for the uncompromising ethos that has driven Klättermusen for all these years. Professional users have always appreciated the understated reliability and technical know-how of Klättermusen equipment. The scientific efforts made to push sustainability further in production have lent us a certain amount of respect among people who are actively involved in environmental and conservation efforts. These are very niche groups, and we are now trying to better communicate our philosophy to the public at large.

Isabelle: We look to the past to see our future. Our principles and ideas have proven themselves over time, and as the world is coming around to seeing things more like Klättermusen, we are ready to share the knowledge and wisdom we have gained over the years. One of our missions has always been to inspire others and show that it’s possible to do things in a different way. We hope to keep inspiring people to find better solutions, and one of our biggest challenges is how to educate people better about sustainability and make consumers more aware and conscious of these issues.

By sticking firmly to our principles, we have always persevered, even when it appears that everyone else is going in a different direction. So we intend to keep going our own way, making the best possible equipment we know how to.

Created in partnership with Klättermusen

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