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A Core Value for Klättermusen

How long-term thinking shaped Klättermusen’s unique approach

Like many other undertakings we started with something small and simple. Something that appeared small and simple at first.

Cursing a broken gaiter in a snow storm during an ascent lead to a decision with far-reaching consequences. Rather than performing a make-shift repair, legendary mountaineer Peter Askulv sat down to analyze his broken gaiter and think about how he could prevent the same problem from occurring again. It was obvious that the gaiter was result of a sad blend of desktop engineering, lack of insight into Scandinavian conditions and not cheap but reasonable material choices. The gaiter simply wasn’t particularly fit for the use he put it to. The next step was to ask what would my ideal gaiter look like?

Over time a new gaiter took shape. Asking fellow mountaineers, spelunkers and outdoor enthusiasts for advice, Peter took all those insights into account as he created a new gaiter. This was a gaiter fit for the Scandinavian rocky terrain which slowly chipped away at all materials it touched. Fit for the driving snow that would jam itself into every crevice before freezing into a solid block of ice. It wasn’t perfect but a very promising start, and instantly superior to what Peter and his friends had been using to that point.

Peter Askulv
Ca 1987
Field trials

The gaiter design was shared among the friends forming a tightly-knit community of outdoor enthusiasts. Physically making the gaiter was an individual effort which raised other issues regarding materials and assembly. What was obvious was that Peter had managed to distill a lot of ideas, experiences and ambitions into something functional and durable that actually could be built using very limited resources. What else could be improved the same way?

In hindsight it’s obvious that durability was our core value and commitment, but that’s not where we started from. We began by making improvements, to everything.

As the first Klättermusen designs took shape some common ideas emerged. Three key concepts emerged. Constructions could be improved. Materials could be improved. Equipment could be durable and sustainable.

In hindsight it’s obvious that durability was our core value and commitment, but that’s not where we started from. We began by making improvements, to everything.

The machinist has tools, the mountaineer has equipment. Klättermusen would be an equipment maker.

Durable equipment was more than a necessity in an environment where equipment failure could turn an exciting challenge into immediate danger. Durable equipment needs to be serviceable when something breaks or wears out. When durable equipment is serviceable it gains longevity, it can be used until the material wears out. Durable equipment that has longevity doesn’t need to be replaced and can be sustainable, provided that the materials are sourced responsibly.

The goal was two-fold; creating equipment that was as durable as possible while making minimum impact on nature. The community, from which Klättermusen grew, shared these ideals and it formed a powerful statement which has powered Klättermusen for over 40 years now.

From humble beginnings in a co-op workshop Klättermusen has continuously struggled toward these goals. Constructions, materials and sustainability have all been tremendously improved on, as anyone owning a pair of 20-year-old Freke pants can attest to. Even though there is still room for improvement, Klättermusen is a lot closer today to our ideals of equipment that doesn’t wear out created from sustainable sources.

Field trials
Ca 1998