In 1966, outdoor wear as we know it didn't...
...really exist. Then Berghaus came along. This high-quality, innovative clothing range, inspired by what climbers actually wanted and needed. The name Berghaus is a literal translation of the German for mountain house
Berghaus was the first UK retailer to import and stock the legendary SCARPA walking boots.
Rucksacks were once bulky, uncomfortable pieces of equipment that hindered, not enhanced the climbing experience. Berghaus soon changed that.
As experienced climbers, the Berghaus founders knew there was a market for rucksacks that helped distribute load more effectively. And so, from the new Berghaus factory in Washington UK, they set about manufacturing them.
The first Berghaus rucksacks, which included the Berg 172 and Berg 272 models, had external frames and basic single compartments. These more traditional sacs were followed two years later in 1972 by the truly revolutionary Cyclops rucksack arguably the worlds first rucksack with an internal frame.
The Cyclops internal frame and extra padding made for a much more comfortable and climber-friendly rucksack, and helped it become one of the most popular rucksacks of all time. In fact, a version of the Cyclops the Cyclops III still features in todays Extrem range of rucksacks.
GORE-TEX® and Yeti® Gaiters set the benchmark for innovative outdoor performance wear. Trust Berghaus to bring them to you first.
The late 70's saw continued innovation in outdoor clothing technology. Naturally, Berghaus was at the very forefront of this. Not least in 1977 with the introduction of the new waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® fabric into some of its products, the first European brand to do so.
This was followed in 1979 by the development of the unique Yeti® Gaiter, universally recognised as offering the highest level of foot and leg protection available. In fact, its still regarded today as being one of the most significant developments in outdoor clothing.
Meanwhile, Berghaus continued to make inroads into Europe by exporting selected products to countries along the famous alpine Haute Route.
Sir Chris Bonington, soon to become the face of Berghaus, and Doug Scott overcome broken legs and smashed ribs to scale the formidable Ogre in 1977 a climb that the pair will never forget. It would take 24 years and 25 failed attempts before anyone reached the summit of The Ogre again.
The world of outdoor wear was changing. And Berghaus was leading the way.
The early 1980s saw Berghaus supplying product to expeditions around the world and introducing a new concept in outdoor wear. The Gemini a forerunner of the InterActive system in use today was the first time a walking jacket had been designed with a zip-in fleece, changing the way people thought about outdoor clothing.
It was also around this time that the original A.B. (Adjustable Back) Carrying System and Occipital Cavity technology were introduced, and the Dart rucsac made its first appearance. All innovations that helped cement Berghaus reputation as a leader not just in rucksacks, but in outdoor performance products as a whole.
It was in the early 1980's that one of the worlds greatest adventurers, Sir Chris Bonington, officially wore Berghaus. And in 1985, wearing Berghaus, he climbed Everest for the first time. It was also around this time that Alan Hinkes who would go on to become the UKs most successful extreme altitude mountaineer began working with the company.
Exploring new territories and developing a clothing range that helped climbers do the same, Berghaus continued to lead where others followed in the late 80's.
Already trusted by the most serious of mountaineers, Berghaus created a range specifically for the more extreme adventurer. The appropriately named Extrem range was launched in 1986 and included the Trango Jacket, which became an almost instant classic.
Another innovation, the Attak sole unit, was introduced the following year and exported around the world. Meanwhile, Berghaus reputation as a global brand was further enhanced with the receipt of the Queens Award for Export in 1988 and the Northern Business Award for Exporter of the Year.
Closer to home, Berghaus, one of the first companies to develop outdoor gear specifically for women, began working closely with leading female climbers, mountaineers and adventurers to create performance gear that met the needs of women. This included the hugely popular Lady Pulsar Rucksack.
In 1990, Berghaus, in collaboration with W.L. Gore Associates, launched GORE-TEX® Dry Socks footwear lining, helping put an end to damp feet and creating a product that endures to this day.
Evocative advertising and new ownership defined Berghaus in the early 90's.
A new decade and Berghaus continued to innovate, not least in their advertising. The adventurous, product-led ads included the now iconic 'cut-in-half man' ad of 1993, which told the story of Berghaus layering systems.
Layering has always been central to Berghaus approach, and they could be said to have pioneered the idea of 'layering systems' products designed to work in synch with other items of clothing to give optimum protection and comfort . As ever, where Berghaus led other outdoor companies followed and layering systems are now a part of every outdoor brands offer.
1993 saw another significant development in Berghaus history. Pentland Group PLC, already home to leading sports brands Speedo and Ellesse, acquired Berghaus, making it one of the best-resourced outdoor performance companies in the world.
The early 90s also saw Berghaus turn its attention to footwear, launching its very first footwear collection. The collection included the Storm boot; at the time, considered to be the definitive three season fabric hiking boot.
And rucksacks werent forgotten either the FGA adjustable Rucksack System was developed in 1993.
In 1995, Berghaus adapted its Extrem range to ensure that all features, such as zips and toggles, could be adjusted with one gloved hand . A simple innovation but an important one, particularly when youre 3000ft up.
As a new century approached Berghaus remained as future-focused as ever. The introduction of the Berghaus Simplex concept in 1997 was an example of forward thinking at its very best.
The idea was that by minimising the layers of fabric in a garment and getting rid of any unnecessary styling, you achieve a more breathable, lightweight product perfect for more energetic activities. And it worked.
1999 saw the introduction of the lightest, most packable outerwear available GORE-TEX® Paclite®. The highly waterproof, windproof and breathable range of clothing became an instant hit.
The Nitro rucksack, introduced in 1998, with its ultra-modern styling, and unique Limpet carrying and compression system was unlike any other rucksack that came before it. And it wasnt just within the outdoor community that it caused a stir. The Design Council of Great Britain was so impressed with the Nitros groundbreaking design that it awarded it the Millennium Product Award .
Notable climbs Alex Huber completes the first ever climb of the North America wall on El Capitan and names it El Nino. Shortly afterwards, the 18 year old Leo Houlding who would later become a key part of the Berghaus team makes the second ascent.