One of Britain’s top adventure climbers, Leo Houlding, is about to embark on one of his most ambitious and complex expeditions yet, in partnership with Berghaus.
The 37-year-old adventurer will lead a team on a three-phase trip to Antarctica, with the aim of not only climbing a new route on one of the most remote mountains on the planet – the Spectre – but also completing an entire crossing of the continent.
The international team, which includes French Alpinist Jean Burgun and New Zealander photographer/filmmaker Marc Sedon, will leave the UK on 7 November, on the first stage of their expedition to climb the 750m tall buttress of the 2,020m high Spectre.
The trip is expected to last around 70 days, and has been described by British mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington as “pushing the limits of Alpine style exploration”. Not only is each individual phase – the journey, the climb and the journey out – a huge challenge in itself, but consists of 2,000km covered by ski and snow-kite alone.
During the trip, Houlding, Burgun and Sedon will have to operate in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius, and in winds of up to 80 knots, while at times hauling loads of 200kg. And of course, weight must be kept to an absolute minimum without compromising durability.
So, for over a year, Houlding has been working closely with the product team at Berghaus to develop clothing and equipment that is capable of performing at these extremes of temperature and conditions.
In March 2017, members of Berghaus’ MtnHaus innovation team joined Leo and Jean on a training trip to Norway, where they tested prototypes of highly specialist garments that will now be used during the Spectre expedition.
The concepts, designs and technologies used in the products will feature in Berghaus’ winter 2018 range.
Leo Houlding recently became a trustee of the Outward Bound Trust, a charity dedicated for 75 years to enabling access to outdoor adventure for young people from all social backgrounds. Houlding hopes to use the Spectre expedition, his first major trip since becoming a trustee, to help raise the profile the Outward Bound Trust and its valuable work. Berghaus is a strategic partner of the trust and supports its role in encouraging more people to get out more, as part of the company’s wider efforts to redefine modern exploration and adventure.
Leo Houlding says, “The Spectre expedition represents the very cutting edge of extreme adventure for an elite and highly experienced crew. However, there is equal, if not more, value in the more accessible adventure Outward Bound introduces to thousands of young people every year. Adventure is a relative term – I have no doubt that the youngsters who enjoy Outward Bound courses find them every bit as exciting, nerve wracking and fulfilling as we will on the Spectre expedition.”
For social media updates during the expedition, find Berghaus and Leo Houlding on Facebook, and follow: