EDELRID has been making climbing ropes for over 150 years. Founded in 1863 by Julius Edelmann and Carl Ridder, the company has been at the forefront of mountaineering ropes ever since.
Over the years, the company has pioneered numerous innovations that have made today’s ropes safer, more reliable, more wear-resistant and much thinner. Through the use of groundbreaking braiding techniques and advanced materials, EDELRID has contributed to making climbing a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and ability levels.
It has also responded to the rising popularity of new sports such as canyoning by developing new specialist products. “The advent of canyoning, which is a sport in which participants descend into water-filled gorges, negotiating natural obstacles using ropes and climbing gear, led us to develop a rope that would float on the water’s surface rather than sinking out of sight,” says CFO Markus Wanner. “Adventure sports are evolving all the time, and our product range keeps evolving to match.”
Since 2006, EDELRID has been part of the VAUDE Group, a German producer of mountain sports equipment. “We have been growing strongly since 2000, but since becoming part of VAUDE, we have enjoyed two-digit growth,” says Mr. Wanner. “We have become much more strategic in our approach due to this growth. A key tenet of our strategy is keeping production in Germany. Around 60% of the products that we sell are made in our own factory in Germany, Made in Germany is a recognized guarantee of quality, as is the name EDELRID,” says Mr. Wanner. “Of course, producing in Germany means that our products are not the cheapest in the market, but when it comes to safety, it pays to spend more for a product you know will perform.”
Although ropes are at the heart of EDELRID’s product range, the company also offers a full range of climbing and safety equipment including harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes, belay devices, carabiners, ice axes, crampons, backpacks, accessories and even cookware.
As well as serving the needs of sports climbers both indoors and outdoors, EDELRID also provides professional equipment for the people whose work means they must be secured against falling.
“The designs for all of our equipment are thoroughly tested before going into production,” says Mr. Wanner. “We also work together with some of the leading athletes from the climbing world who test our equipment in the most extreme conditions and feed back their opinions on its performance. Social media are another important tool, providing us with valuable input from people using our equipment in real situations.”
Exports account for 60% of sales, and the company’s markets are worldwide. “Our traditional markets are the Alpine regions of France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, but we also have a lot of indoor climbing customers in countries like the Netherlands and Belgium,” says Mr. Wanner. “The US is one of our biggest export markets, closely followed by Australia. But China, Japan and Korea are also important markets for our products.”
Turnover reached 25 million EUR in 2014, and continued growth is expected in the coming years. “We will continue to trade on our strengths of innovation and quality,” says Mr. Wanner. “We will be targeting further growth, but at a sustainable pace. Through our partnership with VAUDE, we have attained a critical size that will allow us to compete successfully in the market.”