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Quadriplegic Rugby Star Scales Thor Peak With Christmas Tree For Charity

A quadriplegic former rugby player from the UK has climbed a North American mountain, almost three times the height of Ben Nevis, to raise money for a spinal injuries charity. In his ‘Peaking for Christmas’ challenge, Ed Jackson and his friend Ross Stirling carried a Christmas tree to the summit of Thor Peak in California’s Sierra Nevada range in aid of the MILLIMETRES 2 MOUNTAINS FOUNDATION.

Their original plan had been to climb Mount Whitney but snow conditions on the mountain prevented them. Ed was accompanied by his wife Lois and mountain guides Kurt Wedberg and Trevor Anthes; they completed their climb on Thursday 22 December. He works closely with iconic British outdoor brand BERGHAUS which made bespoke adaptations to its high performance kit that allow him to attempt ever more difficult terrain despite his profound spinal injuries.

Ed Jackson was a rugby union professional when, in 2017, he fractured multiple vertebrae in his spine. Now a partial quadriplegic, Ed has become a successful outdoor adventurer and uses his challenges to raise money for the charity that he founded – the Millimetres 2 Mountains Foundation (M2M).

M2M recently launched ‘Together Outdoors’, a programme that helps people who have experienced physical or mental trauma to get active in the outdoors. Money raised by Ed, Ross and Lois through Peaking for Christmas will contribute to setting up, supporting and funding groups that deliver Together Outdoors activities in communities across the UK.

Ed Jackson said, “We’ve had a brutal, epic few days. I struggle to walk on level concrete at times, so to be able to summit a big mountain in winter is not something I really thought was possible, especially given that we had carried in all of our gear for four days camping while trudging through waist-deep snow. Oh, and there was the small matter of Ross having to carry a five foot Christmas tree as well.

“Although snow conditions and time didn’t allow us to reach our ultimate goal of Mount Whitney, it was an amazing experience and I’m so pleased that I got to share it with Lois and Ross, who defies physics at times. I’m hugely grateful to our guides Kurt and Trevor for even entertaining this crazy idea, to Berghaus for making it possible with some amazing kit and the special adaptations for me, and to everyone who has donated to our fundraising.

“I am living proof that being active in the outdoors is still possible for someone with a spinal injury, and of the huge physical and mental health benefits of that. By raising funds through this challenge, we can help Millimetres 2 Mountains support so many more people who are facing similar issues.”

Donations to Ed Jackson and Ross Stirling’s Peaking for Christmas fundraising can be made at

Main pic: l-r, Ed and Lois Jackson, Ross Stirling and guide Kurt Wedberg with their Christmas tree on the summit of Thor Peak

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