Carsten von Birckhahn, the CEO and brand manager of Edelrid, died Saturday in a paragliding accident.
Von Birckhahn was a “pioneer and a hands-on man, a mountain enthusiast and a gear innovator, according to a press release from Edelrid on Wednesday.
He died after a crash landing while paragliding in Val di Mello in northern Italy.
Von Birckhahn developed new rope braiding techniques and led Edelrid to more sustainable production.
"He thought beyond the boundaries of existing business fields and developed opportunities, built up Edelrid North America, brought Tommy Caldwell to Edelrid, expanded the OEM sector, and oversaw the introduction of the latest member of the Edelrid family, Red Chili," the company wrote in a statement. "Carsten lived and loved mountain sports, at work as well as in the mountains."
Von Birkhahn was 49.
Edelrid's statement about von Birckhahn's death detailed the influence he had over the company and its innovations in climbing gear:
He was a “pioneer” and a “hands-on man”, “a mountain enthusiast” and a “gear innovator”. He made his vision–making the world safer and simpler for mountain sports enthusiasts–the mission for a whole company. EDELRID is grieving for its Brand Manager, Board Member and friend Carsten von Birckhahn.
Thanks to his innovative drive, his tireless commitment, his experience and great love for mountain sports, EDELRID is today one of the most successful mountain sports brands on the market.Carsten had deep roots and extensive connections in the outdoor industry, as Brand Manager he was the driving force behind numerous innovations over the past ten years. He was a passionate climber and mountain sports enthusiast with a fantastic overview of the industry and the innovations born at EDELRID. He was an expert strategist with an eye for economic efficiency and finding the best product solutions.
Carsten developed new braiding techniques and continually improved them down to the smallest detail. He moved forward sustainable production and brand development and was able to establish pioneering partnerships. He thought beyond the boundaries of existing business fields and developed opportunities, built up EDELRID North America, brought Tommy Caldwell to EDELRID, expanded the OEM sector and oversaw the introduction of the latest member of the EDELRID family “RED CHILI”.Carsten lived and loved mountain sports–at work as well as in the mountains. In addition to regular climbing expeditions in his native Patagonia, he would recharge his batteries in Val di Mello and had a genuine thirst for action and adventure.
On Saturday, 15 July 2017, he suffered a fatal paragliding accident on the landing approach after spending two days with his family at the Manzi bivouac in Val di Mello.With profound sadness, we mourn for and pay our respects to our colleague and friend Carsten von Birckhahn, who has inspired us and shaped everything we have done for so many years, and who was leading us forward to a promising future.
His vision of a new world of mountain sports will continue to live on in every one of us; also, through our new colleague, Thomas Hodel, who Carsten introduced to the company as a driving force in the brand management.We are grateful for the time we were able to spend with him. Our thoughts are with his family, who we wish every strength for the time ahead.