Ed and Lois Jackson with Mount Whitney in the distance

Ed and Lois Jackson with Mount Whitney in the distance

A partially paralysed athlete is aiming to climb one of North America’s highest peaks, with a Christmas tree on his back.

Former professional rugby player Ed Jackson is hoping to complete his climb of Mount Whitney on Thursday.

He sustained spinal injuries in 2017 and is now a partial quadriplegic, with limited movement and feeling in his limbs.

Jackson is being accompanied on his quest by his wife Lois and climber Ross Stirling. The trio are raising cash for the Millimetres 2 Mountains Foundation charity founded by Ed Jackson.

His latest festive adventure follows last year’s challenge when he carried a Christmas tree to the top of some of Britain’s highest mountains.

He and his team have set their sights higher this year, with the goal of summiting the 4,421m (14,505ft) peak in the Sierra Nevada – the highest in the contiguous United States.

Jackson has worked closely with outdoor brand Berghaus, which has made bespoke adaptations to its high-performance kit that allow him to attempt ever more difficult terrain, despite his profound spinal injuries. He and Stirling will also use a specially altered rucksack that will allow them to climb while carrying the Christmas tree.

M2M recently launched Together Outdoors, a programme to help people who have experienced physical or mental trauma to get active in the outdoors. Money raised by the trio 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: “Last year’s challenge pushed me to my limit but, 12 months on, I have learnt so much more about how high and hard I can climb, despite my quadriplegia.

“Ross and I are very aware that Mount Whitney is over four times the elevation of the mountains that we carried the Christmas tree up in 2021, so we know this is going to be a really tough trip, but we’re well equipped and determined to succeed.

“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 via their justgiving page.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Ed Jackson, the ‘lucky’ quadriplegic who discovered alpine mountaineering
  2. Adventurer Phoebe Smith gives up Christmas to sleep on Three Peaks for charity
  3. Festive greetings to all our readers from the grough team
  4. Mountain experts recommend items for outdoor fans’ Santa’s list