Our Heritage

About Us

Every product stitched with a Mountain Designs label has been designed with the quality and functionality required to take on the world's biggest adventure playground – the outdoors. This is paramount to who we are and embedded in our DNA. It stemmed from when founder Rick White started crafting purpose-made adventure gear for his customers in the early 70s, and continues to be at the core of our operations today.

Because like you, we live and breathe adventure. And like you, we hike, we climb, we camp, we explore, we dare. We know how essential the performance of our product is to the adventure. So by combining that real, hands-on experience with a dedicated focus on functionality, we are more committed than ever to outfitting you in the highest quality products so you can keep the adventure going.

In 2018, Mountain Designs was acquired by Spotlight Group Holdings, becoming part of one of Australia’s largest retail families. With over 7500 team members across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, SGH is famous for the Spotlight and Anaconda brands. Launching its first collection under SGH’s umbrella in Winter 2019, Mountain Designs enters a new chapter with renewed passion for adventure through the best possible quality product. 


Our Founder

For Rick White, founder of Mountain Designs, life was about adventure, getting outdoors and exploring everything the world had to offer.

His passion was climbing and in the late 1960s, Rick’s name became synonymous with daring – almost crazy – ascents of various Australian climbs, particularly in the south-east of Queensland.

With an ambitious desire to push the limits, he soon began venturing into the unknown and forging new routes, inspiring a cohort of local climbers along the way.

This helped establish the sport within the domestic climbing community and put Australia on the map globally.

Rick was indeed a visionary and a pioneer, and in 1975 following a bold attempt to climb Mt Fitz Roy in Patagonia, he dreamed up and began operating a climbing equipment business that would later become known as Mountain Designs.

Company History

As a young man, Australian climber Rick White had a dream – to provide quality goods to adventurers like himself. In 1975, following an epic attempt to scale Mt Fitz Roy in the Patagonian Andes in South America, Rick was inspired to realise that dream and launch the company now known as Mountain Designs.

Starting as a specialist climbing retailer and operating as just one man out of a suitcase kept under a sofa, he spent many years growing the business in Brisbane. But his visionary spirit and passion for quality, functional goods was soon matched by an increasing interest in the international mountaineering and rock climbing scene that escalated throughout the late 1970’s.

Enter the 1980's and the demand for Mountain Designs products had now grown rapidly, spurred on by the daring attitude of 'antipodeans' seeking worldly challenges in far-off places. Through this era, Mountain Designs was also supporting many professional explorers and mountaineers and sponsored a number of incredible overseas expeditions and Australian adventuring firsts. At the same time, Mountain Designs was introducing to the world a number of product design innovations that would be adopted by rival brands over the next decade.

Business growth continued through the 90’s and 00’s and at one point the company was operating over 45 stores across Australia and New Zealand. Sadly in 2004, Rick succumbed to cancer, but in true adventurer spirit the brand lived on, as did Rick’s ‘heritage born of the mountains’ philosophy, to this very day.

Timeline & Achievements

Like any great adventure, the Mountain Designs story is one of exciting twists and turns, daring firsts and epic achievements over nearly half a century.



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