Date of birth : 26/09/1974
Lives : Innsbrück, Austria
Finest achievement : “Zodiac” (650m, V, A3 5.9), El Capitan, Yosemite Valley.
Holder of a master’s degree in sports science and a state diploma in climbing, Gerhard lives for climbing. An Austrian national, he loves to travel and climb cliffs around the world. Eager to introduce people worldwide to climbing, and happy when opening new routes, he finds it personally rewarding to make new acquaintances.
The South Face, V 5.8 C1, 400m, Washington Column
West Face, V 5.7 C2F, 450m, Leaning Tower
Nose VI 5.9 C1, 1000m, El Cap
Salathe Wall VI 5.9 C2, 1050 m, El Cap
Zodiac VI 5.7 A3, 650m El Cap
The Prow, V 5.7 C2F, 450m, Washington Column
Free Rider VI 5.12d, 26 pitches free, 1050 m, El Cap
Lurking Fear VI 5.7 C2F, 650m, El Cap
In Gods Hand 8a,Maltatal, Austria
Alptraum des Chun Me 7c+, Maltatal, Austria (first ascent)
Power Hati 7c, Maltatal, Austria (first ascent)
Storm before the calm, 7c, Maltatal Austria (first ascent)
Hale Bob 7c-8a (depending on size), Isatis, Fontainebleau, France
…Countless problems up to 7b in Bishop / California, Hampi / India, Castle Hill / New Zealand, Grampians / Australia,…
Fratres 8b, Zigeunerloch, Austria (1st repetition) Stalker 8b, Zigeunerloch, Austria My small self (direct version) 8b, Maltatal, Austria (first ascent) Power Hati 8b, Maltatal, Austria (first ascent) Tantrum 8a+, Ton Sai, Thailand
approx. 150 sport routes in Maltatal, Austria
approx. 50 sport routes in Badami and Ramanagaram, Karnataka, India
approx. 20 sport routes in Roc, Istria, Croatia
approx. 100 boulders in Maltatal, Austria
Expeditions & trips
Raksha Urai Expedition 1996, Nepal,
Climb the world 1.0, September 2005 – November 2006: USA – India – Thailand – New Zealand – Australia – USA – Canada
Climb the world 2.0, September 2007 – December 2008: USA – India – Thailand – China - New Zealand – Australia – USA – Canada - Cuba
Miyar Valley Expedition 2011: First Ascent “Kurt Albert Peak” ca. 5.900m ( “Never ending story” 1.000m 5.9) , first ascent “Gou Gou Peak” ca. 5200m (Gou Gou Ridge 5.8), First Ascent “Gutzele Peak” 5.500m (S Ridge 5.9), Torro Peak 4.900m (first ascent “Best of both sides 350m, 5.9), 1st repetition “Trident Ridge” 5.9 R – Premsingh Peak 5.300m, Iris Peak 5.300m (1st ascent “West Ridge” 600m, 5.9), 1st repetition “Shangrila Ridge” 5.10d, R – Korklum Gou 5.615m;
What are your 3 most beautiful climbing routes you achieved?
There is so much good climbing out there, so it is impossible for me to answer this question properly. I can only give three examples of which routes have become the most beautiful to me. I can associate all of them with special memories.
First of all there is “Zodiac” 650m, V, A3 5.9 on El Cap in Yosemite. When I climbed this route I led all pitches but the two easiest ones. Doing the route it was the end of my 2 month stay in Yosemite and the end of a14 month around the world trip. Standing on the top, my knees got weak, I stated crying like a baby, because I realized that this is the end of my trip, what amazing journey was behind me, what I had accomplished and how much I was allowed to experience. It was the saddest happiest moment of my life.
Then there was an ascent I remember until today in Fontaineblau. After two days of trying I finally reached the hold on top of the huge dyno of “Hale Bob” FB 7c - 8a (depending on your size!). A few minutes before that moment my fingers were already bleeding and it started raining. So I packed my stuff and left. On my way to the car I met my friend Rok from Slovenia, and he urged me to go back, put an umbrella on the top, cleaned and dried the hold for me. When I rocked over on the top, we were dancing in the rain and shouting out loud. What a beautiful feeling.
And then there is a first ascent of a sport climb I bolted in my home area in Austria. It is called “Power Hati” and is graded 8b. It is a unique line, unclimbable if you took just one of all the holds away. It leads through the steepest section of a short overhang, with crazy moves. From the discovery of that line, to bolting it, checking the moves, doing special training to the moment of the ascent, I was allowed to develop, grow and fight an amazing battle with myself.
And although I should just mention my three most beautiful climbing routes, I need to add the ascent of the “Kurt Albert Peak” in the Indian Miyar Valley, which I did with my girlfriend. Doing the first ascent of this 5.900m high mountain via a 1000m ridge was just awesome!
Who do you enjoy climbing with?
With open minded people who share the same attitude, that climbing is a way of living, not just merely a sport.
The best memory you have about climbing?
Probably with my friend Jake from Boston, climbing in the Bugaboos in Canada. We had shitty weather, so we went to do at least some easy stuff, climbed Pigeaon Spire wich is just 5.6. It was ridiculous, because I had been told in Squamish I should just bring my approach shoes. So there I am, on the glacier, with crampons duck-taped onto my approach shoes, and in front of us a 350m ridge full of snow and ice. Well, we did it anyway, and we did it in good style. Reaching the summit together felt so great! The next day we did the Bugaboo Spire East Ridge, one of the 50 classic climbs of North America. When we reached the start of the 600m climbing section the sun glided over the horizon, and that sunrise was one of the most beautiful ones I have seen yet. The climbing was great, and I felt a deep friendship somehow with my partner I knew just for a couple of days by then. These days were truly exceptional to me and are still locked in my “best of” memory vault!
And the worst?
I got caught by lightening in Italy on top of a ridge with no place to hide. The electricity in the air was so strong, I could feel it on my head, nose and cheek, there was this sizzling noise between my hair and the collar of the jacket. Then the lightening started. All I could do was hide next to a rock for about 10 minutes. This was the worst, by far.
What do you like to do when you’re back home after climbing?
I love watching movies in their original language, especially comedies with Will Ferrell, Owen and Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, and stuff from the Cohen Brothers. I am also very interested in music, my 120 GB I-pod is almost full and I am proud to know most of the bands I listen to by heart.
Then I love to ly in the bath tub. When I travelled around the world in 14 moths, I sometimes could not bath regularly. I think I spent 4 weeks in the bugaboos once without bathing or having a shower. So when I came back from that trip I think I had a bath every day for about a month or so.
And I like cooking, and having friends over for such a self cooked meal. Another sport I am also interested in is basketball. I like to follow what happens in the NBA, and always keep a special eye on my favorite player, Lebron James!
What’s your involvement with the Millet design center?
I sent a feed back to Millet for almost every product I use. I tell the design center truly what I think about the stuff I use. Mostly it is good things, but sometimes I criticize a lot. You have to understand that I travelled so much, and always had just two bags. So my equipment had to be very reliable. I destroyed so many items by using them extremely intensively for a long period of time , so I developed a natural feeling for how a product will perform, just by seeing it. I think the design center simply profits from my ruthless approach using all the equipment around the globe and in all different climate zones.
How do you feel climbing will evolve in the next years?
In terms of world class efforts the mere difficulty in climbing will stagnate a bit I think. What will be seen more I think is a faster, lighter and more extreme style approach. More routes in extreme heights or places will be free climbed. Big rock routes and alpine lines will be done faster than we imagine it today. Lines with extremely high risks will see their first ascents in the mountains by strong teams of two or even be done solo.
I also think that as far as rock climbing goes, athletes who can climb at world class level on rock or in competitions will become younger.
In terms of climbing and mountaineering in general I think that the number of people in these sports will increase a lot. Especially in climbing more and more climbers will push outside the urban gyms. So consequently accessibility will become a big issue. And in connection with a more sustainable approach in economy, tourism and producers like Millet will have to adopt. People will be more concerned about proper ethnical and ecological products.