When and how did you get into climbing? What keeps you interested? What fascinates you?
Relatively late in the late summer of 2001 at the rather advanced age of 18. Near the Three Peaks, an elderly gentleman took me in his car and told me about his heroic ascent of the Grand Peaks. At the same time he told me that sport climbing was only for softies and that alpine climbing would make a real man out of you. This triggered a great curiosity and fascination in me. A short time later, my brother and I started climbing together with our group of friends. I had always been active in sports before, but no sport captivated me as much as climbing. The first time I felt an incredible fire in me and this burned absofort only for climbing.
Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?
There are several generations of pioneers who have left lasting traces in the Dolomites as well as with me. After the free climbing legends (e.g. Preuss) of the early years of the 20th century and the climbing icons of the 1930s (e.g. Comici), I am particularly inspired by the first ascents of the young Reinhold Messner and the daring classically secured routes of the South Tyrolean climbing guild around Roland Mittersteiner and Hanspeter Eisendle of the 1980s and early 1990s. Their foresight, courage and creativity have decisively influenced and shaped me. Likewise, the daring lines and style of a Christoph Hainz stand out. Especially until the mid 90's he opened some daring routes whose style influenced me significantly. Even if you have become a role model yourself, I am always aware that you also bear a great responsibility and can, to a certain extent, be decisive for the development of younger climbers. That's why it's important to me to be and remain credible, reliable and authentic.
What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?
Fortunately, I have been exempt from major injuries so far. A rather dramatic gastrointestinal surgery in 2006 I was able to put away relatively quickly and train myself back into a peak of form in a short time. However, there were also several mental setbacks and dampers, such as the tragic accident of my good friend Gerry. In such cases, I am glad to be well supported by my family and close friends.
What is your favourite climbing-related story / experience?
Self-confidence and self-assurance are two essential qualities in the mountains that a climber should radiate. However, the fine line between self-overestimation and overconfidence is very sharp and must always be taken into account. My own skills and the experience I have gained over many years on the various rock faces of the world form the framework within which I can move responsibly. As the first great free climbing pioneer Paul Preuss said at the beginning of the 20th century: "The skill is the measure of the ability".