When and how did you get into climbing? What keeps you interested?
At the age of 14 we used to climb barefoot in quarries, do more technical stuff on the sides of the Inn bridge above the river and climb easier alpine faces. Back then, it was all about having an adventure! Then both the scope of my climbing and circle of friends grew quickly and I found myself, aged 17, climbing the Schleier waterfall with Alex Huber.
Who were your childhood heroes?
They were constantly changing, but Batman was pretty awesome!
What have been the most important milestones in your life so far, both in climbing and in everyday life? And did you recognize them immediately as such or only later on?
Funnily enough, it was not the 9a's ...
The real milestones always involve specific circumstances, such as weather conditions, unique locations, climbing partners.
One particular milestone was the Hotel Supramonte in Sardinia. We had to set up an emergency bivvie on the 400m high wall because of a storm. It came howling through the very narrow gorge and we had to sit it out in our little nook for 15 hours!
And then there are all the wonderful landscapes I still have in my mind's eye.
There are also the first ascents that I bolted myself, when I realised they would go, that they were super cool and that they suited me down to the ground. It is discoveries like these, in addition to my career, my family and other projects, that keep me motivated to train.
What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?
When I was 20 years old I got an infection in my right knee joint and was on crutches for 14 months. Back then, I was always on vertical rock. In the three months before I got the infection, I still climbed 13 routes between 8b+ and 8c+ and then suddenly from one day to the next, I was a complete invalid. It took me a while to get used to the change in pace...