mercoledì 1 agosto 2018

A chat in Val San Nicolò with Hans-Jörg Auer


On July 28th, in the Dolomites region, during the The North Face Mountain Festival, I had the honour to exchange ideas and gather info on both the latest achievements and the way to approach alpinism of a great Austrian athlete: Hans-Jörg Auer.






After a big achievement, you have to wait a bit of time to realise how good was it.

It's easier to become a good climber than an old one.



Question 1.)    Hi Hans Joerg, well you just got back from another amazing, wild, brutal expedition, the Summit the Lupghar Sar West, on the region of Karakorum, in Pakistan. Please can you tell us about this?

HJA Last 4 years I have been looking for new adventures and I found this Project Lupghar Sar west face - Karakorum. I always checked this mountain for a sort of Project, but the right moment never arrived. Then this year, this spring it happened, I planned to go with my friend Alex Bluemel, but he had to stop because he didn't feel 100% well.

Question 2.)    In realizing such a "wild" expedition, in a place that is really unknown, which are the most important things to take into account? How was it? Satisfied about the results?
HJA At the end I'm really happy. Everything run smoothly: I was there for four and a half weeks. It's totally different than to climb in a team, you are even more exposed in high altitude.


Question 3.)    How do you handle your fears in this situations? I have been this winter in Alaska and I had such a powerful experience in finding myself in such remote and desolated land. What were your feeling in pushing the summit of the Lupghar Sar West?

HJA Yes, when you are solo you are more exposed, but you move light and fast and you feel even stronger. There is nobody else around. This kind of experience opens even more possibilities for me for the future.


Question 4.)    You have done some extraordinary expeditions: which one is the most important for you? And which the most thrilling one?
HJA I think that in your life you don't have 30-40 highlights, highlights are rare, I have had just few highlights. I'm not comparing this with that amongst expeditions. Every expedition has got something. I have done few and each had its own feelings. However, Fish (Marmolada) solo, maybe the best. Also a few I did with my brother were really impressive. Third, of course the Lupghar Sar, but I need to wait: after a big achievement, you have to wait a bit of time to realise how good was it.


Question 5.)    Changing topic completely, alpinism has become for some aspects an "high profitable business". You can see thousands of people trying to summit the Everest even if they are not prepared… You on the other side have devoted your entire life to study and train yourself on the mountains. What are your thoughts about this situation?

HJA For me this is a different discipline. Now, as of today, we have more than 30 climbers on top of K2. But the same people on a 6000 or 7000meters without fixed ropes or oxygen mask would have no chances.
Some people like the first, some people like the second. Nobody has got the right to judge, just because I'm now a strong climber I do not have the right to judge.
They can do what they want, everybody is free, who am I to tell people what they have to do? I'm not in a position to judge.


Question 6.) You were a teacher, you wrote books, how your academic background is of help in preparing and communicating to the vast audience your adventures?

HJA I like the work behind climbing. I like to write things about expeditions, I like to study a lot, writing my stories, writing about mountains. I'm reflecting a lot.
It's important to know the past. Nowadays young generation, young climbers are focused more on difficulties, instead they should understand the achievements of the past.
A Young climber doesn't know about the achievements of Reinhold Messner and this is wrong.


Question 7.) Are you still inspired by someone or by a specific recent event?

HJA Yes, a lot! I'm not defining this game as "new". It's very old. We have better weather forecast. We can fly easier to Karakorum. We have more information, we have contacts everywhere.
But the achievement of them are still amazing, what I want to explain is that achievements of old climbers ae really impressive. Anyway, I'm trying to follow my way, my creativity , my passion.


Question 8.a.) Last year we experienced two extreme events like Alex Honnold Climbing Yosemite's El Capitan solo (i.e. Without a Rope) and Adam Ondra climbing the first 9c ever in Flatanger-Norway. How can these events influence the future of climbing? What's your feeling?

HJA It's incredible, you know. If you believe that in Climbing or in Alpinism the top level is achieved you are totally wrong! There will always be achievements that were not imaginable before

Question 8.b.) You didn't say "crazy" You didn't use this word.
HJA If you play honest it's not "crazy". Did I take risk? Yes, I took risk. Maybe I went some steps further than others, but that's all. For me it's still very important to have fun when I go out.
Then you know, it's easier to become a good climber than an old one.


Question 9.) What will be your next adventure?

HJA I'm thinking about opening a new route on Marmolada. I want to focus on climbing.