Alex Luger
© Ray Demski

Alex is part of a new generation of talented climbers who have embraced the physical challenge of modern sport climbing and bouldering, but also the romance and adventure associated with traditional climbing.

He is originally from Vorarlberg in Austria and was brought up in a climbing family. His induction to the world of climbing came at an early age, but Alex confesses that his initial motivation was that he liked to play on the rope so needed to gain height to get a decent swing going. The desire for excitement and fun continued to grow and at the tender age of 12 he abseiled down the hugely exposed Verdon Gorge in the south of France with his dad. That wild experience cemented Alex's path in life; he was now a climber.

Under his father's tutelage he learned quickly and before long the big numbers began to fall. Alex found much success with sport climbing, reaching the high mark of F8c. Yet his heart yearned for a deeper sense of engagement. He found this by pursuing a strong personal ethic based on the notion that you should try to use the natural features on the rock for protection, and only resort to placing bolts if there is no other option. An expression of this belief came with the first ascent Pollution, a five pitch, minimally bolted F8a+ on the Rote Wand.

It also came with his famous repeat of Beat Kammerlander's desperate bolt free route, Prinzip Hoffnung at the B├╝rser Platte in Austria. This incredible 40m wall features climbing of a physical standard of F8b+ and rates around E9/10. The route was originally climbed with bolt protection, but Beat realised that it could be done without, albeit with some pretty runout sections and marginal protection.

Alex has excelled at highball bouldering too. In Cresciano, he made the second ascent of the bold English Corner V8/Font7B+ and kept his head on the frankly terrifying Accelerator V8/Font 7B at Rocher Greau in Fontainebleau (film of his ascent). To put it in perspective, these highballs would warrant sizeable E numbers if you found them on an English gritstone crag.

In May 2012 Alex had an eventful trip to the Bugaboos, North America’s answer to the French Alps. Highlights included an onsight of Fingerberry Jam 5.12a, and an ascent of The Power of Lard, Snowpatch Spire, a 7 pitch 5.12d on the east face of Snowpatch Spire.

Alex currently lives in Innsbruck where he is studying sport sciences. He is an experienced snowboarder, and in recent years has taken up skiing again with a view to using it in winter alpinism.

"On the top is alpinism and climbing difficult multi-pitch routes. I like the planning how and where to climb a face. Checking out the features of the wall and trying to find a route which I can climb as good as with natural gear. If there are bigger sections of slabs or steep climbing with no opportunity of using natural protection, as it's typical for the limestone in our region, I drill a bolt. I respect the tradition and history of a Wall. I would not put up a line on a "bolt-free Wall" where you have to drill. In my opinion trad climbing is about taking responsibility of your acting. It's pure, intense, scary and wonderful at the same moment…. dedication and commitment are high."