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 and pushing the limits ‘clean climbing’.
Born in 1987, Alex grew up in the town of Hohenems, in Vorarlberg, Austria and was introduced to the world of climbing at an early age. 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 though and at the tender age of 12 he abseiled down the hugely exposed Verdon Gorge in the south of France with his father. That wild experience cemented Alex's path in life: he was now a climber.
Alex has had much success with sport climbing, having climbed several 8c+ routes, including Speed (8c+), Atlantic (8c+) and Missing Link (8c+/9a), all at Voralpsee, Switzerland, yet he is primarily driven by a deeper sense of engagement found in alpine routes and strong trad climbing ethics. In line with these motivations Alex pursues routes requiring traditional protection wherever possible and places bolts as a last resort.
"I like planning how and where to climb a face,” says Alex. “Checking out the features of the wall and trying to find a route 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".
In 2009, aged just 22, Alex made a famous repeat of Beat Kammerlander's desperate bolt-free route Prinzip Hoffnung at the Bürser Platte in Austria. This incredible 40-metre wall features climbing of a physical 8b+ standard and received an E-grade of around E9/10 given the marginal protection and significant run outs. Five years later, in 2014, Alex made the first trad ascent of the cutting edge line Psychogramm, just left of Prinzip Hoffnung. Once again, by climbing a thin crack and technical slab with a physical difficulty of 8b+ and a crux several metres above a single microwire, Alex showcased his cool head and proficient movement on this original A3 aid line.
This practiced trad mindset also lent itself to highball bouldering and occasional soloing, with Alex trying hard sport climbs and highball boulders in a ground-up style. In Cresciano, Alex made the second ascent of the bold English Corner V8/7B+ and kept his head on the frankly terrifying Accelerator V8/7B at Rocher Greau in Fontainebleau. To put it in perspective, these highballs would warrant sizeable E numbers if you found them on an English gritstone crag. Alex also made a ground-up solo ascent of Zerstoere dein Ego, a classic bouldery 8a+ sport climb in Vorarlberg. The day he free soled Zerstoere dein Ego, he also onsight soled two other 7b+ routes.
Back on trad, Alex has made a business of establishing multipitch routes in climbing areas close to his home, always in ground-up free climbing style. Routes of note include Pollution, a five-pitch, minimally bolted 8a+ and the seven-pitch 8b+ Sangre de Toro, both on the Rote Wand in Lechquellengebirge. These two routes include an absolute minimum number of bolts and pitons, in line with Alex’s clean climbing ethics.