Alex also has penchant for long alpine routes. Highlights include the Ortler North Face (1200m of steep snow and ice and the highest north face in the Eastern Alps) and, at a more extreme level on rock, Via Camillotto-Pellesier, an 11 pitch 8a+/b on the North Face of Cima Grande in the Dolomites.
In September 2014 her and her partner, Christopher Igel, made the first ascent of Della Funivia (7c) a 300-metre, 13-pitch climb in Valle Bavona, Ticino, Switzerland. The duo climbed the line ground-up on trad gear, bolting only the belays and extremely blank sections.
During trip to Yosemite a few years before, Alex managed to make a one-day free ascent of the West Face of El Capitan—28 pitches up to 5.11c, all climbed onsight.
“When we did the West Face of El Capitan it was spring and we didn’t notice the snowcap on top," says Alex. "The snow melted down the route and turned some pitches into canyoning adventures! And the slabs near the summit were covered in ice in the evening. We forgot crampons and ice axes. I spent my coldest night 100m below the summit of El Capitan in wet clothes covered in pine needles. Frozen stiff we saw the most beautiful sunrise!!!”
In 2015 Alex returned to Yosemite with Christopher and the pair climbed the 31-pitch Huber Brother’s 31-pitch testpiece El Corazón (5.13b) in a 12-day push. Alex followed this with an ascent of another Huber classic, Freerider (5.13a).
Climbing has taken Alex to many places around the world, such as Thailand, Malaysia, the US, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Norway. Her passion for trad climbing even lead her to North Wales; Alex cites the “tricky and scary” Warpath (E5 6a) at Rhoscolyn as one of the best routes she has ever done.
Her favourite crags are Siurana in Spain (“long, awesome routes, wonderful place, caves to sleep in, sun and wind”), Yosemite (“adventures”), Zillertal (“bouldery routes”), the Dolomites (“walls as far as the eye can see”), and of course, Frankenjura, her local crag.
On a recent visit to Siurana Alexandra climbed Zona 0 8b.This was particularly special as it went down on her very last possible try of the trip.
Climbing at these high standards does take its toll on the body—to ensure that she avoids injury and muscle imbalance Alex has developed a regular exercise routine. Check out this film of what she calls Alexercises. There is also a good interview of Alex on UKClimbing.com.
Outside of climbing Alex leads a busy and colourful life; she holds a Ph.D. in Nanotechnology and worked for several years at the Research Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics at the University of Innsbruck developing future technologies in technical and functional textiles.
These days home is Dornbirn, Austria where Alex is the product test manager for different various outdoor magazines. She and Christopher also founded a company called Grip Research, which offers route setting, climbing courses, PPE inspection and talks and teaching on climbing safety. She has a keen interest in ecology and protecting the environment, and is also a fan of indie rock and punk music.
Check out Alex’s top tips for visitors to the Frankenjura in this special Destination Frankenjura film made during a DMM team visit in 2012.