Felix is not your average Joe, not by a long chalk. His climbing skills are unquestionably impressive, but that is only a fraction of what makes him such a star. He has a way of thinking that is entirely unfettered by the normal run-of-the-mill concerns. Felix is the ‘mad professor of Physics’ - friendly, likeable and entirely idiosyncratic in outlook. He is always psyched and always having fun, whether he is climbing, playing his guitar or cooking up some fantastic meal.
He was born in Stuttgart in 1983 and his entrance into the world of climbing came in his early teens. As Felix explains in his own imitable style: “I was infected on a youth camp on the Swabian Alb in 1996” . It was here that he saw some climbers attempting what looked to his beginner’s eyes like an impossible blank sheet of rock. “I always wanted to climb this route but half a year later I just found there some really chossy F6as on quite loose rock. What a different sight after half a year of climbing…”.
Felix continued to make giant conceptual leaps and it wasn’t long before he was gobbling up test pieces on his local Frankenjura crags. By the time he was 19 he had climbed Nightmare F8b and then the following year the Jerry Moffatt classic, Stone Love F8b+ fell. By now he was a confirmed Frankenjura fanatic with numerous hard routes under his belt.
In 2008 Felix upped the ante again; dropping back to his fighting weight he was rewarded with two F8cs: Powerplay and New Orleans Heavy Weight. Other Frankenjura highlights include Linie 1 F8b+ and Syphon F8b, which Felix climbed at night and after a few beers!
On his home patch he has flashed routes such as Sacktreffer F8a and Linkes Trumm F8a. The same impressive treatment was dished out to Poetic Face Direct F8a at Tessin in Switzerland. Turning his hand to deep water soloing Felix found another aspect of climbing that he excelled at. During a visit to Mallorca in 2007 he flashed In the night every cat is black F8a and climbed Snatch F8b, plus two other F8a+s.
And he is no slouch when it comes to bigger routes, having climbed New Age, Beat Kammerlander’s famous multi pitch F8a+ on the huge walls of the Rätikon.
Bouldering triumphs came early with an ascent of Flubber V11/8A in the Frankenjura in 2003 Since then Felix has kept a consistent scorecard with regular V11/8A and V12/8A+ ascents, mostly in Frankenjura and Petrohrad, but also in Chironico where he recently topped out on Conquistadors V12/8A+.
Felix is well travelled and has a habit of falling in love with crags wherever he goes. Ceuse and Fontainebleau in France are particular favourites. That being said, Frankenjura continues to absorb him and recent conquests such as Hasenmonster F8b+ and a single session ascent of Friends Like You F8b+ show that he still has considerable fitness and form.
And yet despite all these tough routes it is perhaps his Physics thesis that absorbs him the most, in fact Felix considers one particular theoretical physics exam to be the hardest challenge he has ever faced: in his words “an ungradeable nightmare” .
“What style of climbing do I prefer? It depends on the season but heel hooks are bad all around the year!”
Check out Felix’s top tips for visitors to the Frankenjura in this special Destination Frankenjura film made during a DMM team visit in 2012.
Photo: © Fromm collection