Shortly before the massive restrictions caused by the Corona crisis, the Kärtner Stefan Köchel got an inspection of the dream iron iron in the Malta Valley. LACRUX spoke to Stefan about his ascent and shows the video of his ascent.

While some climbers like Stefan Scarperi Within a very short time climbing the boulder iron, others invest a lot of time and patience in the boulder. So does Stefan Köchel. He made over 50 attempts to get through.

Stefan Köchel in an interview with LACRUX

You put a lot of time into inspecting the iron boulder. Why exactly this line?
My answer in a nutshell: The overall package of irons is simply unbeatable: a line of historical importance, aesthetically at the top of the scale, first started by Klem Loskot and also relatively difficult. Thomas Fichtinger put it this way: "You don't climb the iron because of the degree, but because it is the iron."

"It was of course unthinkable at the time to try it, but it was a source of motivation for me and my environment."

Stefan Köchel

But actually I have to go back a bit because the ascent has a long history. When I started climbing, iron was basically “the hardest boulder in the world” and Klem Loskot was on everyone's lips. Last but not least, the video by Martin “Mungo” Hanslmayr was partly responsible for the fact that the boulder burned into the climbing consciousness of my generation. At that time it was of course unthinkable to ever try it, but it was a source of motivation for me and my environment.

Years later, together with David Schickengruber, I had the opportunity to document Nalle Hukkataival's first ascent of the start of the seat. The shooting was the first real point of contact for me. The video productions with Jakob Schubert and Kilian Fischhuber have increased my motivation to try the original line myself.

Nalle Hukkataival and the start of the boulder iron

How many sessions did you invest in the boulder?
Unfortunately, I can no longer understand exactly. If I had to guess I would say 50+. In the spring of '15 I slowly started to try the single trains, but the fourth train lasted until the autumn of '4. From then on it was clear to me that I would stay tuned. In the 17/18 season it could have worked out, but the time slots with good conditions were always too short for me. In December '19 I dripped on the edge and had to keep trying until March 19th.

What was the key to successful transition in the end?
Perseverance. If you try a line longer and would like to climb, it takes on a different role. This is the case with every project and you have to deal with it. I think that is one of the reasons why many do not like to project so much. Failure already plays a very important role in climbing, but at the performance limit this factor becomes even more important.

"Failure already plays a very important role in climbing, but at the performance limit this factor becomes even more important."

Of course, a high tolerance for frustration cannot hurt. Neither does specific training. However, I am not a training world champion and I much prefer to climb than I train. To keep motivation during training, I need a goal on the horizon. That's why I always had the iron on the fingerboard and the pull-up bar in the back of my head. In the end, fitness is only one component. Good conditions, enough time and skin as well as the right attitude the others.

Stefan Köchel inspecting the iron boulder in the Malta Valley

Iron from Stefan Koechel on Vimeo.

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Credits: Cover picture Stefan Köchel / Fresh Air Film