On March 10th and 11th, Stefan Glowacz will take those interested on a multimedia journey. In the Swiss cinemas Rex in Thun and Arena Cinemas in Basel he is showing the film of his latest adventure, the Wallride project. We spoke to the professional adventurer and extreme climber in advance.

“By bike to work” – The “Wallride” project by Stefan Glowacz consists of an adventure of more than 2500 kilometers and 50.000 meters of altitude, with climbing first ascents in three countries. To work, for a professional adventurer and extreme climber that usually means: to the mountains, to a rock face. Often in remote regions at the end of the world, as an expedition.

stefan-glowacz-project-wallride2
Looking for a challenge not far from their own front door with the Wallride project: Stefan Glowacz and Philipp Hans. Photo Stefan Glowacz

Stefan, when you think back to the Wallride project today, what feelings and memories come to mind first?

Looking back on a completed and successful project is always associated with the satisfaction of having achieved something extraordinary. Implementing the ideas for such complex and time-consuming undertakings always involves many question marks. It makes you all the happier to have pulled through the project despite all these question marks, concerns and uncertainties.

"The Wallride was the fulfillment of a childhood dream."

Stefan Glowacz

Not a day goes by that I don't think of one or two anecdotes about the Wallride. Be it the bivouac at the Croda Bianca during our first ascent in the Dolomites, the descent down into the Engadin over perfectly developed flow trails, or the quiet moments before sunset somewhere high up in the Alps. The Wallride was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

Is your first impulse more like: "Of course, I'd just jump back on the saddle tomorrow" or "Well, that's all well and good, but now I'd rather do something else"?

Immediately again! Climbing is my "core sport" and still my greatest passion, but right after that comes my enthusiasm for racing bikes. Although the two disciplines are not exactly mutually beneficial, there is great appeal and potential in the combination. Philip Hans and I are currently preparing the next project in this combination. You may be curious.

stefan-glowacz-project-wallride
Sounding out limits and overcoming obstacles: Stefan Glowacz in impassable terrain.

Does an adventure like the Wallride project feel different to you than, for example, a larger expedition far away that ties up a lot of manpower and resources?

Wallride started right outside the front door and was a sporting, logistical and, above all, a mental challenge from the first to the last pedal turn. No other expedition format gives you this immediacy. Of course, the Wallride cannot be compared to our Greenland expeditions in 2018 and 2019.

“I'm curious about the unknown beyond the horizon; on what else I would like to see and experience.”

Stefan Glowacz

But it is precisely this versatility and otherness that is my greatest motivation. I don't like going to the same mountain twice. I'm curious about the unknown beyond the horizon; on what else I would like to see and experience.


Lecture «Project Wallride»

Stefan Glowacz shows his project in two selected Swiss cinemas. The events are free.

Dates and registration

  • Cinema Rex, Thun
    Thursday, March 10, 2022
    20.00 p.m. to approx. 22.00 p.m.
  • Arena Cinemas, Basel
    Friday, March 11, 2022
    20.00 p.m. to approx. 22.00 p.m.

You were already on the road with Philipp Hans in a similar style in 2018. Since when has this by-fair-means thought accompanied you?

It started with my first expedition in this regard in 1993 in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in Canada. Since then I have tried and still try again and again to integrate the aspect of consciously avoiding artificial aids into my expedition.

The question of how I can most skilfully get from the last point of civilization to a far-off wall on my own in order to climb a difficult first ascent is for me an expression of a creative adventure.

stefan-glowacz-project-wallride3
By fair means: Stefan Glowacz has been trying to integrate this idea into his expeditions since 1993.

Is this a path or a style that you want to pursue even more in the future?

I don't rule out getting on a plane again to climb a mountain through a difficult wall in another corner of the world. But my focus is clearly on the "by fair means" aspect.

On your adventure you broke new ground in the eastern Dolomites and in the French Alps. What criteria did you use to select these first ascents?

I've always wanted to do a first ascent in the Marmarole group climbing in the Dolomites. This part of the Dolomites has been pretty much forgotten by climbers. the Pic de Bure in the French Maritime Alps is an incredibly beautiful mountain with a great history.

For me, the aesthetics of a mountain and a wall play a crucial role in choosing my goals. I've never climbed through a wall just because it's a big name.

stefan-glowacz-project-wallride4
On first ascents – like here with rope partner Philipp Hans – the aesthetics of a line play a major role for Stefan Glowacz.

Can you describe what is going on in the background for you while you are planning such first ascents?

As soon as I see pictures of great walls and mountains, my fingers tingle and I start drawing imaginary first ascents on the wall. As I said, aesthetics play a major role for me. Not only when choosing a wall or a mountain, but above all when it comes to the lines of a first ascent.

The discrepancy between planning and the actual situation on site will probably be relatively large. What happened to you as you had hoped and where did you have to completely improvise?

It is precisely this aspect that makes every expedition so incredibly exciting. Of course it is important to plan every venture as professionally and in as much detail as possible. But in order to successfully complete a complex business, you need a great deal of flexibility and courage to make quick corrections, adjustments and decisions. Not a single day of the Wallride turned out as we had planned.

“I see my life as a series of moments and unforgettable experiences. Looking back, I've had an incredibly fulfilling and self-determined life up until now."

Stefan Glowacz

What do you personally take away from the Wallride project?

I see my life as a series of moments and unforgettable experiences. Looking back, I've had an incredibly fulfilling and self-determined life up until now. If I look to the future, if things go well, I might have another 20 good summers. That's not so much time anymore. That's why I live my life motto even more intensively and consciously: live your dreams and don't just dream them.

On the 10th/11th March 2022 you can be seen live in Thun and Basel. What can you look forward to?

In Basel and Thun I'm showing the film Wallride for the first time. It is currently in the final stages of completion. Viewers can expect a funny, thoughtful, inspiring and exciting film. 


Lecture «Project Wallride»

Stefan Glowacz shows his project in two selected Swiss cinemas. The events are free.

Dates and registration

  • Cinema Rex, Thun
    Thursday, March 10, 2022
    20.00 p.m. to approx. 22.00 p.m.
  • Arena Cinemas, Basel
    Friday, March 11, 2022
    20.00 p.m. to approx. 22.00 p.m.

That might interest you

Do you like our climbing magazine? When we launched LACRUX, we decided not to introduce a payment barrier. It will stay that way, because we want to provide as many like-minded people with news from the climbing scene.

In order to be more independent of advertising revenue in the future and to provide you with even more and better content, we need your support.

Therefore: Help and support our magazine with a small contribution. Naturally you benefit multiple times. How? You will find out right here.

+ + +

Credit: Cover picture Stefan Glowacz

News