Published a few days ago Hansjörg Auer a video of a descent on the Achplatte in the Öztal (LACRUX reported). As a rappel Hansjörg served a small frozen stone. The video triggered a huge number of reactions. Some called for the deletion of the film, others called Hansjörg as stupid or are simply shocked. We talked to Hansjörg about the reasons for the descent and his relationship to dangers.

Interview with Hansjörg Auer

When were you in the wall?

I climbed this thin and rare standing ice line on the 28. February 2018. It was probably a first ascent.

What is the name of the wall and where is it?

It is the south face of the Achplatte in the Ötztal. In summer it is a rather dangerous wall, as rock material has repeatedly loosened in the left part of the wall in recent years. The first routes were created here in the 70s by Reinhard Schiestl. For my part, I climbed a new route on the wall in 2005.

South face of the Achplatte in the Ötztal first ascent Hansjörg Auer
The southern wall of the Achplatte in the Ötztal (Hansjörg Auer) committed by Hansjörg Auer

The descent on this little rock looks pretty shaky and dangerous. Why did you go down there?

I actually didn't want to take any additional equipment (rope, belt, ice screw) with me, because at the end of the wall you can cross a ribbon to the right to descend. When I set off, I decided to pack the rope because the ice layer looked very, very thin with the binoculars.
After the ascent, I then started climbing. After quite simple, snow-covered slabs, the terrain became a little steeper and the climbing more challenging. The ice line was then mostly more frozen snow than ice. The last ten meters were not easy on my own, but I thought it would be a little easier again soon. And suddenly I was standing on a small heel and could neither forward nor backward, especially because I was traveling solo. Thank goodness I found this tiny little stone that was frozen at the height of the little ledge. I decided to rappel down 30m. I then found an easier path further to the left and climbed the line to the end.

Why did not you ask for help?

Of course, I wanted to get myself out of this situation. And the abseiling maneuver seemed possible to me. In addition, I couldn't just stand on this sloping, little ledge forever.

You are known for daredevil visits. What do you do when assessing risks?

Basically, I think that you can adjust to the risk and sharpen your senses if you are aware of the risk. It is more of a problem if one is careless in supposedly easy terrain or becomes careless due to routine. That's why I stand for quality rather than quantity in my actions. So you are not constantly in the red.

What is your drive / motivation to move on a fine line?

I see the opportunity to lead an intense life as a privilege. And if you then find personal fulfillment in your projects, then there is nothing wrong with it.

If a climber told you, you are tired of life. What would be your answer.

I don't think it's really cool that so many people classify me as “crazy”. Perhaps I have a different approach to risk and sometimes think about alpine ideas that others would immediately discard. But that doesn't make me a madman. I wrote the following sentence once this year and think it goes well with this topic.
"To enjoy the undreamt intensity of life again and again is one thing that drives me to set off for new adventures. "
But you have to go just beyond the comfort zone and it can arise situation as on the Achplatte south wall.

Do you have a big goal or a project that you want to tackle someday?

I plan to be back in Pakistan this summer. A great project on a 7000.
Thank you, Hansjörg, for your detailed answers. We are looking forward to your project in Pakistan. Good succeed!

The video of Hansjörg Auer's abseiling on the Achplatte

Hansjörg Auer: Probably the most dangerous abseiling action

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