Roger Schäli is one of the world's best professional alpinists and climbing athletes, not only because of his numerous first ascents on the Eiger north face. The mountaineer, born on August 8, 1978 in Sörenberg, Switzerland, is also one of the few who was able to climb the Patagonia trilogy of Cerro Torre, Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt at all. Veit Schumacher has for Bächli mountain sports with Roger Schäli talked about personal key moments and life as a professional athlete.
A guest contribution by Veit Schumacher - Bächli Bergsport
What was your original career aspiration?
Originally I wanted to become a ski racer, which unfortunately was not possible due to injury (at the age of 16 years, Roger crashed 30 meters unbraked to the ground and suffered an open fracture in the leg and a fracture of the vertebral set and spent several months in a wheelchair ).
Forstwart was also up for a debate, but if you do the forester, you're probably just sitting in the office. That's why I started training as a carpenter later. At the same time, of course, worked as a temporary assistant in the ski school, did the ski instructor and later completed the mountain guide training.
Your most personal key moment?
That was clearly my crash at the age of 16 and the severe injuries that went with it. Something like that shapes you enormously when you are still so young. That changes the risk awareness, the gratitude and the knowledge of how quickly life can be over. The fall was like a kind of children's school for me. Because if you, for example Ueli Steck Of course you are not afraid at all and think that life is infinite.
My accident at the age of 16 left a strong mark on me - Roger Schäli
And during my mountain guide training or afterwards when driving you will learn a lot about fatal or serious accidents, then you will realize how lucky you have been so far. And if something never happens to you, then of course you are accordingly unconcerned, risk-tolerant and without fear in the wall on the way.
The worst injury so far?
Apart from the serious injury after my fall, I have so far mostly come away without major injuries. Only once in the Grandes Jorasses North Face In Mont Blanc Massive I got an ice floe on my thigh when I just wanted to change my shoes at the bivouac. Since I had to be flown out, because of the impact of the impact seemed to have burst a vein. The entire leg has run completely full of blood within a very short time. These were hellish pains and even today a dent in the thigh muscle reminds me of it. But I'll probably never forget the sound of the passing piece of ice.
What is more to you, solo mountaineering or shared adventures?
Solo mountaineering is definitely cool, but in the end it's always nice to be able to share and share something with someone. And also pass on your own knowledge or your own vision later as a mentor. Young and old, very open and easy. And the more intense and more you had to fight during the tours, the more sustainable it becomes. Such a sport climbing route I try for a week and in the end they have cracked and ready. But when you get into a wall and then squat in the bivouac at lightning and thunder or icy cold, you say years later - you know, it was awesome back then, right? That's the real reason why mountaineering as such packs me so.
Your most important confidant?
As an alpinist you are traveling a lot with yourself. Although I am not the typical loner, but because I broke out of the "Swiss life" and out of the valley to go out into the world, networking with social life is another. And because I lead a rather anti-rhythmic life, the chosen path as a climber and mountain guide is ultimately quite a lonely - despite worldwide networks with other athletes and alpinists.
You theoretically have a lot of people around you, but very close contacts, you have to do something for it. And just because the best friends are not here in Grindelwald and the girlfriend lives in the US, you have to be able to endure his own thing from time to time. That can not be many and requires great concessions.
How did you manage to fight back after your bad fall and keep climbing?
I was 16 years old and had a new 60 meter rope from my dad with whom I climbed. My friend has roped off with a 50 meter rope on the other side. I'm up a steep 6b, then posted, threaded and halfway involved. The colleague wants to climb, I lean back and then it was almost 30 meters only down. The result was an open leg, a broken leg, many scars on the back and a broken spinous process. This was followed by a few months in a wheelchair and more than half a year for rehabilitation.
Dani Arnold and Ueli Steck, how big is the competition in the Eiger north face?
There never was one. It is not excluded that I do not even measure the time, how fast I am actually. But I would not necessarily invest that much energy in it. Because then I would only train one thing and do nothing else. Not to mention the risk involved. For this I would have to throw a lot of joint climbing adventures in the balance.
When thinking of three season only for speed ascents on the Eiger in contrast to ten brilliant climbing expeditions with friendly mountain climbers, I think the decision is not so difficult. And I still have an incredible number of projects such as the Karakorum, Baffin Island or climbing in Madagascar or Australia.
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Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. Bächli Bergsport currently offers its customers expert advice and high-quality service at 11 locations in Switzerland. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports periodically exciting contributions to the topics climbing, bouldering and mountaineering.
Credits: Cover picture Frank Kretschmann