Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kurt is gone

Kurt Albert, the "Albert Einstein" of free climbing, died today after a 18m fall on a minor "Klettersteig" in Germany during guiding work. With Kurt we lost one of the most important and influential climbers in history. In the late 60ties at the age of 17 he climbed already the hardest routes in the Alps, including the Walker Spur on the Jorasses, and with 18 the Eiger North Face, years before Messner did it. Besides all his live time achievements in the forefront of hard Alpinism over 30 years, he is probably best known for his invention of the Red point rules in 1975. you wonder why his nickname was Einstein
Kurt on "Fight Gravity", a 5.12 free solo in the mid eighties, when most people did not even know of the existence of hard routes like that.
Kurt was always involved in the evolution of climbing. He started with the age of 14 with hard Aid, then painted red points at the bottom of old established Aid routes as a sign that they have been free climbed. He was a top boulderer in the late 70ties, when the world boulder did not even exist in Europe. He made countless rock climbing trips around the world, climbed the first 12+ on the big dolomite faces in the eighties, made ground breaking first ascents all over the world, like Royal Flush on Fitz Roy, Raiders of Storm in the Paine and Eternal Flame on Trango, to just name a few.
When I heard the sad message from Scott's cell phone at the Lookout, I was just heading up for another try on the hardest sport climb so far for me in Canada. I told myself that this attempt I dedicate to Kurt's spirit, so I gave it all, like Kurt would have done, and surprisingly succeeded. Kurt, you where the man I was looking up to when I started climbing as a teenager in the mid eighties, and I thank you for that. The worlds climbing community lost one of it's best.

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