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Hansorg Auer Once Free-Soloed a 37-Pitch 5.12c

Alex Honnold’s Free Solo movie is one of the most popular climbing films ever, but he’s not the only one who’s pushed it on hard and big rock walls.

In the film No Turning Back, we get to see what makes Austrian alpinist Hansjorg Auer tick.

As a young boy growing up in Austria, beneath the jagged pinnacles of the Dolomites, Auer and his brother would guide sheep from the family farm into the mountains every summer and the thrill which accompanied those special moments of independence still follows him on his mountain adventures today.

Having first sampled climbing on an indoor wall at the age of 12, he was soon fascinated by the heroes of mountaineering.

Every Christmas he would ask for new books by great climbers such as Reinhold Messner, Hans Kammerlander and Hermann Buhl.

His free solo ascent of The Fish (otherwise known as “Il Pesce” or “Weg durch den Fisch”) in 2007 – a stunning 37-pitch 5.12c slab on the south face of the Marmolada in the Italian Dolomites – is his most iconic rock achievement.

After his bold free-solo, he said, “After the ascent of the Fish I needed a number of days to completely come to terms with what I had accomplished. On the summit I felt total emptiness, combined with an unimaginable sense of fortune.”

Auer recently made the first ascent of the west face of Lupghar Sar West, a 7,181-metre peak in the Karakorum, Pakistan, after climbing solo for a number of days.

He’s free-soloed Tempi Moderni 5.11 800m, Fish Eye 5.12c 850m, Locker vom Hocker 5.12a 350m and Bayrischer Traum 5.12a 400m. He made the first free ascent of L’ultimo dei Paracadutisti (5.14 650 m) on Marmolada and of Bruderliebe 5.14 800m.

He made the first ascent of Kunyang Chhish East (7,400 m) via the 2,700-metre high southwest face and of the south face on Nilgiri South (6,839 m).