Heinz Mariacher

Climbing enriched my life like no other activity, it's like a second life within a different world...

I'm around on the rocks for a very long time, such a long time that I still had the opportunity to climb with some of the pioneers of classic freeclimbing in the mountains, long before the spread of modern sport climbing.

The mindset and enthusiasm of my predecessors was very close to my own and I don't think that todays generation feels that much different. Even if climbing has become very popular and is getting transformed to a real sport, there are still young and enthusiastic climbers who are seeking the unknown and are fascinated by the original spirit, by the idea of personal freedom far from the limits and regulations of a mass society.

In the times of change I was one of the few "old style alpinists" to embrace sport climbing as a new challenge and was in the mid eighties among the very first in Italy to explore 7c, 8a and 8b. Nevertheless I didn't forget my origins and still considered mountain climbing as a different game with different rules. After many years of sport climbing I still believe that in the mountains style is more important than grades.

Heinz Mariacher

Born in a small Austrian town Heinz discovers climbing very early, at the age of 11 he makes his first "free solo" ascent, climbing a mountain route with tennis shoes (grade V). 

In the 1970s Heinz solo climbs some of the hardest routes of the moment in his home mountains and in the Dolomites. To mention a few: the Rebitsch Pillar on the Fleischbank, Kaiser (1973), the Schmuck on the Fleischbank (1973), the Cassin on the Cima Ovest di Lavaredo, the Comici on the Cima Grande di Lavaredo, the Egger at the Cima Piccola di Lavaredo (1974), the Lacedelli on Cima Scotoni (1974), the Vinatzer on Marmolada (1975). The spontaneous idea to free solo (on sight) the Conforto on Marmolada, 800 meters in 4 hours in 1979 testifies a new mentality of challenging big walls in the Dolomites. Also the free solo ascent of the 800 meter route Don Quixote on Marmolada in 1 hour 20 minutes (1985) happened casually during a hike around the Marmolada.

In 1977 Heinz opens a new route in the Karwendel, Charlie Chaplin on the Laliderer, 800 meters, climbing all free, using only a few pitons for protection, which at that time is a milestone of free new ascents in the mountains. More new routes with this style follow on the Marmolada: Don Quixote, Vogelwild, Abrakadabra and Tempi Moderni.

In the 80s Heinz gets a pioneer of free climbing around Arco and takes part of the evolution of sport climbing in general. Kendo, 8b+, in 1986 is one of the hardest routes of that period. Tempi Modernisssimi, 7c+, 300 meters, bolted from the ground up,  is the first route of this style and difficulty in the Dolomites. In 1987 follows the first redpoint ascent of Via del Pesce, 7b, 900 meters on the Marmolada. Also in 1987 Heinz is among the first to repeat Rude Boys, 5.13c, and Monkeyface, 5.13d, Smith Rocks, Oregon.

As film maker Heinz gets the price "best film on climbing" (Ritorno al silenzio) in 1993 at the prestigious Mountain film festival in Banff.

Heinz made also history as a climbing shoe designer, starting with the famous model "Mariacher" in 1982 to his actual very successful collaboration with SCARPA.