Kilian Fischhuber says bouldering is like a 100-metre run while rock climbing is like a 5,000-metre one
For an avid mountaineer and the world’s pre-eminent boulderer, Kilian Fischhuber has a variety of interests. “I like skiing when there is snow in Austria. I also mountain biking. I like travelling to see new places and to challenge myself on new treks,” he says. Bouldering is much like rock climbing but they are not the same thing. “It is something like rock climbing, but the height is less, maybe four to five metres. There is no protection like a harness and all, but we have a mat to protect us in case we fall. Bouldering is like the 100 metre run in athletics and rock climbing is like a 5,000 metre one,” Fischhuber explains.
The basic rule of bouldering is that the climber must complete the climb in the least number of movements and at present there is no one better in the business than the Austrian. He has five bouldering World Cups to his name; further, he has been inducted into the Arco Rock Legends Hall of Fame after being declared the Boulder Rock Master in 2005, 2008 and 2009. When asked about this honour, Fischhuber says: “It is sometimes considered the Oscars of our sport. It is quite an honour, a reason to celebrate, but results are important; the award is just a ceremony to be enjoyed.”
Fischhuber started at the age of 12 by joining the Austrian national youth climbing team and first represented his country in 1999. From then on, he has conquered trail after trail. Simple though it may seem, Fischhuber’s success has a lot of hard work and practice behind it. “My goal was to be a very good climber from a long time. I have worked for it over the years climbing various trails, thereby building perspective and technique. You need to keep focusing and competing.”
Climbing is exhilarating and one must fully conquer fear before conquering peaks. Fischhuber acknowledges the fact. “Mental toughness is certainly one of the aspects; you need to have belief that you can do it. The climb itself is not dangerous; it is just a few metres, but belief matters.”
Fischhuber was recently in Badami on the invitation of Red Bull India to climb the Ganesh trail, which according to him was his “most memorable climb because of the route's toughness, the fun, and all the picturesque views.” The 30-year-says “Practice, variety, focus and lots and lots of climbing,” is what makes him tick. Fischhuber feels that he still has a lot to offer and discover. All we can do is watch and be awed.