Career Highlights

  • In my youth, it was the competition results: in 2011, I was runner-up in the German junior championships.
  • Ninja Warrior finals were also great experiences.
  • But what has left the most lasting impression on me, and still does, are the adventures and expeditions.
  • 2018 & 2019: Greenland expedition with Stefan Glowacz. We sailed to Greenland "by fair means", crossed the Greenlandic ice sheet and left behind a great first ascent on a great mountain. 
  • First ascent & first free ascent of "Wirklich oben bist du nie" (8a+, 33 SL, 1100m, Scheideggwetterhorn)

Favorite places to live / climb / visit

Just a thought experiment. But if I were to combine all of my greatest passions, namely climbing, surfing and, more recently, kiting and sailing, then my dream home would probably be somewhere on the Atlantic coast between Santander and Gijon. There I would have water and rock within easy reach. Just a dream. :-)

To stay rational. Living in Stuttgart with two small daughters and a very good family environment is also fine!

Favorite type of climbing (bouldering, sports climbing, trad, etc.):

Multi-pitch routes in alpine terrain and deep water soloing

What most people don’t know about me:

Sometimes I really like to go shopping. :-) 


  • Climbing

    When and how did you get into climbing and what kept you interested / fascinated in the sport?

    I must have been seven years old when my father took me climbing for the first time. 23 years later, I'm still just as passionate about this sport. I've never had a motivation problem during my "career". Because climbing is so incredibly versatile.

    What interests me for the future are the ways in which climbing can be combined with other sports. The basic tenor here is: How can I get to the rock in the most environmentally friendly way possible? That opens up totally exciting project ideas!

    Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?

    Stefan Glowacz was my great role model.

    Because my brother and I have been involved in German climbing for so long, people know us in a certain way: "Haja, there are the Hans brothers!"

    Ninja Warrior has made us even better known. Children and young people name my brother and me as their role models. So, to come back to the question. Yes, in a way, I now see myself as a role model for others. It doesn't really influence me. Rather, I think it's great to have the opportunity to bring children and young people closer to climbing and the values associated with it, such as solidarity and closeness to nature. That's exactly my goal with the Young Talents.

    What were the most important milestones in your life so far, both in climbing and in everyday life? Did you immediately recognize them as such or only later on?

    • Milestone 1: Without my brother, neither of us would be in the position we are in today. We were always the best training partners and pushed each other without any jealousy
    • Milestone II: Good home coaches and the Baden-Württemberg state squad
    • Mileston III: Red Chili testimonials & Stefan Glowacz. Without Red Chili, Stefan would never have become aware of me. He encouraged me to pursue a professional climbing career
    • Milestone IIII: The Greenland expedition. The starting signal for the professional athlete
    • Milestone V: My two daughters Heli & Lilo

    What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?

    I've never had any serious injuries in my life, but I've often struggled with the fact that I couldn't perform freely in pressure situations, for example during a competition. Admitting this to myself took some time. I was able to free myself from this through mental training. 

  • Training

    Do you have a strict training schedule for when and how you train throughout the year?

    I always train on a project basis. In other words, I have 1-2 big projects a year that I prepare for in a systematic and disciplined way. In the "off-season", I might even give up climbing completely and get on my bike instead to cycle all the way to Mallorca with my family. That's how I keep my motivation high.

    What advice can you give to somebody looking to improve their training routine?

    Look for climbing partners with whom you can train together. You can learn so much from each other.

    What do you think of indoor climbing gyms in relation to climbing on actual rock?

    The gap is widening, at least in the free climbing part of bouldering gyms. While physicality is still the most important performance component on the rock, coordination is becoming increasingly important in the gym.

    Are you able to do a one-arm pull-up? How about a single finger?

    Of course! Even 2-3 :-) If the finger is in a sling, then also with one finger.

    How much of the success as a pro climber is due to show and how much due to actual climbing skill?

    As in all areas of life, as a professional climber you first have to "earn your keep", i.e. perform. Then the marketing part begins. If you want to be able to "live" as a professional climber in the long term, then this level is extremely important and is often underestimated or ridiculed. There is more to being a professional than just climbing hard. For example, if I have climbed 5x 9a within a year, but there is no photo or video material of it, then the sponsors have no added value. 
     So it's a balance: I have to show performance, but I also have to be able to present it.

  • Climbing Psychology

    Is it possible for anybody to eventually perform a one-armed pull-up or get to the top of the Eiger/Matterhorn, or do you really have to be born for it?

    Both are doable. However, I would go out on a limb and say that it is easier to stand on the summit of the Matterhorn (not the Eiger) than to do a one-arm pull-up. Aerobic endurance and light climbing skills, which you need for the Matterhorn, are easier to train than such a maximum-strength movement as a one-arm pull-up.

    My brother is the stronger climber of the two of us, but he still can't do a one-arm pull-up. :-)

    How important is it to set goals in professional sports? What are your goals / targets you are working towards in climbing and in life?

    It's all about setting goals in the professional world. For me, there is nothing more exciting than setting goals together with my sponsors and seeing them through together!

    How do you deal with extremely hard climbing problems? Do you ever get frustrated and give up on them or do they motivate you even more?

    To be honest, I've never planned anything really hard before. But this year there's a multi-pitch project on my bucket list that's way beyond what I've climbed so far. In other words, I'm going to find out whether something really hard motivates me or frustrates me. I don't think it's either/or. It's more of a process. Sure, I'll get frustrated at times, but then I'll shake myself up and say I'm going to keep going. That's what it's all about!

  • Future of rock climbing

    Where do you see the sport going in the next years, what will change and what is your role going to be in it?

    I see myself as a climbing adventurer. Climbing will always be an integral part of my activities, but only a part. I find it exciting to open up my own horizons.

    Because at the moment, climbing is very much defined by difficulty. Color-coded difficulty levels in bouldering halls, rankings on the Moon and Kilterboard,, Olympia, etc...

    For me, I see it as a task to get young people in particular to get rid of this idea that difficulty is just a definition. They should love the sport because it is so incredibly versatile and varied and not because they might be the best at it.