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Mario Walder Interview

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How did you get into climbing? Who introduced you to the sport?
I grew up on a mountain farm in Innervillgraten at 1500 metres above sea level, so I always had to climb. And I worked as overhead lineman for seven years. Many of my colleagues were climbers, so that's how I got into the sport.

How important are ethics in climbing and what are yours all about?
I set a high value on ethics. I've done almost all of my first ascents in classic style. In my opinion it's very important that the old classics remain as they are. You should respect the style of the first ascender and the mountain. To me there is nothing more beautiful than going into the mountains with friends and finding new ways. To see a line and to then climb it is the best - the line is what matters!

Did you have an idol?
Mountaineering legend Sepp Mayerl has always been my idol. At age 75 he is still young, active and passionate about the sport.

Are there any routes or projects you are particularly proud of?
The Nameless Tower in Pakistan with Thomas and Alex. For me it is one of the most beautiful rock climbing mountains in the world. And the route Eternal Flame is probably one of the most beautiful routes on the globe.

What would you do if you could no longer climb?
I never thought about it, I just climb.

Your life constantly dangles on a string or rather on one or two fingers. How do you deal with the risk of dying?
Climbing is not very dangerous. With good partners you can minimize the risk. Of course, an element of risk always remains - but that's life. Personally, I think driving a car is much more dangerous and actually you don't perish that quickly...

What do you need to be successful in this sport?
To be successful in mountaineering and climbing you need burning ambition and never-ending motivation.

What are your personal strengths?
I believe I have a very good lead climbing moral and that is a huge advantage. I feel comfortable in any kind of terrain - ice, snow, rock, may it be brittle or not. Thus I can do a lot on any mountain in the world.

And your weaknesses?
Water is my biggest weakness, but I hope I never have to swim to a mountain.

Do you have a philosophy?
Respect Gravity and stay alive...