David has explored frozen summits everywhere from Pakistan to Patagonia but his greatest passion is for the harsh and beautiful high-altitude terrain of 8000m mountains. He has already conquered five of the 14 different 8000m peaks on Earth, reaching the summits of Gasherbrum II (8035m), Broad Peak (8051m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Lhotse (8516m) and Makalu (8481m), as well as ascending to 8200m on K2 (8611m). This hostile landscape of ice and snow, where the thin air slows the body and the mind, continues to fascinate him and he enjoys knowing that every decision and movement has major consequences. It is this feeling of being exposed and vulnerable on a mountain which makes him feel most alive.
Birthdate: September 3, 1978
Hometown: Munich, Germany
Homebase: North of Spain and Chamonix
Favourite Book: The stories of Ernest Shackleton
Favourite Movie: Star Wars…and try to believe that the force is always with me
Favourite Song: Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
Favourite Food: Italian food because they have the best coffee and pizza. However, nothing beats my girlfriend’s homemade tortillas.
Biggest Dream: I hope that I will still enjoy the mountains when I am 80 years old.
How I focus: By prioritising what is important.
Best advice ever received: To trust your gut feeling, in life in general, but particularly while mountaineering.
What inspires you: Climbing history is full of stories and people who inspire me; sometimes isolated climbs or sometimes an entire lifetime can be inspirational. For example, the British climbers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were way ahead of their time with climbs like Gaurishankar’s West Face, and have always been an inspiration to me.
Words to live by: Enjoy, be happy and respect
Favourite fitness exercise: Yoga
The mountains were not always such a happy playground for David. After initially enjoying childhood mountain adventures with his father and sister, when he went climbing near his home in Munich at the age of ten, he began crying in fear when he reached 50m, and didn’t climb again for three years. But family trips to the Alps and exotic locations like Iceland and Africa reignited his love for the mountains. He is now one of the most technically efficient and admired alpinists in the world and a trusted guide with the German Mountain Guide Association.
The Himalayas remain his favourite destination. In 2014 and 2015, bad luck with avalanches and earthquakes hampered his attempts to summit Everest (8848m). In the coming years he is determined finally to climb Everest as well as other 8000m peaks including Shishapangma (8013m), Nanga Parbat (8126m) and Kangchenjunga (8586m). He is also keen to test himself on new lines in Kyrgyzstan and the Sichuan Province of China. Having already accomplished winter ascents of the north faces of the Eiger, Grand Jorasses and Matterhorn, new technical challenges also excite him.
Fun, good company and always energetic, David is a popular member of the global climbing community, but his passion for climbing is intensely serious. For him, climbing is more than a hobby. It is a source of inspiration, fulfilment and confidence and a vehicle for new life experiences and adventures. When he climbs a mountain it is not just about exploring incredible new places, but also a way of exploring himself.