Rudi Hauser: The new face on the LOWA Pro Team
He counts among the best rock and ice climbers in the world. He’s from Austria, and this year he became a member of the top-class LOWA pro team. His name is Rudi Hauser. We would like to offer a closer look at this exceptional athlete – one who describes himself as a person who listens to his feelings.
“Life means not to fear anymore”. That’s how the 32-year-old describes his attitude gained over the years and characterised by numerous extreme situations and adventures. He started climbing relatively late. He was 19 years old and had just finished his training as a carpenter. His first technically challenging climbs he found along the Alpine routes of the northern Limestone Alps
and on the Alpine ice in the Gasteiner Valley in Austria. Indeed, it didn’t take long for him to be drawn to the surrounding Alpine walls and to other countries. Professional changes and further education interrupted his climbing ambitions again and again.
In 2003, he started training to become a mountain guide and ski instructor, which he finished successfully in 2005 in Chamonix, France. That same year, his daughter was born. Since then, she has inspired his life and his athletic performances.
Asked about his special strengths, he mentions his extraordinarily stable psyche. That enables him to act without compromise so he can push right up to the limits of what’s doable, especially when ice climbing. For him, a stable environment is very important. That’s made clear when he explains: “Family, friends and love of the mountains are what motivate me to higher performances”.
One of these absolute top performances was most certainly when he soloed a 270-meter (886-foot) vertical frozen waterfall. It’s not for naught that he talks of his “to-date most exciting project” when it comes to that. A totally unique challenge was also climbing the tiered layers of the sandstone rocks characteristic to Indian Creek in Utah. In April, during two weeks there, he conquered his most difficult climb with a grade up to a 10 (UIAA). He found a big part of the difficulty “getting used to it” because
Europe doesn’t have that kind of climbing.
The next project
For his next endeavour there is a solo project on the schedule that he wants to undertake this summer on Hochkönig in Austria. ServusTV, a channel in German-speaking Alpine regions, will also film a 50-minute documentary about it. The goal of the project is to conquer two 2,000-meter (6,562-foot) walls in one push and to finish a half-marathon between the two.
In December, the focus will again fully be on ice climbing. That’s when Rudi will participate in the ice climbing festival in Val di Cogne, Italy. It is the new ice-climbing mecca since the Kandersteg festival is no more. Nearly all of the world’s elite will be in Val di Cogne from Dec. 12-14, 2014 And whoever wants to experience Rudi Hauser “live” can sit in on his workshops there as well as most likely experience him in action.
In contact with LOWA since 2012
The first contact with LOWA came about back in 2010 as Rudi climbed three frozen waterfalls in 10 hours as a part of the Red Bull Project X-Ice. At that time, the partnership with the footwear brand worked out well. The cooperation became closer after 2012 as Rudi got involved as a partner with LOWA Austria. And, starting this year, he is now an official member of the LOWA Pro Team.
He is very enthusiastic about this partnership. In particular, he really likes the uncomplicated way of working together. With LOWA, he sees the opportunity to get involved with all of his ideas and to bring the knowledge gained from his work. He wants to use his practical experience in extreme situations and his expertise to support the work of the capable team at LOWA and its extraordinarily experienced shoe development and shoemaking. He hopes that he can play a part in the complex process of conceiving a new product and can offer some stimulus or inspiration.
Direct interchange with top athletes
At LOWA, of course, everybody is very excited to have gained a proven top athlete and extraordinary person for the team. For the shoemaking professionals in Jetzendorf, it’s vital to always get honest and knowledgeable input from direct and personal contact with athletes like Rudi Hauser when developing new ideas. Only in that way can perfect products be created that stand up to the demands of rock and ice.
He has also been able to follow along on the periphery and gain a few insights into how LOWA athletes become a part of the development process. In the last three years, he was out and about often with another LOWA Pro Team member Ines Papert who counts among the team’s ice climbing experts. During this time, she was actively involved in the development and testing of the new LATOK Alpine boot.
For Rudi, it was very interesting to observe this process from the outside while he most certainly will be brought into such matters in the future himself. In particular,when LOWA is talking about climbing shoes, his expert advice will be in demand.
5 questions for Rudi Hauser
What fascinates you about mountains? Why do extreme situations appeal to you?
A mountain is for me a chance to grab hold of life, in unspoilt nature. And the appeal of putting myself in extreme situations is due to the fact that in such intense interactions with myself I am reborn over and over.
How do you deal with fear?
I use “healthy” fear to make the right decisions. The experience of living emotions shapes my actions.
Do you have a favourite LOWA shoe?
The Alpine style WEISSHORN has proven itself on my adventures in rock and ice as a first-class, reliable boot. For everyday use, I rely on the classic RENEGADE.
What do you value about the partnership with LOWA?
The creativity and expertise at this company give me the feeling that I’m in good hands.
You’ve gotten a tattoo…
…Yes, earlier this year with the theme of animals and nature. It shows a bear, an eagle, a wolf and a climber. I like it. I go with my gut feelings.