Schwarzweiss ist für mich...


“Natürlich sehen wir in Farbe - aber Sehen ist nur ein Bestandteil unserer Wahrnehmung von Umwelt und Augenblicken. In den Bergen sehe ich die gewaltigen Gipfel, fühle und höre den Sturm, friere ich und empfinde ich Emotionen, die durch Erfolg, Scheitern und persönliche Erlebnisse geprägt werden. Das alles vermag Schwarzweiß oft intensiver zu vermitteln – für mich ist dies gegenüber der Farbfotografie daher nicht Reduktion, sondern eine Verstärkung von Impressionen.” 

Black + White is for Me....
Of course we see in colour - but vision is just one part of how we sense the environment and moments. In the mountains I see tremendous peaks, I feel and hear the storms, freeze, and feel emotions from success, failure and intense personal experiences. All that black + white can convey more intensively - for me this is not a reduction over colour photography, but an amplification of impressions. 

Schwarzweiss Issue 90. "Schwarzweiss ist für mich.."

Bezengi Wall - One Day....


In June 2010, Boris Avdeev and I stood on top of Shkhara, a 5193 m high, very difficult summit in the Caucasus. Shkhara is the highest point of the Bezengi Wall, a 12 km long mountain massif largely above 4500 m along the Georgian-Russian border. Shkhara also marks the eastern end of the wall, and is either the last or first summit of the Bezengi traverse – a traverse of the entire massif, over multiple 4500-5000 m summits, and one of the greatest alpine challenges in the Caucasus and Europe. 
A few weeks later Boris writes me - “one day we have to do the traverse”. This day will never come. Boris perishes in an avalanche in April of 2012. We were to climb Janga-Tau (5058 m) together a few weeks later, a remote and seldom climbed peak in the central part of the Bezengi Wall. After 2 months in a mental hole, full of doubt about the sense of going to the mountains, and filled with lack of motivation and self-discipline, I travel to Georgia again. On 22 June 2012 I summit Janga-Tau with Robert Koschitzki. As I sit on the summit and watch Robert coming up, I look to great Shkhara rising behind him, where Boris and I stood two years earlier, and then look behind me, to the remaining summits of the Bezengi wall to the West. I wonder if I will ever make the traverse. Maybe, one day...(Published on the Leica Fotografie International Blog, One Photo, One Story)

Chatyn-Tau (4412) - the 1st Ski Descent of the SE Couloir. 


Chatyn-Tau is a 4412 m high mountain in Svaneti, Georgian Caucasus. Three summits give it a distinctive, impressive shape. Still, the peak stands in the shadow of its famous neighbor, Ushba (4710 m). Still, Chatyn-Tau hold some of the best steep-skiing lines in the Caucasus. One of the is the large Southeast-Couloir of the West Summit (4310 m), clearly visible from Mestia.
In 2010 I visited Svaneti for the first time. My attention lay on the 5000 m summits such as Shhkara. Still, the SE couloir on Chatyn-Tau, well visible from Mestia, inevitably drew my attention.

In May 2013 Canadian steep skier Trevor Hunt and I arrived in Svaneti. We had just done the first ski descent of Mkinvartsveri`s NE face and looked for new challenges in wild Svaneti. It did not take long until we hiked up the Chaaladi glacier to the base of Chatyn-Tau. The couloir looked now scary from the bottom. 1800 m vertical, wild bergschrunds and crevassed at the bottom, seriously steep and exposed at the top...[more]

Pik Pobeda East (6762m), Tian Shan


For a long time I had dreamed about skiing a perfect line on a high peak in some remote corner of our planet. In August 2010 I stood alone on the summit of Pik Pobeda East (6762m), deep in the Tian Shan mountains, on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border. My partner Anders Ödman was far below, waiting in our tent on the Chon Teren Pass (5500m). I clicked in my skis, alone in a sea of mountains, so overwhelming in size. The following ski descent down the NE ridge (to 50+ degrees) would become what was the realisation of a long dream. An almost perfect line on a truly big mountain, unnoticed by anyone except Anders and I. The question remains what price we are willing to pay for our dreams and goals. In this case the reward was all that mattered.

Pik Pobeda East (6762m) - the 1st Ski Descent


In summer 2010 Anders Ödman and I travelled to the Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan. Just back from a difficult ski descent of Skhara (5193 m) in the Georgian Caucasus, I was motivated for more. Our main objective was to ski the north face of Pik Pobedy (7439 m), but it was too avalanche-prone for a serious attempt.
We picked the lower, but very remote East summit (6762 m - some sources quote 6782 and 7020 m) as alternative, which would take us into a world of ice and snow in the last corner of the Kyrgyz Tien Shan. An ascent of beautiful Khan Tengri (7010 m) via the normal route gave us the required acclimatization, a good view of our objective in addition to the spectacular views over the ice world of the Tien Shan...
Steeper terrain leads us to the Chon Teren pass (5450 m). From here we would start the summit push up the 35-50+° steep ridge of Pik Pobedy East...[more]