On first glance, Rudolf Hauser doesn’t seem to really fit into the Salzburg world of mountains. The amiable Austrian looks more like he belongs on a wave in the world of surfing – like he made a wrong turn and ended up in the Alps. But as soon as you see the man from Pongau on a climb, it’s clear that the earlier comparison with wave-surfing Beach Boys is a bit lame. In fact, this young extreme athlete counts among the best pro climbers in Europe today. It is no coincidence that Rudi has already drawn some attention with some pretty spectacular solo climbs, both on ice and on the crags.
But up until the age of 19, everything had developed a little differently than a classic climbing career. He was in fact already 19 when he discovered his passion for vertical sports. “As a child, I had no access to climbing, even though I grew up in the mountains”, says Rudi, born in 1982 in the Salzburg area of Austria. “You need somebody who takes you to the crags and shows it to you. Otherwise, you just go to work – in the mountains”. So it’s no wonder that Rudi focussed completely on his training as a carpenter. Today still, earnings from the venerable craft are what make up about 30% of his monthly income. The Gasteiner basically works on the side as a cabinetmaker and as trade fair setup/teardown staff. Still, hammer and nails aren’t really his daily work tools. Rather, they are ice tools, frozen waterfalls and rock faces. About the time he finished his training as a state-certified ski and mountain guide in 2005, it became clear that Rudi was to pursue a different life’s path – a much “higher calling” for his hands.
LOWA styles have always proved themselves to be first class and totally reliable for my adventures on rock and ice.
- Rudi Hauser
In a short period of time, the latecomer became a passionate alpinist, who meanwhile naturally led climbs and thus often also risked his neck. Under the watchful and worried eyes of his wife and his daugher, his climbs became normal and both got used to the risky endeavours, supporting him significantly in his pursuits. “For me, the support of my family, friends and my entire private sphere is what gives me wings and drives me on again and again to higher performances”, says Rudi about the secret to his success as a pro climber.
Just as important to him is also the close partnership with a gear sponsor like LOWA, which is more like a good friendship than a purely business partnership. The first contact with LOWA happened in 2010, when Rudi as a part of his Red Bull Project X-Ice climbed three frozen waterfalls at once in just under 10 hours. LOWA contributed to this ambitious project’s success with its ice climbing boots. The ice climbing boot ICE COMP IP allowed Rudi to succeed at his alpinist master performance – a performance that for him still today is one of the most exciting moments of his life. Just two years after that, the partnership with LOWA was officially sealed. Since then, Rudi is not only a part of the LOWA Pro Team. Indeed, with his long experience and expertise, he also contributes to the constant development of new climbing and approach shoes as well as professional outdoor boots like the CEVEDALE PRO GTX®.
This innovative footwear has accompanied the trained carpenter on all of his daring Free Solo projects in the northern Limestone Alps as well as all over the world on varied, extreme and difficult climbing and ice routes. One of his most spectacular successes was the solo climb of the 270-metre “Supervisor” frozen waterfall (W16). It counts as one of the most difficult ice-climbing routes in Austria. Of course without leashes on his ice axes and without technical aid – in just 1 hour, 40 minutes. For perspective: The rope team that first climbed it in 1991 needed nearly eight hours! Of course, the successful ascents of both the “Freier als Paul Preuß” (UIAA 7, on Hochkönig) and “Pipeline” (UIAA 7++, on Hochkogel) routes inside of not quite 12 hours also prove Rudi’s strong psyche and great physical conditioning. And these are characteristics that will come in pretty handy for his next planned projects – be that an ascent of one of the most difficult mixed-climbing routes in the three largest ice caves in the Salzburg area, or a Deep Water Solo ice climb in Antarctica.