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Interview #9 Simon Gietl

Januar 11, 2018

Interview #9 Simon Gietl

Simon Gietl is an Italian climber from Tirol. A mountain guide and a carpenter from profession, Simon enjoys climbing beautiful rocks and ice lines and has an impressive agenda of new ascents.
In October 2017, Simon Gietl and Vittorio Messini made the first ascent of Shiva’s Ice, a new route up Shivling (6543 m) in the Indian Himalayas. The route is 1500m high and has difficulties up to WI5, M6.
Called "Matterhorn Peak" by early European visitors because of its similarity in appearance to that Alpine peak, the Shivling is considered one of the most majestic mountains. 


1.You recently came back from your last expedition in India. Tell us a bit about this trip.
Vittorio and I caught a flight to Delhi on the 25th September and we arrived in base camp at 4300m after two days of driving and two days of trekking. We took advantage of the good weather to take our gear up to the base of the Shivling and to get used to the height. In the same time, we fixed the first pitches in order to move faster during the ascent. On the 9th October it was time to start. We climbed the whole day until we reached a good biwi place at 6000m in the late afternoon. The next day started at 6 am with climbing and even though it was very cold we wanted to push to make it to the highest point in that day. We arrived at 2 pm and couldn’t believe that we had made it. A dream came true, we were standing on top of the Shivling😊. After a short brake we decided to start rappelling the same route we had climbed. It was getting dark when we arrived at our biwi place at 6000m and it became clear that we would overnight there in order not to take any risks. We continued descending at the first sunshine and arrived in the evening in base camp on the 12th September.  

2. Your original plan was to climb Shiva's Line, why did you change the plan?
    There was a lot of precipitation in base camp the days before our arrival and the conditions were winterly. Shiva’s Line is mainly a rock route and is unfriendly in such conditions. We decided to try the yet unclimbed ice line on the left of Kammerlander-Hainz pillar and try to reach Shiva’s Line at 6000m. It quickly became clear at the biwi place that the temperatures were too low and we didn’t want to risk our fingers and toes.

    3. What attracted you at Shivling? What was the hardest part of this climb for you?

      The Shivling has something very special for me and there’s an aura surrounding him. I was dreaming for a long time about Shivling, but somehow the right time needed to come. I think the hardest was to take the decision and go give it a try.

      4. How do you usually train and prepare yourself for such an expedition?
        As I have this privilege of being all year round in the mountains, so I have a certain endurance. Some of my activities include also climbing, running, alpine skiing and biking. Two to three weeks before an expedition I don’t do anything, so that I am well rested.


        5. Besides workout and gear, nutrition became a quite important issue in general. Tell us about your eating habits before, during and after expedition.
          Nutrition is a very important part to an expedition and it should be taken seriously. With the right nutrition you can make your activity not better but for a longer time. Weight is very important in the mountains, that’s why everything that we have with us needs to properly fuel the body with everything it needs in order to perform better, such as calories, fat proteins, fibres, iron, vitamins…The breakfast is the most important meal for me and coffee is not allowed to miss. When I am on the road I usually have one or two bars with me, next warm meal is in the evening.


          6. Besides being an athlete, you work as a mountain guide and the last but not least, you have 2 kids.
            It’s not easy to juggle between these three points. I am very lucky to have a great wife who helps me to bind the points. I am away a lot, but I am lucky to still manage to properly split my time and enjoy my family.

            7. Did the fact of having children change the way you climb?
              No, because I always had the goal of growing old.
              8. Any new projects on horizon?
                There are always projects! I’m flying to Pakistan next year.

                Thanks for sharing these with us and have fun in the mountains!

                Check Simon's profile for more info.


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