The Paul Preuss award honors extreme mountaineers or climbers who, in the course of their entire development in mountain sports, have committed themselves to free climbing not only through outstanding performance in the mountains, but also in the spirit of Paul Preuss‘ philosophy with the renunciation of technical ascent aids and especially have excellent. Acting in mountaineering and climbing should have been determined by the principles “by fair means”, the role model effect, the innovative goal setting and sustainability. The so-called „life’s work in mountaineering“ is the basis for the assessment, not the current peak performance. The winners‘ own publications as well as media reports about them are also used for the assessment.
This year the award goes to the Tyrolean climbing legend Heinz Mariacher.
Heinz Mariacher, born in 1955 in Wörgl at the foot of the Karwendel Mountains, is the eighth recipient of the renowned Paul Preuss Award. With Heinz Mariacher, the International Paul Preuss Society honors a climber who revolutionized alpine sport climbing especially in the 1970s and early 1980s. He wrote alpine history especially with the first ascent of his route ‚Moderne Zeiten‘ in 1982 on his favorite wall, the Marmolada south face.
The likeable Tyrolean who now lives in South Tyrol and has always remained modest has set milestones with his extraordinarily difficult, wonderful routes and raised the performance limit in climbing without artificial aids to dimensions that were not thought possible at the time.
As a sport climbing pioneer, he opened up many routes around climbing crags around Arco and made it one of the most popular climbing areas in Europe. The highlight was certainly the opening up of the ‚Kendo‘ (8a+) in Val San Nicolò. Probably the first climbing route in Italy with difficulty level X. His routes reach the difficulty level 8b+.
Heinz brought sport climbing to the alpine area from an early age. In 1986 he achieved the first ascent of ‚Tempi Modernissimi‘ (IX-/ IX) and in 1987 the first red point ascent of ‚Weg durch den Fisch‘ (VIII+/ IX-), on the south face of the Marmolada. These routes are incredibly creative, elegant, beautiful and usually consistently secured without bolts.