In Portrait

Thomas Huber

About Thomas

Mountains, Soul & Rock´n Roll

Thomas Huber, UIAGM Mountain Guide, the older brother of the two Huberbuam, has dedicated his life to alpinism. Together with his brother Alexander, they form one of today’s most capable and successful rope parties.

His childlike curiosity has always been prompting him to discover the unknown in the mountains all over the world. Whether it is speed climbing on the steepest walls, alpinism on the most difficult peaks, or expeditions in extreme regions - Thomas is looking for the challenge and takes it up with the ambition of an athlete.

Rise and fall, set-backs and successes, Thomas got to experience it all in the mountains. His strong, indomitable spirit has learned that in order to find the key to success, he must accept set-backs on his crazy vertical journeys. He is a father of three children and always aware of his responsibility for his family.

Besides climbing mountains, Thomas entertains a large audience with his adventures - even after more than a 1000 intense, funny and passionate slide shows. With his brother Alexander, Thomas has authored several books and is the protagonist of several movies. He also is a much-appreciated guest in talk shows.

How it all began…

It all began in a normal Bavarian village: Palling. On a farm, there are 2 cheeky boys, a little girl, and mom and dad, who love the mountains. They are the Hubers, or rather, in Bavarian tradition, »the Riedls«, as Riedl is the name of the farm.

Thomas senior, the patriarch, is often in the mountains with fellow alpinists. He experienced many mountain adventures - from Berchtesgaden to the Mont Blanc and Denali. Even today, well past 70, he is regularly climbing up to 5.10.

The Riedlbuam (Riedl-Boys) are motivated! From an early age, they start exploring the mountains during ski tours in the Western Alps, and undertake their first rock climbs with their dad. It won’t take long before they are a close-knit team in the mountains. At the beginning, the apple tree in the garden will have to do - here they practice rope maneuvers. They start climbing in the loose quarry just outside Palling, and go bouldering on the walls of the local castle.

After that, the brothers go on their first trip without their dad, to the Wilder Kaiser in Tyrol. They enter the realm of 5.10 and above. Soon, repeating existing climbs becomes boring. It lacks the unknown, the excitement, and the element of discovery.

Their first first ascent, Rauhnachtstanz on the south face of Wagendrischlhorn becomes the foundation of their climbing lives. The unknown of the vertical world, the first ascent, it became their biggest motivation and has since remained their true passion. At the local crag, Karlstein, they establish countless new routes in a short time, and their climbing ability keeps improving. Soon, they are known beyond Palling, and their name changes from Riedlbuam to Huberbuam

The name stands for difficult first ascents and wild stories from their explorations of the mountains…

They share their passion without compromise, and even if they may seem different at first sight, they both share the name Huberbuam and what it stands for. They are a perfect team on the hardest mountains.

Again and again, Thomas has to deal with serious injuries that hinder his progress as an athlete. Because of these set-backs, he develops a strong will. Giving up is out of question. Later in his life, he discovers sky diving and tries to combine it with climbing: After a difficult ascent, the parachute comes in and provides a quick descent.

Music is another way for him to express himself. He is the lead singer of the punk rock band Plastic Surgery Disaster. Despite is wild spirit, Thomas appreciates nothing more than finding peace at home with his family. He lives in Berchtesgaden. He is married to Marion and has two sons and a daughter: Elias, Amadeus, and Philomea.

1966November 18, 1966 - my date of birth. I am born in Palling/Bavaria.
»Viele Wege führen zu Gott, einer davon über den Berg«. / »There are many ways to God - One leads over the mountains«. I wrote that German saying in the my first and only route logbook. I took the saying from my dad.
1978My first climb in Berchtesagaden: Untersberg, South Face (III), with my dad.
1979Hörndlwand, Sockel, Merkelriss (IV), Chiemgau
19803. Sellaturm, Vinatzer (V), Sella, Dolomites
1981Schleierkante (V), Pala-Dolomites
1982Schüsselkarspitze, east face, Spindlerführe (V), Wetterstein
1983Things get going! Forst winter training, pull-ups and training on the »Steiner Burgmauer«
Karlspitz, east face, Göttner (6+), Kaiser. My first redpoint ascent.
Fleischbankpfeiler, Rebitschrisse (6/A1). My entry route to the Traunsteiner Jungmannschaft.
Fleischbankpfeiler, Pumprisse (7), Kaiser
Großglockner, north face, 65°, Alps
In my first year of climbing, I do over 50 alpine routes.
1984Wagendrischelhorn, south face, Rauhnachtstanz (VI+) – our first first ascent.
Dru Westwand, American Direkt (VII), Chamonix, France
1985First redpoint ascent of Blaue Lagune (VIII+), Wendenstöcke, Switzerland
Marmolada, South Face, Weg durch den Fisch (VII/A1), Dolomites
1986First ascent of Utopia (VIII+), Wartstein an der Reiteralm Northern aspect, Berchtesgaden Alps
1987High school graduation
1988First ascent of Vom Winde Verweht (X-) on Scharnstein, Reiteralm norther aspect, Berchtesgaden Alps. For us, this is the first alpine route rated X-.
1989First ascent of Scaramouche (X-), Hoher Göll, west face, Berchtesgaden Alps
1990First ascent of Violent Femme (X/8b) in Karlstein. My first 8b!
1991Military service Bad Reichenhall, Hochgebirgszug
Then withdrawal from service: A slipped disc, complete stop of all sports activites, surgery and then recovery
1992Studies at the TU München, Sports diploma
Mountain guide exam passed
Prinzess and the Hero (X+/8b+), Karlstein
1993Mercy Street (X+/8b+), Schleier Wasserfall
1994First ascent and first redpoint ascent of The End of Silence (10+), Feuerhorn, Berchtesgadener Alpen. This route is part of the alpine Trilogy together with Silbergeier and Kaisers neue Kleider.
19952. ascent of Alexander’s route Shogun (XI-/8c), Karlstein
cruciate ligament rupture, surgery and recovery
1996I drop out of university with the decision »I become a professional alpinist.«
First visit in Yosemite: first free ascent of the Salathé (5.13c) along the original line, El Capitan
1997First aid climbs – The Shield (A3), Mescalito (A3) and Gulf Stream (A4) – on El Capitan, Yosemite, as a preparation for the Pakistan expedition
First ascent on the west face of Latok II (7.108m), Zeringmosong (VII/ A3), Karakoram, Pakistan, together with brother Alexander, Toni Gutsch, Conrad Anker
First professional public slideshows with »Latok – The Wall«
1998First ascent of El Niño (5.13c) on El Capitan, Yosemite and thus the first redpoint ascent of the North America Wall
Redpoint ascent of Free Rider (5.13a) in 15:25 hours and thus the first free ascent of an El Cap route in a day. On both ascents, I climb with Alexander.
1999I become a father. Elias, our son with my partner Marion.
Failure on an expedition to the Ogre (7.285 m), Karakoram, Pakistan with brother Alexander, Jan Mersch, Toni Gutsch. On this expedition Alexander and I climb Latok IV.
Second cruciate ligament rupture on the same knee, surgery and then recovery.
Our first book, »The Wall«, is published.
2000First ascent of Shiva´s Line (VII/A4) on Shivling (6.543m) with Iwan Wolf, Garwahl Himal, India
Luxation of the elbow – 4 weeks prior to our planned US trip.
First ascent of Golden Gate (5.13b) on El Capitan, Yosemite, together with Alexander
Piolet D´Or: der golden ice axe for Shiva`s Line. The most important award in alpinism.
2001My third expedition to the same base camp on the Uzun-Bracc-Glacier, Pakistan, Karakoram
First ascent of the Ogre III (6.870m) along the South Pillar (VIII/A2)
Second ascent of the Ogre (7.285m) along the South Pillar (VIII/A2)
2002Amadeus is born, our second son.
2. ascent of the route Capsico (7/A2) on Arwa Spire, Garwahl Himal, India with Alexander und Peter Anzenberger
2003First repetition of Adrenalin (XI/8c+), Karlstein
First redpoint ascent of the Zodiac (5.13d), El Capitan, together with Alexander
2004Speed record of the Zodiac in 1:51:34, 600 meters, El Capitan, Yosemite, together with Alexander.
2005Patagonia: Cerro Standhardt (Festerville), Punta Herron (Spigolo del Bimbi), Torre Egger (Espejo del Viento-Erstbegehung), Traverse (VII+/90°) with Andi Schnarf
Beginning of the production of »To The Limit«
Record attempt at speed climbing the Nose (5.9/A2), El Capitan. The record is at 2 hours 48 minutes. Normal parties take 3 to 4 days. Shortly before our attempt at the record Alexander falls to the ground from twenty meters and we have to postpone our plans.
I start parachuting in spring. 3 month later, I do my first base jump on the Yellow Ocean in Lauterbrunnen - my legs have never shaken like that before!
2006Patagonia: Shooting of the movie »To The Limit«, with no success worth mentioning.
Second attempt at breaking the speed record of 2:48:55 hours on the Nose, again while shooting the movie »To The Limit«. While going for the record I take a fall at the so called Groove and get injured. We fail again.
My wedding: I marry Marion, now it’s official!
Alexander und I are awarded the Bayrischen Sportpreis (»Bavarian sports award«) as »Botschafter des Bayrischen Sports« (»Bavarian sports ambassadors«).
Tre Cime Project: 3 routes und 2 BASE jumps together with Dean Potter. First route: Ötzi trifft Yeti (VIII+) on Cima Piccola, team redpoint at night. First jump from Cima Piccola as it gets light. 2. route: Phantom der Zinne (IX+) on Cima Grande, team redpoint, then BASE jump. 3. route: the Swiss Route (IX-) on Cima Ovest.During a fall I get injured on the first pitch. I tear a tendon. We failed. Surgery and three months of recovery.
2007Philomea is born, our third child and a girl.
The movie »To The Limit« is a great success despite our failure to break the record.
Award of Bayrischer Filmpreis for the »Best Documentary«
The Nose-Record is broken. Alexander and I climb the 1.000 meters of granite in 2 hours 45 minutes und 45 seconds, El Capitan, Yosemite
Second attempt on the Tre Cime Project in the Dolomites. While training I had a hard landing in the talus below Cima Grande, which put an end to the season again. Compartment syndrome on my left thigh, surgery and recovery.
2008First ascent of the Silla West Face, El Bastardo (VII/A2) in Patagonia with Mario Walder, Stefan Siegrist and Alexander
Cerro Standhardt, Festerville (VII+) with Mario Walder and Peter Ordner
Another attempt at the Tre Cime Project. Success this time! After 22 hours and over 50 pitches of up to 5.12+ I reach my goal, the summit of Cima Piccola.
Successful start and cooperation with the brand Adidas.
Expedition to Antarctica, Queen Maudland. Holtanna West face, Eiszeit (VII+/A3), Holtanna north buttress, Skywalk (VI), Ulvetanna west buttress, The Sound of Silence (VII+/A2) with Stefan Siegrist, Alexander and Max Reichel (Camera)
Film »Eiszeit«
2009Book »Eiszeit«, coffee table book about our Antarctica expedition in 2008.
Expedition to Pakistan, Karakoram, Nameless Tower. First redpoint ascent of Eternal Flame (5.13a) with Alexander, Mario Walder und Franz Hinterbrandner (Camera)
Film »Eternal Flame«
2010Ferrero produces the ad for »Milchschnitte« with us in Bariloche – as successors of the Klitschko-Brothers.
Alexander and I climb on Stoanmandl on the Loferer Steinplatte (X/8b) und begin the project Karma.
2011Our planned trip to Patagonia has to be canceled on short notice. A kidney cancer is suspected and I get surgery. I am super lucky: the tumour is bening! Life is good! My luckiest moment!
Attempt at redpointing Karma (XI-), Loferer Steinplatte. Unfortunately I am not totally fit after the surgery. The story »Karma« is filmed as a 3D documentary.
2012Baffin Island, Mount Asgrad, South Tower, first free ascent of Bavarian Direct (X-/8a+) along the Bayrische Diretissima with a Team Free Ascent. Together with Alexander and Mario Walder as well as Max Reichel and Franz Hinterbrandner (both camera)
Film »Bavarian Direct«. The whole story is also available as a Magalog, Adidas-Outdoor.
2013Patagonia, Fitz Roy, North face along the Tehuelche (VIII/A0) with Mario Walder
Cerro Standhardt (for a third time), Festerville (VII+), with Much Mayr, Hansjörg Auer, Mario Walder and then retreat in a storm.
End of July I am back in Patagonia with Stefan Siegrist and Dani Arnold. Together with Tibu Villavicencio we climb the west face, Ferrari, of Cerro Torre for it’s third winter ascent.
Tick List
Rauhnachtstanz, VI+ – First ascent, redpoint
Utopia,VIII+ – First ascent, redpoint
Vom Winde Verweht, X- – First ascent, redpoint
Scaramouche, X- – First ascent, redpoint
Violent Femme, X – First ascent, redpoint
Prinzess and the Hero, X+ – Second redpoint ascent
End of Silence, X+ – First ascent, redpoint
Shogun, XI- – Second redpoint ascent
Zeringmosong, VII/A3 – First ascent
El Capitan, Yosemite
El Nino, 5.13.c – First ascent, redpoint
Shivling (6.543 M)
Shiva´s Line, VII/A4 – First ascent
El Capitan, Yosemite
Golden Gate, 5.13b – First ascent, redpoint
Ogre III (6.870 M)
South pillar, VIII/A2 – First ascent
Ogre (7.285 M)
South east pillar, VIII/A2 – Second ascent
Adrelanin, XI – Second redpoint ascent
El Capitan, Yosemite
Zodiac, 5.13d – First redpoint ascent
Schleier Wasserfall
Dolphins, XI- – First ascent, redpoint
El Capitan, Yosemite
Zodiac, 5.12 a/A2, Speed record in 1:51:34 hours
Traverse Cerro Standhart, Punta Heron, Torre Egger, VII+/90°
El Capitan, Yosemite
Nose, 5.12a/A2 – Speed record in 2:45:45 hours
El Bastardo, VII/A2 – First ascent
»Tre Cime – Base & Climb«: Alpenliebe (IX), Basejump, Phantom der Zinne (IX+), Basejump, Ötzi trifft Jeti (VIII+) – Redpoint in 22 hours
Eiszeit, VII+/A3 – First ascent
Sound of Silence, VII+/A2 – First ascent
Eternal Flame, IX+ – First redpoint ascent
Loferer Steinplatte
Stoamandl, X – First redpoint ascent
Mount Asgard, Baffin Island
Bavarian Direct, X- – First redpoint ascent
Cerro Torre (3.128 M)
West face/Ferrari, V/90° – Third winter ascent