Alpinist David Göttler Interview

Alpine climber David Gottler is a professional mountain guide and cameraman. Having summitted four 8000m mountains his mountaineering skills are more than proven. He has also made impressive winter climbs of famous north faces such as the Eiger, Grand Jorasse and Matterhorn. Twice attempting a K2 summit and a new route on Ama Dablam, David has been thwarted when snow and ice conditions became too risky to continue.

David Gottler, in the mountainous Khumbu region of Nepal
The North Face Alpinist David Gottler, Khumbu, Nepal

Mountaineering is for me much more than a hobby. It’s my life, my passion, always present. It fulfils and challenges me like no other activity. I love the elements: the ice, the wind, the snow. I love the feeling of exposure, being outdoors, the adventure. I value the friendship resulting from such intense encounters on the mountain. The exposure to risk, requiring the highest level of concentration and focus, with the knowledge of the consequence of an error. I’m still discovering one challenge whose acceptance means no more and no less than – to live. David Gottler

In May 2012 David Gottler went to the Himalayas where he achieved a summit on Nuptse (7861m) with legendary mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. On his blog, David describes his thoughts and feelings upon returning to base camp:

Still fully present in my mind is the descent. No fixed ropes, no one else on the mountain, which means everything is back safely. Meter by meter climbing down everything in reverse, or rappelling. Always staying focused, making no mistakes. Tedious, very tedious, but rather a little slower than once too fast!

At the moment, here and now arrived at the base camp, is continuous, that permanent smile and the euphoria in me, in my face. What it is to have been standing at the top, for an incredibly brief moment, considering the whole time ascending! Up there, on the summit of Nuptse with Gerlinde, with absolutely beautiful weather, warm, no wind, on this tiny point, a view felt all over the world! A moment of every effort to be forgotten! David Göttler, via Google Translate.

In July 2007 David Gottler achieved a summit of Broad Peak (8047 m) in the Karakoram. David recalls the moment when he reached the peak:

Then finally, the last meters. A few people are already on the summit. There is much rejoicing and celebration. All embrace. Now we too. How wonderful the last steps are. You know, now you have done it and you try to enjoy every moment as intensely as possible. The view stretches to infinity. Below us the glaciers flow like viscous crystalline honey, to the horizon, a sea of ​​mountains. Everything is enjoyment. David Göttler, via Google Translate.

David Göttler Interview

We asked David to tell us about himself, his mountaineering experiences and his plans for the future…

CheapTents: What inspired you to get into Climbing?

David Gottler: First of all my father was the decisive figure: he took me the first times to the mountains. Afterwards it came naturally, the more I was outside on the mountains, the more I needed to be there.

CheapTents: What has been your biggest sporting achievement?

David Gottler: Hard to pick one special achievement…but the 4 unsuccessful times trying to climb K2 2007 and 2009 are coming to my mind. Turning around and motivate myself again for this mystical mountain took so much more than I thought!

CheapTents: What is you biggest weakness?

David Gottler: Weakness? What is that..! No, to be serious, I am for sure far to be perfect! One thing I hate is that sometimes I should be more patient…but I work hard on myself to get the “Chi” always in the center;-)

CheapTents: When did you feel like you ‘made it’ in your field of outdoor sports? And do you feel like you’ve satisfied your goals?

David Gottler: I think this was a very slow process, there was no special identified moment. Now I can live from my passion, I’m blessed for this: to be outdoors in the mountains, that satisfied me. But I would never say that I would have satisfied my goals to the point of what I would like to reach and climb…never stop dreaming so that means I always have some goals to start training and going to try for.

David Gottler climbing Nupste mountain
Mountaineer David Gottler climbing Nupste on his 2012 expedition

CheapTents: What do you find most challenging about training?

David Gottler: To push yourself harder and faster and to feel exhausted and happy after a training session. And I like the training the most, when I have some reason like the next expedition or a hard climb in front of me…that is the best motivation. Training only for itself is not really driving me.

CheapTents: What has been your worst injury (if any) from outdoors sports and how did it happen?

David Gottler: Thanks nothing too bad until now and knock on wood that it will stay like this… but ending up in an old tree while I´ve skied off piste, which ended up in hospital to get stitches, was the worst until now.

CheapTents: What will be your most challenging climbs for next year?

David Gottler: Spring 2013 Makalu West Pillar, which is a long time dream…incredible line and 5 friends on the way, the best ingredients for a good adventure!

CheapTents: Where would you like to be in 5 years time? Main Ambitions?

David Gottler: Hope that I still go on expeditions and still have fun on all the different outdoor activities. And I hope I can share my experience with younger generations of climbers, for example in the German Alpine Program for young talented alpine climbers.

And start sailing, learning French language, improving in Yoga…so many things to do!

CheapTents: For other budding outdoor sports enthusiasts, what tips can you provide to help other compete at a higher level?

David Gottler: First of all you should have fun and enjoy in some ways what you are doing. You should be self convinced about what you do and do it for yourself and never to impress someone. That is the base for a good motivation and that makes you push your own limit and doing your sport in the end on a higher level.

David Gottler scaling an icy mountain face
David Gottler ice climbing on a recent expedition to China

CheapTents: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?

David Gottler: My Himalaya Down Overall from The North Face is one for example. When I wear it, it means to be somewhere on a high mountain and in an challenging situation. And at the moment – because right now it´s winter – I like to put on the new Lowa Ice climbing shoe ( it´s awesome!) and the Black Diamond Cyborg crampons on it…means going for a nice adventure on frozen water;-)

CheapTents: Any people or sponsors that you’d like thank?

David Gottler: First of all my girlfriend and my family! Without their support and the freedom to let me go again and again for long adventures, it wouldn´t be possible to do, what I am doing. And of course the sponsors Lowa, The North Face and Black Diamond, which have supported me already for such a long time!

CheapTents: Anything else you would like to say?

David Gottler: That the mountains and the outdoor back country offers such a bright variety of playground for all of us, that everybody can find something with the perfect fit!
Just go and look.
Respect nature, the natives and the different cultures, open your eyes to see, to feel, to smell what is all around!
And of course: always take care and come back home safe!


Thank you, David, for answering our questions and sharing your experiences with us!

David Göttler Career Highlights

  • Nuptse (7861m) via the North Ridge (this ridge’s third ascent) together with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (2012)
  • the icefalls of “Merlin” and “Krönung”, WI6, Zillertal, Austria
  • climbing the bold alpine route “Mythomania” in the home mountains of “Wilder Kaiser”
  • winter climbs of the 3 big famous north faces: Eiger, Grand Jorasse and Matterhorn
  • Ama Dablam (6856m) north face new route attempt: failed because we got stuck on the North Ridge at 6400m
  • 8000m attempts: twice on K2 (8611m) up to 8200m
  • 8000m peaks summits: Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, Dhaulagiri and Lhotse
  • “Supercanaleta” on Fitz Roy in Patagonia (2003)

Career highlights from The North Face website.

More Exciting Mountaineering Interviews

If you enjoyed this interview, why not read some of our interviews with other mountaineers and climbers?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.