From climbing tough terrain to summit 8,000m mountains, alpinist David Göttler has explored some of the most incredible alpine regions across the globe. But for him, it’s the vulnerability, spiritual atmosphere and emotional connection with the mountains that really make him feel alive. So we asked David how he prepares himself for these moments and the essentials needed to get the most out of his alpine experiences.
So David, tell us a little bit about yourself and your sport. What inspired you to get into it in the first place?
I'm an alpinist and I love mountaineering because it’s a combination of so many things. The personal challenge between nature and myself, sharing unique moments with friends, being able to discover and explore new places all over the planet – I find peace and happiness in that.
What are your alpine essentials for this winter season?
There are a few things that I always take with me on my adventures. My Summit L5 Jacket and BIB – I absolutely rely on these throughout the season. Then the Summit L1 Trousers and Shirt, purely because they provide the perfect protection from harsh conditions and keep me warm, but still give me the freedom to do what I want to do. The Verto backpack is a must – it’s so light and just perfect for fast alpinism. If the Verto is too small I know I can rely on the Shadow backpack. I’ll never leave the house without my talisman necklace around my neck - it keeps an eye on what I’m doing on every expedition. And finally a GPS watch so that I can monitor all the training and preparation for my upcoming expeditions.
Which items of clothing can you not live without when on expedition?
The outer shell is so important. Whether it’s a hardshell or a softshell, the layer that separates you and nature is the main item for me. Without it you’d just be wet and cold – or both!
Any personal items you always keep with you on your trips?
The talisman necklace is one. The other is a small first aid kit. It’s only small but it’s filled up with the right stuff. Hopefully I never have to use that one!
What can you not live without?
Just being outdoors! If you took that away and locked me in a room I would go mad.
Do you have preferred weather conditions on the mountains?
Normally I would say not too hot. But if you choose the right layers, there are no bad conditions and you will have fun!
How do you prepare for winter mountaineering?
A lot of endurance training spiced up with some strength sessions. I need time to get used to the cold again at the start of the season! It’s more about little things like handling gear with gloves on and actually feeling comfortable when the temperatures are freezing cold.
Any goals you’d like to achieve this winter?
For me, it’s about getting fit and ready for my upcoming expedition in the spring. I’m based in Chamonix for the winter,, so I really don’t have an excuse if that preparation doesn’t go well! I just can’t wait to see the new snow on big faces and climbable terrain this season.
What’s on your wish list?
I must get the L1 Baselayer! Plus I’m in need of some new lightweight alpine boots to kick off the season. In terms of locations, The Kumbu Area in Nepal is right at the top of my list.
Where is your next adventure going to be and why?
In February, Herve Barmasse and myself are going to see what the Kumbu Area in Nepal looks like, the frozen waterfalls in particular. There’s hardly anyone around the area so we’re very excited to go there. We’ll also be at an early stage of pre-acclimatisation for our upcoming expedition in spring 2017, so that’ll keep us busy, too.
What advice would you give to people looking to get involved in your sport?
Get the right gear (otherwise it’s no fun, especially in winter) and start to explore! Another thing I’ve learned is that there’s no need to go to five-star locations or resorts - the start of your alpine outdoor winter career is sometimes right on your doorstep.
What are your top memories from your expeditions?
It’s hard to name them all, but I’d say summiting the 8,000m peak Makalu with three of my best friends was a very unique and special experience. Another moment I’ll always remember is how light and fast we climbed in spring 2016 on the south face of the 8,000m peak Shishapangma - even though we didn’t reach the summit, it opened up a whole new world for me.
What phrase do you live by?
Enjoy, be happy and respect.