The Essentials:

Alpinist David Göttler takes us through his must-haves to prepare for an extraordinary season climbing in the mountains.


Trail runner Fernanda Maciel follows the Mountain Athletics program to prepare for her goal: to attempt the fastest female ascent of Aconcagua, the highest summit of the Americas.


From climbing tough terrains to conquering 8000m ascents, alpinist David Göttler has explored some of the most incredible summits across the globe. But for him, it’s the vulnerability, spiritual atmosphere and emotional connection with the mountains that really makes him feel alive. So we asked David how he prepares himself for these moments, and the essentials needed to make the most out of his alpine experiences.

For those that might not know, tell us a little bit about your sport and what inspired you to get into it.

I am 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 top essentials for this winter season and why?

There are a few things that I always take with me on my adventures. My Summit L5 GORE-TEX Pro Jacket and BIB – I absolutely rely on these throughout the season. and the Summit L1 pants and shirt; purely because they provide the perfect protection from harsh conditions and keep me warm, but it still gives 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 do you rely on at this time?

The outer shell is so important. Whether it’s a hardshell like the GORE-TEX Pro Jacket or a softshell for training, the layer that separates you and the nature is the main item for me. Without it you’d just be wet and cold – or both!


Any unique/emergency items you always keep with you on your trips? Why?

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!

Which ONE essential 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 the cool thing with running is there are no bad conditions. If you choose the right layers 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.

So what gear would you choose to train in?

I can’t live without the running tights and the super light GORE-TEX Trail Jacket.


Any goals you’d like to achieve this winter?

For me, it’s about getting fit and ready for my upcoming expedition in 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 5 star locations or resorts - the start of your alpine outdoor winter career is sometimes right on your doorstep…


What are your top memories/stories from your expeditions or time mountaineering?

It’s hard to name them all, but I’d say summiting the 8000m peak Makalu with 3 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 8000m peak Shishapangma - even though we didn’t reach the summit, it opened up a whole entire world for me.

What phrase do you live by?

Enjoy, be happy and respect.