Felix is one of the best German sport climbers, a fact confirmed both by his recent ascent of the world famous test piece, La Rambla (9a+) at Siurana and the remarkable volume of French grade 8 routes he has climbed on crags across Germany, France and Spain.
Felix grew up close to Elbsandstein and was introduced to climbing by his father who is also a climber.
“When I was younger, I was brought nearly every week to the cliff," Felix recalls. "Of course at first I was more playing than climbing. Later on I started climbing and following the routes which my father had led.”
The sandstone crags of East Germany have very specific climbing ethics, as Felix explains:
“The Elbsandstein is quite an old and traditional area. So the approach to climbing is very different than in other sport climbing areas. It is forbidden to use chalk and metal gear for protection. The protection on the routes ranges from ‘ok’ to ‘mortal/kamikaze’. Even the ‘ok’ routes are still quite exciting since there is a rule that the minimum distance between the ring bolts has to be a least 3 metres.”
This early apprenticeship gave Felix a strong grounding in the adventurous side of climbing, but his obsession really took hold when he led his first sport route during a trip to Valdurance in France. He started to climb more regularly, both outdoors and indoors. His fascination with climbing history also grew.
“I read all about the influential climbers, people like Kurt Albert, John Bachar, Patrick Edlinger, Jerry Moffatt, Ben Moon, Wolfgang Güllich and so on, and which routes can be considered as milestones," says Felix. "I developed a passion for finding out the possible meanings for the route names. Sometimes it is an analogy, for example, The Face [Stefan Glowacz’s famous route in the Frankenjura], and sometimes it is historical/provocative for example, Statement of Youth [Ben Moon’s classic 8a at Lower Pen Trwyn], Sometimes the meaning is unfathomable.”