In my nature
Before he was born, professional climber and psychotherapy student, Alex Luger, was among mountains. “I was on the rock face in the belly of my mom,” he says. “She climbed while she was pregnant with me.” For Alex, this early intimacy adds a psychological charge to the mountains. As a kid, he quickly learned the basics of climbing from his father. “Climbing is part of my identity and will stay with me my whole life,” he says.
But what makes Alex a great mountain athlete goes beyond parental guidance. Vision, reflection, the ability to find poise on the precipice. It’s a way of life, Alex says — or his Haltung, in German. “When I see a mountain that I think is unclimbable, I get magically attracted to it. I want to test myself. I get to encounter and connect with my surroundings,” he says. Alex sees the mountains as a question life has for him. “My answer is to try my best,” he says.
In the mountains “I can be how I want to be, because Nature doesn’t care if I’m here,” he says. For Alex, this is a nourishing feeling — the mountains are the here and the hereafter. His home away from home. With every climb he returns to the place he started, knowing it for the first time. He finds comfort. He creates his way forward.
Pitch by pitch, Alex discovers something in the mountains no one else has ever noticed. That is, the personal. “It is a place where I can decide,” he says. The lines he forges up mountains become more than just climbs. They become a way to exist. A journey.
From womb to blooming mountain athlete, Alex is now on his way into fatherhood. “With my partner pregnant, I imagine that climbing will become even more valuable because it exists with a new ratio of responsibility,” he says. Working with traumatized kids during his psychotherapy studies, Alex found climbing to be one of the most effective tools for self-regulation and a way to become more self-aware. It also carries with it the healing component of nature.
“You can only live through it once,” he reminds us — the risks, the rewards, the magnificence of being alive. “For sure I will bring my child into the mountains.” It is a new beginning. Among mountains, the rewards can be so great.