The element water in all its manifestations has influenced Albert Leichtfried’s everyday life since he was a child—as an active ski racer, a frenetic windsurfer, a qualified meteorologist, an ice climber or while working as a mountain guide. Albert lives together with his wife Vroni, his dogs and horses on a farm in Ochsengarten, Oetztal at 1800m. He tries to find the optimum balance between his passions, and again and again his passion leads him to the search for the untouched. His journeys have mostly been successful—Albert has accomplished numerous difficult first ascents on rock and ice and is known as one of the best ice climbers of his generation.
Hometown: Lunz, Austria
Height: 180 cm
Any project where my mission helped to develop climbing.
When did you first start climbing/skiing?
Skiing since 2.5 (36 years), climbing since 18 (20 years).
What do you most enjoy about your sport?
Being outside in nature and trying to deal with all the forces of nature—trying to survive, the oldest need of human being.
How do you define success?
To simply do what your inner passion wants to do.
What are you most proud of, either in life, your sport or both?
To be able to ever do what I wanted to do, no matter what it was, with full support of my family.
Who are your heroes?
Horses—they totally live in the moment, do not have any concern about the time or hurry, they live there lives without too much thinking about what could be or what could happen. They just go their way, 100% clear and present.
What inspires you?
This is a lifetime development which changes with getting older. At the moment it is no longer the big numbers in climbing, skiing or other achievements, it is the way people live their lives—many ways do not inspire me, some few are worth looking at it and trying to learn for your own way of life.
What are your hobbies outside of your sport?
Horsemanship, breeding horses, running a farm.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
What are your hidden talents?
It seems that I have some talent to run a farm with everything you need for such a big challenge.
Tell us about your most favorite place in the world:
If you travel the world you can find endless places where nature is just amazing, but every time you come back home, to family, to all my animals, to all my friends, I know that is my favorite place in the world.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Farmer, later ski racer.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and why?
I am happy how things developed. But it would have been easier to have started climbing and horse riding the same time as skiing.
Tell us about a time in your life when you have been scared:
Always when something happens I did not know enough about in advance, some scary moments have been coming up. My first turn on snowboard, the first looping on surfboard, the first time trotting on a horse or just the first time being in the darkness without seeing. It is the knowledge, experience and skills that form someone being able to do something without fear.
Describe your perfect day:
Having fun with my family and horses at the farm after an amazing day out climbing.
How would your friends describe you?
A person who will always try to stay on his way, despite the consequences.