Marko Prezelj [Photo] Giulio Malfer

Marko Prezelj

Posted on: September 1, 2004


I started in the "old school" of alpinism, made many mistakes and soon learned that the pursuit is both complex and immeasurable. Curiosity was the impulse that first brought me to alpinism, and it leads me still.

In climbing, style is my first concern. The decision-making process is the challenge. Doubt and uncertanity are the essence; trying to balance them with my choices is the passion. No regrets is the rule. When I know the outcome, the game is different and in the end less fun. The experience is altered when I encounter humanity in any form, be it tracks, slings or pitons.

Alpinism tests the limits of my strength, intuition, personality, character, emotion and creative spirit. Every test is different. How will I resolve the logistical puzzle of a particular climb? Will I be able to figure out the route, the moves? Will I be able to adapt to the conditions, the weather and above all to the friends with whom I share the experience? Which compromises will I accept, and at what cost?

It is considered normal to avoid the uncertain, the unexpected and the unknown, but these are the catalysts for human progress, and they're my catalysts as well. At the same time I'm aware of the constant influence of commercial interests. Money and publicity can destroy personal ethics in an instant, justifying the means with the end. What is success? This is the ultimate question, the answer to which I'm still seeking.

Marko Prezelj: curriculum vitae

1972: Kamniski vrh (1260m), Kamnik Alps, first climb.

1982: Joins the Kamnik climbing club.

1985: Passes Kamnik climbing club exam; becomes certified alpinist.

1987: Lhotse Shar (8400m), south face, Nepal Himalaya, attempt, to 7300 meters. First climbs in the French Alps.

1988: Cho Oyu (8201m), north face, Tibet Himalaya, new route.

1989: Shishapangma (8046m), south face, attempt, to 6500 meters. Kang Ri (6240m), southwest ridge, solo ascent. Tibet Himalaya.

1990: Numerous winter ascents in the Slovenian mountains.

1991: Kangchenjunga South (8476m), Southwest Ridge, Nepal Himalaya, new route, with Andrej Stremfelj. Receives inaugural Piolet d'Or award.

1992: Marmolada, Fish Route (ED+, 850m), Dolomites, Italy, second winter ascent, with Janez Kesnar. Various free ascents of aid routes in the Slovenian mountains. Ascents in the Tibet Himalaya: Peak 6301m, first ascent. Menlungtse Main Summit (7181m), first ascent. Both in alpine style with Andrej Stremfelj.

1993: Wyoming Sheep Ranch (VI A4 5.8, 670m), El Capitan, Yosemite, California, fifth ascent, with Silvo Karo.

1994: Marries Katja Kladnik. Son Tim born. Completes chemical engineering studies at Ljubljana University, Slovenia.

1995: North Tower of Paine, Born under the Wondering Star (VI 5.10a A4-, 750m), Chilean Patagonia, new route, with Andrej Stremfelj.

1996: Ascents in the Nepal Himalaya: Peak 5710m and Peak 5750m, both with Andrej Stremfelj. Suffers compound fracture of left ankle. One-year recovery.

1997: Frees various aid routes in the Slovenian mountains.

1998: Winter ascents in the French Alps: Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), Direttissima (ED/ED+, 900m), first winter ascent. Grand Pilier d'Angle (4245m), Cecchinel-Nomine (TD+, 900m) and Mont Blanc (4807m), Freneysie-Pascale (ED, 700m), enchainment. Both with Thierry Schmitter. Grandes Jorasses (4110m), Croz Pillar (TD+/ED1, 1000m), with Matjaz Wiegele and Andrej Stremfelj. Ascents in the Tibet Himalaya: Porong Ri East Summit (7284m), east face, new route. Descends via northeast ridge, then climbs Yebokangal Ri West Summit (7332m), north ridge, first ascent, alpine style, with Thierry Schmitter.

1999: Numerous free ascents of aid routes in the Slovenian mountains. Ascents in Tibet: Gyachung Kang (7952m), north face, new route. Siguang Ri Shar (6998m), south face, new route, second ascent of summit. Siguang Ri (7309m), north face/east ridge, new route. Peak 6700m (Zero Peak), east face/southeast ridge, first ascent. All alpine style, with Andrej Stremfelj.

2000: Son Bor born. Spantik (7027m), Golden Pillar, Karakoram, Pakistan, second ascent, with variations, alpine style, with Manu Pellissier, Manu Guy and Attila Ozsvath.

2001: Ascents in the Alaska Range: Mini- Moonflower (ca. 3200m), Luna (V M7 WI6+ A0, 670m), first ascent. Mt. Hunter (4441m), Moonflower Buttress (VI M7 WI6, 1371m [to cornice bivy]), first free ascent. Denali (6193m), Light Traveler (VI M7+ WI6, 2590m), first ascent, fifty-one hours round-trip. All alpine style, with Stephen Koch. Numerous free ascents of aid routes in the Slovenian mountains. Nilkanth (6596m), West Ridge (TD, 1500m), Garhwal Himalaya, India, second ascent, alpine style, with Matic Jost.

2002: Winter ascents in the French Alps: Aiguille des Pelerins (3318m), Beyond Good and Evil (V M6, 600m), first free ascent, five hours. Aiguille Sans Nom (3982m), There Goes the Neighborhood (V M6+, 800m), second free ascent. Both alpine style, with Stephen Koch. Free ascents of aid routes in the Slovenian mountains.

2003: Biarchedi Peak (6781m), Karakoram, Pakistan, ascent, with Steve House and Matic Jost.

2004: North Twin (12,200'), House- Prezelj Variation (5.9 A2) to the Lowe-Jones (VI 5.10 A3, 4,500', 1974), Canadian Rockies, Canada, ascent, with Steve House.

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