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“The mountains represent a profound need: only there do I feel alive. They give me energy and inspiration.” – J. HILPOLD


In every photo or video documenting his countless adventures, we’re used to always seeing him with a contagious smile that gives no hint of the effort he’s exerted. It couldn’t be any other way, given the immense joy that can only be felt by a person who was struck — and then transported to every latitude of the planet — by a love that knows no bounds: that for the mountains.

Josef was born on March 11, 1982, in Bressanone in South Tyrol, an area where it’s hard to remain indifferent to the beauty of the peaks and majestic rock walls rising up as far as the eye can see. This is where his endless journey began — a journey that continues to take him to every peak reached by his limitless ambition. While he was still young, he learned to climb and conquered the walls of his local mountains. But his journey had just begun, and after having also reached the summits in the Western Alps, at the age of 22 he began to travel all the continents to familiarize himself with mountains of all kinds, and with them myriads of peoples and cultures. At the age of 25, Josef successfully completed the alpine guide course, and his excursions were thus enriched by a changing cast of travel companions whom he led in the discovery of the places where he fell in love with the mountains — places that continue to captivate him every time as if it were the first. The enormous effort required during the climb is a small price to pay; it’s nothing compared to the feelings experienced once the venture has been completed. The possibility of savoring inner peace and being at one with the beauty of nature is priceless.

Today, Josef has many years of experience under his belt. He has established several new routes and has summited peaks in every corner of the globe, from the Dolomites to India to Patagonia. Achievements that earned him a nomination for the “Piolet d’Or” in 2013 and that secure his place among the foremost mountaineers of recent times.



Do the mountains fill all your days, or do you find time to cultivate other pursuits?
The mountains are my great passion, and I dedicate 80 percent of my time to them. But paragliding has also always fascinated me, and for some years now I’ve been doing hike and fly or climb and fly.

Where do you want to go and what challenges would you like to tackle in the future?
I’d like to go back to Patagonia. I’ve already been there five times to establish new routes and repeat classic routes. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to motivate friends to join adventures of this kind, but more and more, I want to go back to establish new routes, even solo.
It would be exciting to explore Canada, but Baffin Island, Greenland, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan would also be great destinations.

For some years you’ve also been an instructor for aspiring alpine guides. What teachings are you trying to pass on to them?
Being an instructor and sharing your experience with future mountain guides is a beautiful thing. You’re always working with motivated young people who want to pursue their passion for the mountains.
The first thing I try to convey is the importance of always moving safely. In the mountains, and especially as an alpine guide, safety is the top priority. One thing that’s often underestimated is that you’re working with people. It’s not enough to be a good climber — you also have to have a lot of empathy for the client. At the end of the day, you can’t just have had a simple adventure, but you have to help them experience exciting moments that make them feel good.

What’s your favorite Karpos product?
The K-Performance (Highest) line is my favorite. I like the whole line because of its technical details and the lightness of the garments. In the summer in the mountains, I also like to wear the Dolada shorts and pants.


2013 established the new route “Wüstenblume” (8+) on Sasso di Santa Croce
2013 nominated for the “Piolet d’Or”
2021 established the new route “Lebe Im Jetzt” (5L plus summit exit, V+ [obligatory]) on Cima Cadin Nord Est, 2,788 m, northwest face
2022 established the new route “Snowboard” (WI5 M4), northwest face of Pordoi


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