A BRIEF CHAT WITH JOSEF HILPOLD
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.