Along the Streif
In mid-October, East Tyrolean mountaineer Andreas "Andy" Holzer visited us in Kitzbühel as part of a photo shoot for his partner Dachstein. A hike over the Streif it should be. Basically not too difficult, nevertheless it was a more than impressive experience for our hiking guide Engelbert, who was here with us.
Andy has been blind since birth. Nevertheless, he conquers the mountain world. He spends over 200 days a year in the mountains, whether climbing or hiking. Our hiking guide Engelbert tells in his own words about a very special hike over the Streif. Andreas "Andy" Holzer was born in Lienz in 1966. After the compulsory school years, he trained as a therapeutic masseur and spa therapist. When Andy is not climbing the mountains, he is also a passionate musician.
Climb the Streif
Andy and I climb the Streif - this was the task! What is the motivation and challenge for an extreme athlete, as he is one, I ask myself. I already knew Andy from before and also had intensive conversations with him. At the Goingen mountain films, for example, over 10 years ago. At that time I was already very impressed by his achievements on the mountain and his always positive thinking.
For me, Andy has hardly changed in all these years - his mental strength has increased and his moving on without seeing us is even safer. Almost uncanny how naturally he moves in the terrain.
It runs like clockwork
"Andy, what do you want today or what do you expect?" I asked him. "Well, the Streif uphill, is the wildest downhill in the World Cup and I would like to experience and get to know with my feet and you help me," Andy answered me full of energy. "Yes of course and how can I help you?" I asked excitedly. "You go ahead and I hold on to your backpack and through your movements I know where I have to climb" said Andy confidently. No sooner said than done!
Will this go well, I asked myself? After a short time I knew. It went like clockwork. "You can go faster, you don't have to sneak around like that," amused Andy.
Listening on the mountain
As we stood at the fastest section of the Streif, my companion had everything explained to him in detail and scanned the steepness on all sides with the hiking poles. "Ok, there the boys have already what to perform" said Andy impressed. "Oh yes, now it's quiet enough. I am now following you by means of my hearing, I can distinguish exactly where you are going. I now know your walking pattern. Tell me the points of the compass and when a high heel comes, give a short notice. If I walk too close to the edge so that I could fall off, give me a knock with the sticks." After these instructions from Andy, everything went perfectly, soon we were beautifully matched. We were even able to talk during the hike together.
Mousetrap, Larch shot, Seidlalmsprung
At the Hausbergkante, we wanted to go now, the line of the race track. Andy wanted to know exactly practice the course. Then I had an idea, I took Andy's arms, put me behind him, now we drove by means of arm movements the track sections. Andy was thrilled, now he could get his picture of the most famous race track in the world.
We were both beaming because it was really fun! This was now practiced until the end. Lärchenschuss, Seidlalmsprung, Alte Schneise, Gschöss, Steilhang, Mausefalle and Startthang were walked on the racing line. "Hats off to the guys who drive down here" said Andy fully impressed.
Andy got to know the Streif in his own way and I was allowed to get to know a different way of seeing. I admire him, how he has trained his senses through hard training to be able to master such challenges in the mountains. I take off my hat!
In winter we will meet again and then we will ski down the Streif. I am already looking forward to this very special ski day!