Born 1969 in Giessen, grew up in the neighboring community of Heuchelheim. According to a historical quotation, a man should plant a tree and build a house in his lifetime. I fulfill this dream in the years 2001/2002. However, I'm not building a new house, I want something old, a yard with a barn and a garden, with lots of nooks and crannies, I can't resist the charm of crumbling plaster and historic brick walls. A little vacation ambience around the own four walls. Thanks to the tireless efforts of my father, who is a talented craftsman, I can put this idea into practice. Since 2002 I live in Niederweidbach in the municipality of Bischoffen in the central Hessian Lahn-Dill district.
My professional center was a print shop. In 1986 I start an apprenticeship as a typesetter, a profession that no longer exists today. Later I work as a printing plate manufacturer and in reprographics, books, magazines and telephone directories are my daily bread. The industry is still in a constant state of flux, and the digitalization of production began much earlier here than elsewhere – and so, after a stopover as a technical editor in 2002, I ended up in the prepress department of daily newspaper production. Just right for me, constantly new and varied tasks. In my eyes, there is nothing more boring than having to do the same things every day, both professionally and privately. In this context I also design some pages myself, editorially and photographically, you can find a small selection from this time in the Publications menu. It is an unforgettable and formative time, in which I learn an infinite amount, practically as well as interpersonally, in the midst of many great colleagues, with whom I enjoy working passionately. But one day the time comes for a new start. On 28. December 2018 I have my last day of work at the company after almost 33 years, one door closes, a new one opens…
Those who take pictures get more out of life… Every now and then I need creative tasks – and this is the motto I have made my own. Photography for me is much more than just taking a picture, it's a passion to capture beautiful moments creatively. For me, pictures are the diary of all the impressions I perceive every day. My first camera is a small Minox 35GL, given to me by my father. In 1989 I buy my first analog SLR camera, a Minolta X700. I first got into digital photography in 2008 with a Nikon D300, and since 2018 I've been shooting with a Nikon D500.
I owe my passion for the mountains to my parents. Even in the 1970s, as a young boy driving through Austria, I admire the high peaks to the left and right of the road, it looks very different and much wilder there than in my home in central Hesse. For many years we spend our summer vacation on a cozy little farm in the Carinthian mountains. While my parents tend to prefer a beach vacation, over the years I've become more and more curious about what's around the next bend in the road or over the next hill. A hiking signpost in front of the accommodation promises many interesting, but previously unknown places, alpine pastures or viewpoints. When I am 12 or 13 years old, my parents let me go, all alone I boot through lonely woods, on my way to new destinations, all of them to be explored. An early and formative experience, but one that has lost none of its appeal to this day. This is how it all started…
As a teenager I later participate in various youth camps at the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and in Riccione, Italy. Conclusion: recreational vacation by the sea was and is simply not my world, what some people consider recreation is pure boredom for me. I find a hiking trip in the Bavarian Forest with 10 long daily stages with the village priest much more exciting, I am only 15 years old at this time.
At some point I will also grow up, at the age of 19 I have my first car. One of the first trips on my own leads me to the Cevennes, a small mountain range in the French Massif Central. A region that does not let me go in the following 15 years, almost every corner I explore on foot or with packed bicycle. In 1996 I go to Norway for six weeks in a 17 year old VW bus. In the Alps I am mainly in Ticino and Valais (CH), twice I run the Tour Mont Blanc (CH/F/I), in 1998 the Italian part of the Tour Monte Rosa (CH/I). From an early age, I have been fascinated by the Western Alps, much more than the Northern and Eastern Alps, which are very well developed for tourism, and the hype associated with them, not to mention the environmental and construction sins that are omnipresent in some places when it comes to developing the countless ski areas. A total of five times I am drawn to the island of Corsica, where in 1991 I have my first experience of multi-day hut hikes. In 1999 and 2000 I undertake some bicycle trips through Scotland, Ireland and Southern France. Later I quickly discarded this new idea of traveling, I just feel more comfortable when I'm moving slowly, when you're moving too fast you even often overlook the essentials. In the winter of 2001, I pack a large and, to date, the heaviest backpack I have carried in my life for an extraordinary trip to Patagonia in South America. Six weeks I am on the road in the National Parks Nahuel Huapi, Puyehue, Los Glaciares and Torres del Paine, an unforgettable journey through a completely different world.
It was only in 2003 that I discovered the Alps of Piedmont, on a one-week hike on the Percorsi Occitani, a long-distance trail in the Valle Maira in the Italian province of Cuneo. Two years later, I walk the first stages of the GTA (Grande Traversata delle Alpi), a long-distance hiking trail that leads from the Swiss border to Ventimiglia on the Mediterranean in 65 daily stages. Year after year I walk on some stages on the GTA, always further south, getting to know a completely new and different alpine region, which does not let me go until today. The omnipresent silence and seclusion, mountain villages where time seems to have stopped, alpine valleys without ski circus and mass tourism, this is exactly where I feel at home. Having walked almost all the GTA stages over the years, I then return to numerous Piedmontese Alpine valleys crossed by the long-distance trail to explore them in more detail. In this context I have been particularly interested in the Valsesia, the Valli di Lanzo and the Valle Maira. Not to forget the many hikes in the years 2009-2014 in the Valli Ossolane and in the Parco Nazionale Val Grande, today the largest wilderness area in the Alps. On my hikes I meet countless great people, they are encounters that you do not forget so quickly. It is the alpine herdsman milking cows, the authentic mountain dweller, the simple people in the mountain villages, hut keepers, operators of accommodations or restaurants or simply like-minded people who accompany one a part of the common way. Friendships are born from many an encounter, they are lasting, despite distance in time and space, but when you return one day you immediately feel at home, these are formative experiences for which I am infinitely grateful.
2. January 2019. I take a big step and move into a second home in Val Grande di Lanzo, the northernmost of the three Lanzo valleys in the province of Turin. I rent a small hut in an isolated tiny settlement at an altitude of 1390 m, not far from the main ridge of the Alps with its mountains reaching up to 3677 m, which separates Italy and France. At times I am the only permanent resident there. For half my life I've been spinning the thought of being allowed to stay in the mountains for longer than just the duration of a vacation trip, now this dream is becoming a reality. But not only that, the desire to live close to my companion Lili motivated me to this step. A completely new and different life is waiting for me, let's tackle it step by step. Little by little I explore the Valli di Lanzo and the neighboring valleys of Valle dell'Orco, Valle Sacra, Valchiusella and Val di Susa. Perhaps a whole lifetime is not enough to discover all the beauties that these valleys have to offer. About every three months I return to Germany for a few days or weeks. There are still my roots, my house, my parents and relatives, many friends and good contacts, which I naturally want to keep.
1. April 2020: The next big step. I decide to stay in Italy and to turn my passionate hobby into a profession… Freely following the motto: share what you like with interested like-minded people. It is the final departure into a new era… Andrà tutto bene!