“It’s Only Possible If You Have a Partner You Trust”
For Lena Herrmann, safety means not having to think about it. Talking to Germany’s best female climber.
Beyond the norm
What does safety when climbing mean to you?
It means having total confidence in my safety partner and being fully prepared. In addition to that, my hardware has to work perfectly. Damaged equipment is one of the biggest sources of danger. You could also put it like this: For me, safety when climbing is when I don’t actually have to think about it.
Ever had any hardware trouble?
No, I’ve been lucky. On my last vacation in France, I was on the second pitch of the rock face and wanted to turn back halfway. That meant that I had to abseil from a hook in the rock face. And on this route all the hooks were unbelievably rusty! While I was abseiling, I was just hoping that the rusty thing would hold fast. And it did, thankfully.
Naivety is the first stage towards becoming careless.
You actually started climbing when you were a child. Do climbers get a bit more careless as time goes by?
Yes, in some cases. Especially when you have a lot of experience and nothing has ever happened to you. Naivety is the first stage towards becoming careless. It happens to me when I make the drops bigger, because I have virtually no fear of falling. So I often skip some interim belays so that I can climb more efficiently. But that could actually lead to big trouble.
What would you never climb because of worries about safety?
I would never climb a route “solo,” meaning without any safety measures in place. I do get the ttraction of doing that, but for me climbing solo is the height of selfishness. I know that there are people to whom I mean a lot. And I wouldn’t want to risk hurting these people just so I can get an adrenalin rush.
As a child she accompanied her father on climbing tours. Today Lena Herrmann conquers rock faces never before climbed by a woman. Lena Herrmann, born in Hildesheim, is currently a student in Bayreuth.