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Rudolf Fehrmann (1886–1947), a German, was a pioneer rock climber at Elbsandsteingebirge near Dresden. He began climbing at the age of 17 and was soon at the leading edge of the fledgling sport. He and Oliver Perry-Smith, an American college student and fellow climber living in Dresden, became as close as brothers and formed a team which pushed the limits of risk and difficulty on the steep sandstone spires, making many first ascents. Early on, Fehrmann exerted leadership in both climbing ethics and environmental protection. He imagined the purest of climbing routes as "great lines", ascending directly up steep faces and cracks and sometimes presenting considerable difficulties, and he encouraged the use of rope-soled slippers and a minimum of metal protective devices in order to avoid destroying the fragile rock.
Fehrmann climbed in the Alps and Dolomites, as well, creating new routes there. In 1908, he published a climbing guide for the sandstone spires near Dresden, his favorite area, entitled "Der Bergsteiger in der Sächsischen Schweiz". But sometimes great climbers are not as discriminating in their choice of politics as in their choice of mountains. Fehrmann joined the NSDAP in its early stages, and became a Party functionary. As a lawyer, he served during WWII as a military judge. He was able, during this time, to work out accessibility issues regarding the rocks along the Elbe, assisting the climbing community. He was captured at the end of the war and interned in an East German war prisoner camp, where he died a natural death at the age of 61 in 1947.