Wolfgang Güllich

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Wolfgang Güllich
Bild auf dem Gedenkstein fuer Guellich (retuschiert).jpg
Wolfgang Güllich on the route Ghettoblaster in Frankenjura.
Personal information
Born(1960-10-24)October 24, 1960
DiedAugust 31, 1992(1992-08-31) (aged 31)
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight68 kg (150 lb)[1]
Climbing career
Type of climberSport climbing
Highest grade
Known forFirst man to climb 8b (5.13d), 8b+ (5.14a), 8c (5.14b) and 9a (5.14d)
Updated on 13 May 2013.

Wolfgang Güllich (24 October 1960 - 31 August 1992) was a German rockclimber, known for being one of the greatest sport climbers of his generation and pushing the boundaries of climbing grades.

Climbing career[edit]

He first started climbing on the Sandstone-rocks of the 'Südpfalz'. Soon he became one of the best climbers in this region and made the first free ascent of Jubiläumsriss (VII-) at the age of 16. He travelled to the Elbsandsteingebirge, and to the Shawangunks and Yosemite Valley, US, where he could climb most of the top routes of each area, including a 2nd ascent of Grand Illusion (5.13b/c). Later he moved to the Frankenjura (Germany) and created a great number of hard climbing routes such as:

Güllich added several grades to the grading system. In fact, with the exception of Ben Moon's Hubble (the world's first 8c+), Wolfgang was responsible for 4 consecutive step-ups, with the world's first 8b (Kanal im Rücken, 1984), 8b+ (Punks in the Gym, 1985), 8c (Wallstreet, 1987), and 9a (Action Directe, 1991). However, it is important to note that this exception only exists on the French grade system, while for the UIAA system that Güllich himself used, the four steps were consecutive without exception (X, X+, XI-, XI).

While training for Action Directe, Güllich invented the modern training technique of campus boarding to prepare his fingers for the grueling overhung crimps. He hung the first campus board at a Nürnberg gym in 1988, and made the first ascent three years later. He worked with his friend and fellow climber Jerry Moffatt who found that the power training greatly improved a climber's endurance.[6][2][7]

In addition to his sport climbing endeavours, Güllich put up the first ascents of iconic routes like Eternal Flame (IX- A2) in the Karakoram[8] and Riders on the Storm (IX A3) in Patagonia.[9] The boldness of these routes showed that he excelled at difficult mountain routes as well as one-pitch sports climbs.

He broke his back falling off the Master's Edge at Millstone Quarry in Derbyshire, England[10] but when he recovered, in 1986, he became the first man to free solo Separate Reality, 7a (5.11d), a twenty-foot horizontal crack in an overhanging roof in Yosemite National Park, USA.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 1990 he met his future wife Anette, whom he married one year later.

He was a climbing double for Sylvester Stallone in the 1993 movie Cliffhanger, along with Ron Kauk.[12][2]

On August 29, 1992 Wolfgang fell asleep at the wheel of his car and veered off the Autobahn between Munich and Nuremberg as he made his way home from an interview. Two days later he died in a hospital in Ingolstadt, never having regained consciousness.


"A man doesn't go to drink coffee after climbing, coffee is integral part of the climbing."

— Wolfgang Güllich

"If climbing is an art, then creativity is its main component."[13]

— Wolfgang Güllich

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Historical Performances in Chin-ups, Pull-ups, Levers, and Crosses
  2. ^ a b c "On the anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Güllich". Vertical Life. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Amadeus Schwarzenegger" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Wallstreet" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Action directe" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  6. ^ "The Campus Board" (PDF). Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Jerry Moffatt: from the Campus Board to early sports climbing training". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Eternal Flame". planetmountain.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Riders on the Storm". planetmountain.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  10. ^ Matt Heason (June 2010). "Millstone - Quarried Grit". ukclimbing.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Heinz Zak solos Yosemite's Separate Reality". planetmountain.com. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  12. ^ Bill Stall. "Making a Movie Out of a Mountain : Climbers Give High Marks to 'Cliffhanger's' Realistic High-Altitude Action Sequences". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  13. ^ Interview on wolfgangguellich.com, last sentence, last page [of 4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Güllich, Wolfgang; Kubin, Andreas (1989). Sportklettern heute: Technik - Taktik - Training (in German). Bruckmann. ISBN 9783765420535.
  • Hepp, Tilmann (1993). Wolfgang Güllich. Leben in der Senkrechten (in German). Rosenheim: Rosenheimer. ISBN 3-475-52747-2. (Biography)
  • Hepp, Tilmann; Thomas "Balli" Ballenberger (2006). Wolfgang Güllich - Klettern heißt frei sein (in German). Stuttgart/Nürnberg: Boulder Verlag. ISBN 978-3-9811231-0-4. (Artbook)

External links[edit]