Wolfgang Güllich

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Wolfgang Güllich
Bild auf dem Gedenkstein fuer Guellich.jpg
Personal information
Nationality German
Born (1960-10-24)October 24, 1960
Died August 31, 1992(1992-08-31)
Website www.wolfgangguellich.com
Climbing career
Type of climber Sport climbing
Highest grade
Known for
  • First 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 born in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and is widely considered to be one of the best sport climbers in history.


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 (FA by Toni Yaniro). Later he moved to the Frankenjura and created a great number of hard climbing routes such as:

  • Kanal im Rücken, X- 8b (5.13d) (1984), first 8b (5.13d) in history
  • Punks in the Gym, X 8b+ (5.14a) (1985, Mount Arapiles, Australia), first 8b+ (5.14a) in history
  • Amadeus Schwarzenegger, X (1986)[1]
  • Wallstreet, XI-, 8c (5.14b) (1987), first 8c (5.14b) in history[2]
  • Action Directe XI, 9a (5.14d) (1991), first 9a (5.14d) in history, still considered one of the hardest routes worldwide[3]

Thus 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, Apr 1985), 8c (Wall street, 1987), and 9a (Action Directe, Aug 1991). Güllich also invented the modern training technique of campus boarding in order to climb Action Directe.

He was also responsible for first ascents of routes like Eternal Flame (IX- A2) in the Karakoram[4] and Riders on the Storm (IX A3) in Patagonia.[5] 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[6] but when he recovered climbed Separate Reality in Yosemite National Park, USA (1986). Climbing without a rope, he negotiated a twenty-foot horizontal crack in an overhanging roof.[7]

In 1990 he became acquainted with Anette, whom he married one year later.

He was a climbing double for Sylvester Stallone in the 1993 movie Cliffhanger. On August 29, 1992 Wolfgang's car veered off the Autobahn between Munich and Nuremberg. 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."

— Wolfgang Güllich



  1. ^ "Amadeus Schwarzenegger" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Wallstreet" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Action directe" (in German). frankenjura.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Eternal Flame". planetmountain.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Riders on the Storm". planetmountain.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Matt Heason (June 2010). "Millstone - Quarried Grit". ukclimbing.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Heinz Zak solos Yosemite's Separate Reality". planetmountain.com. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  8. ^ 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]