Huber Solos f8b

We sit here on the sun bleached red bank, looking over to the waterfall and an enormous ice-mushroom, which had formed just below it. It is one of those rare sunny winter days when you can forget the usual winter clothes and climb in just a t-shirt and shorts in the exposed amphitheatre of the Schleierwasser fall. The day before, Alexander Huber had asked me if I had time to take a few pictures of him, while the conditions were good. During the walk in he inform me of his real goal which was to attempt the first free solo of Opportunist. I had known for a while that Alexander had wanted to free solo this 8b but never thought I would be there to witness the event. Opportunist follows the diagonal line between the extreme classics ´White Winds´ and ´Cool You Foot Man´. Originally climbed by Jena Minh Thin in 1996 it has become a classic route of this grade on the Schleierwasser fall. I was expecting a highly concentrated and focused climber preparing himself for the ultimate challenge and adrenalin rush. But all I saw was the usual joking Alexander, whose only worry was to decide whether he should wear a woollen hat that made him look like a ****** which I had brought. After he had put away the hat he turned to me and asked if I was ready. Before I could lift my camera to my eye and focus the telephoto lens I had missed the first moves. Through the small view finder I watched him do move after move with the precision of a Swiss movement. With each meter I began to realize the enormous concentration and perfection required to perform each move. After 12 metres of hard climbing Alexander reached the crux sequence, which requires a long reach from a poor undercling. Most climbers reach this section shaking with fatigue but Alexandra looked perfectly composed and dismissed the dynamic moves with ease. After just three minutes the show was over, the pictures taken and the hat was again the centre of the jokes.Report by Michael Meisl