Kurt Albert Dead at 56


9/29/10 - Kurt Albert died on September 28 as the result of injuries from a fall on a via ferrata route in Germany two days earlier.The 56-year-old was a profoundly influential climber, both at home in Germany and on big walls around the world.Albert was one of the pioneers of German sport climbing, and he is credited with inventing the idea of the redpoint, which got its name when Albert painted a small dot—a red point—at the base of routes that had been led completely free. After pushing German climbing into the ninth grade (around 5.12+/5.13-), in the Frankenjura, in the early 1980s, Albert began exploring free climbs on huge walls in the Karakoram, Patagonia, and elsewhere. He was part of the team that free-climbed the Yugoslav Route on Trango Tower in Pakistan in 1988, and two years later he and Wolfgang Güllich completed a hard new route on the same stunning formation, Eternal Flame, with only three points of aid. Albert also climbed new, mostly free routes on the huge east face of the Central Tower of Paine and on Fitz Roy in Patagonia. In more recent years, he continued to explore remote mountains and walls, establishing new routes in Greenland, Canada, Antarctica, and Venezuela.

You can find a good summary of Albert's life and accomplishments at Planet Mountain.

Coincidentally, Climbing had prepared a short interview and profile of Albert for its November issue, which has just been shipped to the printer. We decided to post this story in advance so that readers will have access to it sooner. The staff of Climbing hope the article will serve as a fitting tribute to a remarkable man, and we offer sincere condolences to Albert's family and his many friends around the world.

Date of Accident: September 25, 2010

Sources: Climbing 290, Planetmountain.com, Kurt-albert.de