Biography

Bernd Zangerl, was born in 1978 in Flirsch am Arlberg, a small village located in the western part of Tyrol. Being surrounded by mountains it didn´t take long until small Bernd started to get drawn to the majestic, mysterious and seemingly endless world of ridges glaciers, gorges and peaks that stretched beyond his front door. 
 
Bernds grandfather was the first to the understand his nephew´s mesmerization and took him on hikes through the woods and it was under his guidance Bernd reached his first summits. The passion for mountains, rocks and summits had sparked but it wasn´t until 1994 that then 16 year old Bernd´s passion became more specific. In that very year Bernd picked up „real“ climbing with fellow friend and mountainguide Peter Grissemann. Neither the boulder nor the sportsclimbing mania had yet reached Flirsch and so Peter and Bernd did what true locals in a mountain village usually do: They went for the classic alpine walls. 
 
Despite the unavoidable  fear that haunts beginners Bernd showed great talent and managed to climb more than a few „classics“. Among them was Chamonix´s Grand Capucin via the Bonatti Route which he climbed when he was only 16 years old. A few years later while on route in the infamous Marmolada south-face Bernd had a scary encounter with an inconvenient side effect of alpine climbing: rockfall. The close call of that day was a lesson learned and led Bernd to the decision to quit his adventuresome part of climbing which terminated the strom-and-stress period of his early years as a climber.
 
But the hunger for climbing remained nevertheless. Bernd needed something new and so he switched to sports-climbing. All his energy went into it, Bernd dashed through the grades and and within two years he was one of Austrias top-climbers. With the first ascent of Tai Chi ( Lorüns/AUT ) in 1999 he climbed his first route graded 8c and by doing so became one of the youngest climbers of his time to manage this difficulty
 
While working the short and powerful moves on Tai Chi Bernd realized that it was exactly this pureness of movement that fascinated him the most. The only flaw where the rope and quickdraws which sportsclimbing required. But why not leave them away...? Yes, that´s it! Finally Bernd knew where he could ultimately come true and made another radical change in his climbing approach. From then on his rope stayed at home on climbing days and bouldering became the true passion.
 
Bernd, then 21 years old, was quickly fascinated by the small and relaxed boulder-community and the mellow spirit of hanging out around the blocks in the woods. Most of all he was impressed by some of the boulders that were lying around in these woods. They were stunning monuments of stone and great to look at but had one problem: Bernd couldn´t hold onto them to do just one single move. It turned out that these problems where put up by legendary swiss boulderer Fred Nicole. Bernd´s motivation sparked again and climbing these impossible looking boulders became number one on his climbing-agenda. 
In 2001 Bernd caught widespread public attention when he managed the first repeat of the hardest boulder-problem of that time: Fred Nicole´s masterpiece Dreamtime, the first boulder to be graded 8C. With this ascent, the unknown Austrian – several magazines jumped the train and gave him the nickname “the great unknown”  - suddenly stood in the limelight. Quickly becoming a household-name in the microscopic world of super hard moves Bernd soon started to put up his own masterpieces. In 2003 he was honored for his achievements by the renowned CLIMBING magazine,  and became the first european climber to win the title: „Boulderer of the Year
 
Nowadays his first ascents such as New base line (2003), Viva La Evolution (2003), Memento (2005), Anam Cara (2007) etc. are among to the world’s hardest and most sought after boulder- problems of the planet. Without exaggeration they can be called highlights of their time. With the first repeat of Dave Grahams From the dirt grows the flowers (8C) and Fred Nicole´s Entlinge (8C) in 2009, Bernd proved again his reputation as one of the top boulderers of the present. In 2013 Bernd`s topped out the line that he has always been searching for: Shantaram. Bernd regards this boulder as the highlight of his career.
Hard repeats are one satisfying thing but deep within Bernd knew that he was not only made to follow the paths of others but to discover his own. With that attitude in mind Bernd has been focusing on his own first ascents worldwide. 
 
Exploring new places and lines has always been Bernd´s basic motivation to climb. Bernd was one of those pioneers, who cleaned and developed places like Magic Wood, Silvapark Galtür and other areas in Switzerland, which are now hot spots for today´s strongmen – and women. After putting up around 700 first ascents all over the world and exploring new areas in South America, South Africa, China and Norway Bernd is currently developing a new boulder-playground in the Indian Himalaya.
 
Bernds reports and pictures graced the pages of countless magazines – climbing-specific and otherwise - around the world. Through his words and pictures he has been an strong inspiration for many climbers and non-climbers. Besides his achievements on rock Bernd has also been an active force in the community. He has organized the „Charity Bouldern“ - the biggest bouldering event - in Austria for more than 10 years and has also been the presenter of the Mountain Filmfestival in St. Anton am Arlberg. Already in 2005 Bernd made his first bouldering-movie which was filmed on 16mm: „MEMENTO". A Boulder Life Line“ was one of the best selling bouldering-movies of that time. It won four different film festivals, and 10 year after it`s realease it hasn´t lost it´s fascination and is still eye-candy oft he sweetest kind. In the last decade Bernd took part on different DVD Production`s and recently produced different formats for TV stations
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