Ortles – South Tyrol‘s King of the Mountains

(Servus TV, 2016)

My debut as director!

Ortles. Like an ice-clad castle its summit rises from the sublime mountainscape of western South Tyrol.

Ortles – a playground for climbers pushing the limits. For the film South Tyrolean mountain guide and professional alpinist, Christoph Hainz, Austrian extreme skier, Axel Naglich, and speed-riding pilots Armin Senoner and Guido Senoner from Val Gardena (South Tyrol) scale the mountain‘s forbidding North Face. While both speed-riding pilots will descend the vertiginous funnel of the wall by ski and parapente, Naglich and Hainz will ski down the steep Minnigerode Couloir of the South Face.

Ortles – a history of light and shadows. In his museum in Sulden, legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner recalls the climbing history of the peak. Olaf Reinstadler, mountain guide from Sulden and foremost connoisseur of the Ortles, and history teacher Melanie Platzer from Schlanders in the Val Venosta, illuminate the darkest chapter in the mountain’s history – the Great War of 1917-1918 – and visit some of the ancient battlegrounds in the heart of the Ortles massif.

Re-enactments recount the story of Austrian military geographer and polar explorer, Julius Payer, who first put the Ortles on the map in the mid-19th century – nearly losing his life in the process…

Ortles – a story of man and nature, a contradicting interplay of exploitation and concord. While Olaf Reinstadler and legendary ski racer Gustav Thöni hike the Martell Valley, they discover both: The story of the Zufritt dam shows the narrow margin between benefit and damage that comes with taming the wild waters of the mountain, while the age-old waterways of the Waal provide an example of gentle water usage.

The history of mountaineering has also often alternated between forceful conquest or climbing “by fair means”. In the final chapter of the film, Christoph Hainz demonstrates climbing in its purest form by making a first ascent in the Ortles Southwest Face – solo and on sight…