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Kurt Albert climbing with his close friend Wolfgang Güllich. In 1975 Albert invented the redpoint philosophy in Frankenjura, considered nowadays the standard for sport climbing worldwide
Photo by Gerd Heidron
Kurt Albert climbing Midnight Lightning, Camp 4, Yosemite, USA
Photo by Kurt Albert / Tom Dauer archive
Kurt Albert climbing Via Italia up Piz Ciavazes in the Dolomites in 1975
Photo by Reiner Pickl / Tom Dauer archive
Kurt Albert climbing up Nameless Tower (Trango Towers, Karakorum) in 1989 while making the first ascent of Eternal Flame
Photo by Christof Stiegler / Tom Dauer archive

Remembering Kurt Albert, German climbing legend and father of the redpoint

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Precisely 10 years ago German climbing legend Kurt Albert died at the age of 56. He invented the redpoint philosophy in Frankenjura in 1975, considered nowadays the standard for sport climbing worldwide, and established numerous important rock climbs and big walls across the globe.

Today makes the 10th anniversary of the death of Kurt Albert, the German rock climbing legend and without a shadow of doubt one of the most influential climbers in the world. Born in 1954 in Nürnberg, after starting climbing aged 14 he ascended the Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses just three years later and followed this up aged 18 with an ascent of the North Face of the Eiger.

Albert was evidently a highly talented climber and mountaineer. Throughout his career the trained mathematician established numerous important climbs from the Alps to Patagonia, the Karakorum to Greenland. His greatest legacy however is his invention in 1975 of the redpoint philosophy. In the early ’70's free climbing was taking its first tentative steps and Albert painted a simple red dot - a Roter Punkt - at the base of the routes in his home Frankenjura to indicate that the line had been climbed no longer with the use of aid, but all free. The rotpunkt style ushered in a revolution in rock climbing and soon came to represent the entire free climbing movement, of which Albert was a leading pioneer and which paved the way for the evolution of modern sport climbing.

In 1984 Albert, along with his close friends Wolfgang Güllich and Sepp Gschwendtner, received the "Silberne Lorbeerblatt", the highest sports award in Germany for his services to climbing, but his "redpoint" managed to transcend all borders and is globally recognised as the gold standard for sport climbing.

Albert's importance and influence on this sport cannot be underestimated. For those who want to find out more about the inventor of the redpoint and his by fair means climbs to the remotest corners of the globe, check out our article from ten years ago.


Kurt Albert - significant ascents and dates
1954
 Born in Nürnberg, Germany on 28/01
1968 Started climbing in home Frankenjura
1973 Trip to the Elbsandstein. Opened eyes to potential of free climbing
1975 Development of the Rotpunkt philosophy. The Adolf-Rott-Ged. Weg (VI+) in the Frankenjura was the first route to be marked with a red dot
1977 FA Devil's Crack (VII) & Osterweg (VIII-), Frankenjura
1979 Solo Devil's Crack (VII), Röthelfels, Frankenjura
1980 FA Rubberneck (VIII+), Richard Wagnser Fels, Frankenjura
1981 FA Sautanz (IX-), Frankenjura
1982 FA Magnet (IX-), the hardest route in the Frankenjura
1986 Solo Fight Gravity (VIII+), Richard Wagner Fels, Frankenjura
1987 FFA Hasse - Brandler (VIII) on Cima Grande, Dolomites
1987 FFA Swiss Route (IX-) on Cima Ovest, Dolomites
1987 Solo Rubberneck (VIII+), Richard Wagnser Fels, Frankenjura
1988 Solo Courage Fouyons (7b), Buoux, France
1988 FFA Yugoslav route (7a+), Nameless Tower, Karakorum
1989 FA Eternal Flame (IX-, 3 points of aid), Nameless Tower, Karakorum
1990 FA Riders on the Storm (IX), Paine Central Tower, Patagonia
1993 FA Stairway to Heaven (IX), Roraima, Venezuela
1994 FA Moby Dick (IX+), Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland
1995 FA Royal Flush (IX), Fitz Roy, Patagonia
1995 FA Fitzcarraldo (VIII+) Mount Harrison Smith, Cirque of Unclimbables, Canada
1996 FA Gelbe Mauer (IX) Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites, Italy
1997 FA Nordlicht (VIII+), Tupilak, Greenland
1998 FA El Condorito (IX), Aguja St. Exupery, Patagonia
1999 FA Vela y Viento (IX-), Aguja Mermoz, Patagonia
1999 FA Hart am Wind (VIII+), Cape Renard Tower, Antarctica
2000 Repeat of Franco Argentine route, Fitz Roy, Patagonia
2000 FA Odyssee 2000 (VIII+, 500m), Baffin Island, Canada
2002 FA on Vampire Peak (VIII+), Lotus Mountain, Canada
2003 Repeat Story About Dancing Dogs (IX/600m) Mt. Poi, Ndoto Mountains, Kenya
2006 FA El Purgatorio (650m/IX), Acopan Tepuis, Venzuela
2007 Expedition to Sablija, Ural, Russia
2008 FA El Nido del TirikTirik (7b/400m) Castillo, Venezuela 
2009 FA Hotel Guácharo (7a+/550m) Roraima-Tepuis, Venezuela 
FA = First ascent
FFA = First free ascent

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NEWS / Related news:
Kurt Albert is dead. Goodbye to a climbing legend
29.09.2010
Kurt Albert is dead. Goodbye to a climbing legend
German climbing legend Kurt Albert died yesterday at 20.45 aged 56 following the accident last Sunday on a via ferrata in Bavaria, Germany on Sunday.
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05.03.2007
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At the end of December a German team led by Stefan Glowacz and Kurt Albert travelled to Venezuela where it established "Fegefeuer" IX, a new 700m route on Akopan Tepui, 2200m.
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The film Rotpunkt featuring Alexander Megos; a portrait of the German climber and a look into the history of free climbing including the likes of Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich.

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