Alex Luger, 26, of Voralberg, Austria, has completed the first ascent of a cutting-edge, trad testpiece at his home crag of Bürser Platte. Legendary free-climbing pioneer, Beat Kammerlander, reports that Luger's ascent of Psychogramm (5.14)—which Luger climbed in February of this year—is technically demanding, and when asked about the route's protection, Kammerlander simply wrote, "scary" in an e-mail to Rock and Ice.
Kammerlander is well acquainted with the psychologically demanding routes of Bürser Platte, having established the sparsely protected Prinzip Hoffnung (5.14a) in 2009.
It was Luger who first repeated Prinzip Hoffnung, at the end of 2009 at just 22 years old, and now he has added his own masterpiece to the intimidating crag.
"In the beginning, it wasn't a project at all because the line appeared to be unrealistic to climb clean to me," wrote Luger in a recent e-mail. "On the one hand there was the insecure crux at the top I could only climb every 10 times, and on the other the delicate protection."
For Luger, however, the futuristic route's uncertainty is what held his interest.
"That was ultimately the attraction for me," he wrote. "Can I climb the sequence of movements on this route in a more controlled way? Is the protection good enough to try out an acceptable lead?"
Eventually, Luger set off for the lead, and climbed into the route's crux, which involves running it out above a micro-nut. On his first attempt, however, Luger fell and tested the strength of the protection. Luckily, the nut held and bolstered his confidence.
"After three more attempts I managed the clean redpoint of Psychogramm, another personal highlight," wrote Luger.
Alex Luger is among an elite new generation of climbers bringing a background of hard sport climbing and bouldering to futuristic trad routes. He has climbed 5.14b sport routes, 5.14 trad climbs and excels at highball bouldering. Luger currently lives in Innsbruck, Austria, and studies sports medicine.
Check out this video of Luger climbing a highball in Ticino, Switzerland, that he likened to the size of a "single-story family home."