Today, seven international athletes set off from Reichenau an der Rax to cross the main ridge of the Alps to Nice on skis and on foot in less than 41 days.
Your first destination is the 37 kilometers away place Mürzsteg in Styria. Then we continue to Upper Austria, Salzburg and East Tyrol. Altogether there are 1917 kilometers of distance and over 85,000 vertical meters in the ascent in front of them. Only the Austrian ski mountaineers Robert Kittl, Klaus Hoi, Hansjörg Farbmacher and Hans Mariacher have passed this adventure in 1971 so far.
Tamara Lunger (ITA), Nuria Picas (ESP), Bernhard Hug (SUI), Philipp Reiter (GER), David Wallmann (AUT) as well as Janelle and Mark Smiley (USA) want to break their record and break the main ridge as well as the most powerful peaks of the Cross Alps from east to west in less than 41 days on skis and on foot.
Anticipation, anxiety and nervousness determined the emotional world of the participants in the days before the start. After weeks of preparations, they are now glad that it finally starts: “My personal goal is to arrive in Nice, have fun and make new friends,” said Tamara Lunger before the start. “I want to spend each day listening to and enjoying what I’m allowed to experience.”
My personal goal is to arrive in Nice, having fun and making new friendsTamara Lunger
Difficult weather conditions
With the departure in the Viennese Alps the athletes are about to face the first difficult challenge: the weather conditions are anything but optimal. For today and the next days rain, wind and winter cold are predicted. The team in 1971 had to contend with similar adverse conditions in the first week. “I’m extremely mood-dependent on the weather,” said Bernhard Hug. “That’s why it will not be easy for me if it rains below and snowing above. But we knew there would be bad days – and better days will come after bad days!“
The responsibility lies entirely with the athletes. On the mountain they have to make their own decisions – not an easy task with a team of seven individual athletes, as Philipp Reiter explained: “We are a big team: seven stubborn, seven own opinions! Nobody wants to obey, everyone wants to buy – there we have to find a good agreement. But seven is an odd number, there is always a democratic majority!“
We are a big team: seven stubborn, seven own opinions! Nobody wants to obey, everyone wants to buy – there we have to find a good agreement.Philipp Reiter
Especially the first days will be decisive for the success of the expedition. Here the athletes lay the foundation for the remaining weeks. Nuria Picas is looking forward to the unique experience: “It will be hard to live without the family and the children for so long. But for me a dream comes true. It is a gift to experience this adventure with these people. I have a good feeling. This is going to be a fantastic experience!“
Follow the expedition live!
In the route profile as well as on our live map you can see the daily progress of the athletes. There you can see where the athletes are right now and you can draw a direct comparison to the progress of the 1971 team.
In the Red Bull The Long Way Facebook Group there are daily updates, photos, videos and stories from the athletes and all involved. Join us on this long journey to Nice: