The film school project of the GORE-TEX Experience Tour (GET) gave four participants from Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the Czech Republic a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot their own outdoor film under the professional guidance of experts from the European Outdoor Film Tour (E.O.F.T.): a documentary film featuring blind alpinist and climber Andy Holzer. The documentary will be screened as part of the E.O.F.T. in cinemas throughout Europe in the autumn.

During the course of an introductory, two-day workshop at Moving Adventures in Munich professional filmmakers and film editors shared their tips and tricks with Gabriel, Yvon, Marta and Ondra – the enthusiastic project participants. The film itself was shot in East Tyrol, near the town of Lienz in the Austrian Dolomites. Andy Holzer grew up in this stunning area where he knows all the paths and climbing routes like the back of his hand. He can feel, sense and experience the beauty of these mountains – he cannot see it. Andy was born blind. And yet he has still managed to become a professional climber.

Gabriel and Jochen (cameraman) accompany Andy and his climbing partner Anda as they climb a steep, exposed and extremely photogenic 200m high ridge. Marta and Ondra climb the neighbouring ridge to get a different perspective while Yvon films from below using a camera with a telephoto lens.

You have only really completed the climb when you get back down to the bottom of the mountain. This old saying still holds true – particularly if you are blind. When he reaches the top Andy says: “I’m not totally happy when I get to the top, because that’s when things start getting difficult for me.” On the ascent Andy can feel for himself where he is going. He uses his hands to feel his way forwards and to get a good grip. On the way down he has to walk upright and doesn’t feel as secure as when his hands are in contact with the rock face: which is why it is so important that he is in constant contact with Anda, his climbing partner. Andy puts his hand on Anda’s rucksack and feels his every move as they walk back down to the bottom of the mountain. It is a steep downhill walk, at times along the edge of a precipice, with short sections that have to be climbed. He can’t afford to stumble or slip. Nevertheless, the two climbers talk very little. In an atmosphere of quiet concentration they slowly make their descent. They understand each other intuitively.

Andy Holzer believes that the importance of sight is often overestimated. As far as he is concerned, it is not important what abilities a person has but what they make of their abilities. In his talks and books and through his projects and the way in which he leads his life he wants to encourage others and “open the eyes of those who can see”.

>>> Trailer

About the GORE-TEX Experience Tour:

The GORE-TEX Experience Tour is aimed at young people all over Europe who can communicate and share their experience on the GORE-TEX Outdoor Products Facebook fan page.
In order to apply, candidates have to state details about their personal motivation for participating. After that, it will be up to other visitors of the page to vote for their favourite candidates, who will then be evaluated by a panel of outdoor experts and the professionals. Those chosen will not only get an amazing experience with top experts in their fields, but also get the chance to blog and report about their experiences online via all possible social media channels.