For one like me, mountains are too big. I have never been one who would have liked to match them. I saw their weight and their beauty, their energy and their danger, and I was fascinated, already as a child. But I also saw people who climbed them and who often came down as changed people, and I knew that I would never be able to become like this. So focused, so bold, so crazy in a positive sense. In a certain way they were much stronger than me. They were what I would have liked to be, but what I would never have been able to become. Therefore I have read about them, I have read about mountaineers and mountains, in particular about the highest mountains, I have read everything that I could find, already as a child, and from book to book my respect for these men and women who dared to climb these lonely, dangerous heights increased. After all, I cannot say who or what is more fascinating: the giant mountains or people who achieve giant performances on them.

Books and films are the only sources for one like me to learn more about this remote world. To explore this world is a gift which only a few persons are given, and I am grateful to these authors and film makers, that they have documented their experiences in words or pictures and thus make it possible for a lazy guy like me to participate in their mountain lives, of which I would not have the slightest idea without their reports.

A few months ago I had the honour of meeting one of the truly big ones of high altitude climbers: Robert Schauer, the first Austrian on the Everest.

To listen to him for several hours, when he talked in his thrilling, vivid and also humorous way about his mountain life, counts to my most impressive experiences of the last few years. Now I am even more aware why I should never dare to climb up there. Luckily, others are doing this for us. Some of them have brought films with them, which Robert Schauer will present to us on this year's edition of the Mountain Film Festival. I am looking forward to it and I am sure that all of us will take new and strong impressions with us.

Thomas Glavinic

Author of the Bestseller "Das größere Wunder"