Thomas had an in-built, and insatiable, appetite for scaling mountains — he also added the Pik Korshenewskaja, 23.490 ft., in the Pamirs. Two years, and dozens of climbs later, Thomas became the first (and still the only) climber to free-solo the big three north-face routes in the Alps: the Matterhorn, the Walker Spur on sight in the Grandes Jorasses, and the Eiger — in less than five hours. To this day, no other climber is known to have climbed the Eiger, in summer conditions, faster than the young Thomas Bubendorfer.
Unparalleled solo ascents followed across the length and breadth (and height) of the planet: in Patagonia, Alaska, the Andes and in Tibet, always unsupported, alone in his base camps and without contact to the outside world. In time, solitude became his friend. As Thomas explains: “Only when you are alone, are you truly free”. That said, when necessary, the famed solo climber has never been averse to climbing with his trusted partners. For as he well knows: “nobody reaches the summit alone”.