Climbing mountains the hard way has always stood front and centre in Thomas’ life, as have the extreme demands that come with it. But to him, another challenge that rose alongside that of the cliff face.
The human interface.
From the very outset of his career, he sought to express his feelings and observations in writing. And, since the age of 15, he also began giving speeches to small select audiences in the hotels near his home town in Austria, each time supported by the dramatic photography he captured on his increasingly incredible ascents.
Like everything he did, Thomas took the business of capturing images seriously. And, despite weight being a constant issue for a climber, Thomas went for quality — and borrowed his grandfather’s rather hefty Leicaflex during his first expedition to the Pik Korshenewskaja, 23.490 ft., in the Pamirs. He was only 18 at the time.
During his epic 23-hours solo ascent of Patagonia’s Mount Fitz Roy, one of the world’s most difficult mountains, he carried a Leica R4 to the summit, Patagonia Fitz Roy solo 1986.
On a later ascent, which was to become a testimonial for the new camera he was carrying, Thomas changed to the Leica M6 — which became a favorite for many years.
While still very much a Leica fan, the recent digital age has seen Thomas exploiting the incredible potential of the Sony 7-series cameras, especially the NEX-7 and the α7 rII.