Remco Graas grew up in the Netherlands, far far away from the mountains. While growing up his family spent many holidays in the Alps and they went on numerous hikes. Remco didn't enjoy these hikes on dusty hot trails without entertainment. He was always happy to return home so he could swim in the pool or play on his Game-Boy.
Everything changed on Remco's last family trip to the Alps. In his head something just snapped and suddenly he enjoyed the mountains. But then the family didn't go to the mountains anymore and he started to join summer camps in the Alps. At first, he had a classical approach with a big backpack and heavy mountain boots. Eventually, however, he was Inspired by great alpinists like Ueli Steck, and realized that with more training he could also go faster. As he spent more and more time in the mountains, he began to move easily through the terrain and could strip down the equipment to a minimum.
Step by step the mountains became the central pillar of his life and the idea of climbing all 4000'ers in the Alps grew in his head. He's well on the way now but not in a rush and just wants to enjoy the remaining peaks to the fullest. In 2017 he moved to Innsbruck so he could immerse himself in his passion for mountains and work at Black Diamond Equipment. On his daily bike rides to the BD office, he would look up at the Nordkette ridgdeline.
Traversing the whole ridge on a nice Sunday? Sounds like a fun day out, he thought.
Saturday night at 2:00 a.m. Remco leaves the house. The city never sleeps; bars are open, people are having nice parties, he hears the music. His party, however, is planned with mother nature. Remco rides toward the forest, leaves the bike hidden behind a tree and starts his ascent.
Sunrise at the summit of Brandjochkreuz would be nice, he thinks.
As he ascends higher and higher, the sounds of the city fade and the sun starts to rise as he approaches the first peak of the day. During the day he scales scenic trails, rugged cirques, via ferratas, meets tourists and animals—always following the ridgeline.
I can almost see my girlfriend having a coffee on our balcony, he thinks while taking in the exposure. It's so cool to have places like this right in the backyard.
After 33 kilometers, 19 peaks and 3,800 vertical meters, Remco reaches the valley floor. As he steps onto the bus he looks back at the ridgeline and smiles.
Step by step Remco made the mountains his own. Step by step, that is his approach to life.