I was born on a cold day on 17 December 1956 in Kranj, where I live with my wife Marija and my youngest daughter Neža (the older two children, Katarina and Anže, already have their own families). In 1975, I finished Gimnazija Kranj secondary school and graduated from the Faculty of Sports at the University in Ljubljana in 1983 (thesis title: Predictive value of some motor tests for assessing the success of an alpine expedition). I teach physical education at the Šolski center Škofja Loka high school.
The mountains have been my passion since my childhood. While still in the primary school, I and my brother Marko completed the most demanding part of the Slovenian long-distance trail from the Vrata Valley to the Petrovo Brdo village in mere 8 days. In 1972, I embarked on my alpine career and became a member of the Kranj Alpine Club. My alpine career started to rise steeply.
I successfully climbed my first eight-thousander Gasherbrum I on a new route (W Ridge) in 1977. Two years later, I together with Nejc Zaplotnik successfully completed the great Yugoslav expedition and we became the first Slovenians to thread on the highest summit on the planet, Mount Everest. The ascent was once again performed on a new route (W Ridge). Later on I ascended six other eight-thousanders (Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II, Shishapangma, the south summit of Kangchenjunga, Cho Oyu, and Dhaulagiri), of which two were ascended on a new route and the other three using pure alpine style. I climbed Mount Everest twice. The second time was with my wife Marija in 1990, which made us the first married couple to stand on the roof of the world.
My first major alpine style challenge was climbing on a new route in the south face of Shishapangma (together with Pavel Kozjek). I achieved my greatest success only six months after the second ascent of Mount Everest by climbing on a new route to the S summit of Kangchenjunga in alpine style together with Marko Prezelj. This ascent earned us the prestigious mountaineering award Piolet d’Or (Eng. The Golden Ice Axe). In my long-lasting alpine career, I have participated – on several occasions also as leader – in more than twenty expeditions in the Nepalese Himalayas and three expeditions in Karakoram. I also undertook the first ascents of seven-thousanders Nyanang Ri, Menlungtse, and Janak Chuli (all of them were climbed on new routes in alpine style) and climbed on a new route on the highest seven-thousander Gyachung Kang.
I have worked as an instructor twice – and once also the leader – in the School for Nepal Mountain Guides in Manango founded by a Slovenian alpinist Aleš Kunaver. I have climbed also in Patagonia (new route of the N Tower Paine), Pamir (former Peak Communism on the Bezzubkin Pillar), USA (the Nose of El Capitan), Caucasus (Elbrus), and in Scotland. Among other things, I have also stood on the highest summits of North and South America (Denali and Aconcagua).
My career as a mountain guide started in 1982 and I obtained the IFMGA license in 1997. I am also an instructor at the Slovenian Mountain Guide Association (SMGA).