2019_Von Steinen und Nadeln

LOWA ACTIVE Team Volker Schöffl

The perfect combination of outdoor sports and medicine

In his profession as a sports doctor and sports ortho­paedist, Volker Schöffl is able to perfectly combine his two passions: the outdoors and medicine. The enthu­siastic sportsperson has been hiking for more than 35 years and has been climbing grade 10 routes for 25 years. He’s already successfully completed over 100 first ascents, including in Southeast Asia. His exper­iences have made their way into numerous books and over 100 scientific public­ations in the field of sports medicine.

Particular high­lights of his climbing career include the first ascents of several 8b routes as well as the first ascent of the Continental Drifters (multi-pitch, 7c+) in Thailand. As a senior doctor at the Centre for Inter­dis­cip­linary Sports Medicine (Zentrum für inter­d­iszip­linäre Sport­medizin) at the Bamberg Clinic (Klinikum Bamberg) and as a doctor for the German Alpine Club, Volker treats many athletes, including members of the national climbing and ski-moun­tain­eering team. His strong attachment to Asia is also reflected in a relief project in Laos that is partic­ularly important to the LOWA ACTIVE Team athlete and his wife, Isabelle, who is also a physician. For more than 10 years now, they have been caring for people in the small land­locked country that is still reeling from the effects of the Vietnam War.

In cooperation with Kilian Reil, a docu­mentary film was made that then went on to win the Excep­tional Merit Award of Excellence for Cine­ma­to­graphy at a 2018 film festival sponsored by Doctors Without Borders. The goal is not to change the country. Rather, the aim is to help the people and learn something in the process. “If you work here or want to develop new things like climbing, you have to adapt yourself to the system, ” Volker says of his work in Laos. “You don’t have to lose yourself or abandon your values and goals. But you have to do a lot of things the Laotian way.”

Facts & figures

Home base:
Favourite climbing site:
Franconian Jura
Local mountain:
1,78 m
68 kg

Volker Schöffl,
What has been your climbing highlight up to now?

“The first ascent of several 8b’s, the first ascent of “continental drifters” (multipitch, 7c+, Thailand) sometime in the 1990s with Sam Lightner Jr and Gerd Schöffl. More than 100 first ascents in Laos, Thailand, Borneo, etc.”

What are your athletic goals?

“To continue climbing 8a’s (I am now 51), to explore new regions in Southeast Asia, to have better times in trail runs, to take part in a few ski moun­tain­eering compet­itions.”

Do you have a motto?

“Ninety-nine percent of your life is what you make out of it. If you think your life sucks, you just suck. (©Jack Keruoak)”

My shoes for…

Exped­itions & tours