Every relationship has its challenging moments. If you're anything like the couples below, they come while hanging hundreds of metres off the ground, standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump off, or freezing on the side of a mountain, far from civilization. Those relationships take a very unique kind of work. But, hey, everyone always says an adventure should be shared!
Boulderers Kilian Fischhuber and Anna Stöhr
In September 2013, Anna Stöhr took first place at the European Bouldering Championships, alongside her boyfriend, Kilian Fischhuber, who took first place in the men's division. The Austrian climbing heroes have been referred to as "Austria's iron couple," with a slew of bouldering world cup titles between them.
They travel together, climb together, and push each other – and the biggest challenge is often trying to not offer help while watching each other compete. “I try to give Anna tips during training only,” Fischhuber said in a Red Bulletin interview. “You want to help, after all. But it’s often no use.”
Endurance runners and adventurers Philippe and Anna Gatta
Philippe Gatta and Anna Gatta met while rock climbing, got engaged in Nepal, and climbed Kilimanjaro for their honeymoon. Philippe has climbed the Seven Summits, and has run more than 50,000km around the world, including races in the Sahara Desert, the Atacama Desert, the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Amazon rainforest.
Anna can keep up – she runs and climbs whenever she gets the chance, including the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Annapurna Circuit, and competing in the Atacama Desert Race. Philippe says: “The secret is to live with someone that you love and who has the same vision of life – you also need to give liberty to your partner to live his/her dreams.”
BASE Jumpers Brett Kistler and Annette O'Neil
BASE jumpers Brett Kistler and Annette O'Neil deal with the challenges of living, working, and travelling on the road (they only return to their loft in Salt Lake City a few weeks each year), and embracing a lifestyle that means one of them might lose the other in a second.
“What's viewed as a challenge today, handled properly, always ends up strengthening our relationship – after we've done the difficult introspective and logistical work required to turn challenges on their head,” Brett says. “In our experience, almost every issue a relationship faces is rooted in the experience of fear. We’d like to think that our unusual hobbies help us tackle the joyful responsibility of love.”