The Sea of Rock

Thomas Öhler joins Harald Philipp as they attempt to descend the ominous Sea of Rock in Austria
© Sebastian Doerk/Red Bull Content Pool
By Amah-Rose Abrams

Forty years ago two young men took their grandfathers’ bicycles and tried to tackle the local mountain, known as the Sea of Rock. Two metres down the mountain the bike’s front wheel was destroyed and the bike has hung from the mountain ever since.

Local boy and mountain rider Harald Philipp has attempted the descent many times and failed. His first attempt as a young boy ended quickly with two blown out tyres. “Over the years I have developed a love-hate relationship to the Sea of Rock. It’s a beautiful mountain range if you don’t look too close. It’s very unlike all the other rock formations in the Alps. Holes and super sharp edges make it a nightmare for every bike.”

Since then many bikes and a lot of energy have been swallowed up by his attempts and he has now drafted in Red Bull Athlete, trial rider Thomas Öhler, in the hope that by combining their skills and knowledge they can make in through the Sea of Rock.

“Harald invited me to join in since the geology up here is unique and sometimes a second perspective can be inspiring,” says Thomas.

The first attempt was made by Lois Hartl and Ernst Greßner in 1972. They are keen to find out whether Harald and Thomas’s bikes will  hang next to theirs or if they can make it down in one piece.

The landscape is at once stunning and threatening as we follow them on their journey through the Sea of Rock.

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