Climbers come in all varieties. You have those with little weight to carry up overhangs, those with fingers of steel, those with unbelievable endurance, those with megatons of explosive strength. And, of course, they are all passionate. A few of them, though, seem to have so much passion for climbing, travelling for climbing and even just training for climbing that their love really makes up for other things in which they may be lacking.
One of them is Romain Desgranges, whose drive and passion brought him to new heights during this 2013 now coming to a close.
Photo: Romain climbing Digital Crack, 8a, on the Mont Blanc © Moctar Walid
How complete and systematic is your climbing wall? How good is it for training? As you try to answer these questions, you might realise that you are not too sure how to measure how good its structures are. A possible approach would be to see how far they are from an ideal gym, a place that has it all. Consequently, this is probably a good time to sit down and try to figure out what an ideal gym should be like.
Strong of our travelling experience and the advice of experienced coaches and sport therapists, we have decided to distil our knowledge in a series of articles that aim at creating a benchmark useful to anyone planning to build or renew a climbing wall.
Photo: The 9a fingers of Wolfgang Güllich at work © Thomas Ballenberger
Thirty-two year old Ramón Julián Puigblanque is simply one of the strongest climbers around. But the interesting thing is that you could have said that 5 years ago and it still would have been true. And even 10 years ago. This is no little feat considering that he’s not only an amazing rock climber, regularly making quick work of 9a+ routes and climbing 9a in as few as two attempts. He’s also one of the most successful competition climbers ever, being a multiple World Champion, European Champion, World Cup, World Games and Rock Master winner.
Therefore, we brushed up our Spanish and we set out to meet the legenday climber in Kranj, during the last event of the 2013 Lead World Cup.
Photo: Ramón Julián Puigblanque © Gerard Montero
Since 2010, Korean Jain Kim and Slovenian Mina Markovic have dominated the female lead World Cup, repeatedly trading first and second places at the various events and in the seasonal ranking. And this year was no different. In fact, they have been closer to each other and further from the rest than ever. Because of this, we wanted to find out what makes them similar and what doesn’t, so we decided to get them together after the Kranj semifinal and to go for a double interview!
Photo: Jain Kim and Mina Markovic © Manfred Werner, Stanko Gruden
This last September, Austrian champion Angela Eiter retired from lead climbing competitions after having won more than any other female athlete ever has. Naturally, we wanted to have a chat and ask her what it all meant. And we were amazed to hear how she managed to make history by focusing on the present moment as much as possible, without letting either setbacks or triumphs getting in the way of her climbing.
Photo: Angy at the 2012 World Championships, where she won gold in Lead © Stanko Gruden
We attended the opening of Blocs & Walls, the brand new climbing centre of Copenhagen. As undiscriminating lovers of all forms of sport climbing, we are always happy to hear about new climbing walls. In fact, we do believe that the creation of a wall is an exciting sign of a growing community looking for means to do more of what they love most.
And, strong of a well organised and eventful day, Blocs & Walls did not fail to impress us!
Photo: The opening day crowd from the top of the lead wall © Ulrik Hasemann
We met Adam and spent some time looking back at what happened since he completed high school and became a fully fledged fulltime climber (but only until university starts this autumn!). It was a bit difficult, since the passionate Czech is always thinking about what comes next, always preparing for the next challenge, whether it’s completing a Spanish project or getting back to the competition circuit…
Photo: Adam on the crux of one of his latest first ascents, Move 9b/+ © Petr Pavlíček