Interview

  • Climbing

    Who was your childhood hero and do you consider yourself a role model now? Does it influence you at all that other people look up to you?

    My childhood was a long time ago but my heroes were The Beatles and my big brother. My brother was outrageously inventive and adventurous, he successfully had me bungie jumping off the garage roof with dad's old army belt as a harness and the rubber bumper ring from a wringer washing machine for the bungie.

    I would be better described as an institutional climber than a role model.
    I would be genuinely disappointed if younger climbers tried to emulate me.
    I prefer to see them pick up a few tricks and move on.
    I spend years on a single project.
    However, I hope that over time they recognise that one of the useful qualities in climbing is that of persistence over raw ability.

    What were your greatest failures / setbacks / injuries? How did you cope with them and how did you come back from them?

    I came to hard climbing late in life, you'd think that would be a recipe for injury, but as a kid, the monkey bars were my life. I was completely obsessed, doing 100 back drop rotations by the knees, doing backward pull overs, etc. It was probably good tendon development.
    Even now, at 58 years of age I do not "warm up". Never have, never will.
    It hasn't made me an exceptional climber, and I'm not saying injuries won't happen, but I'm mostly injury free.
    Just keep climbing, accept injuries but there's no need to get too identified with injury.

  • Training

    Do you have a strict training schedule for when and how you train throughout the year?

    Do not train like me.
    For the most part, I just climb.
    I have a hang board over the doorway of my cafe wine bar, and I have a few seconds here and there on my way between tables, clearing dishes and carrying coffees, but I work twice the normal work hours and thats just how it goes.
    I don't train to climb. I climb. Don't be like me.

    What advice can you give to somebody looking to improve their training routine?

    Try harder, more often.
    I'm not trying to be cheeky. You can employ any or all the training programs you like, but trying harder is the only way forward.

  • Psychology

    Is it possible for anybody to eventually perform a one-armed pull-up or get to the top of the Eiger/Matterhorn, or do you really have to be born for it?

    Hard to say.
    I can't do a one-armed pull up.
    I have however seen some rather doughy figures thoroughly transform themselves through effort to become chiseled climbers.
    In conclusion: They have to want it.

    How important is it to set goals in professional sports? What are your goals / targets you are working towards in climbing and in life?

    I could not by any definition be considered to be a professional climber.
    I may very well be considered to be a life member of the brother/sisterhood of souls inexplicably compelled to repeatedly spend their weekends tormenting themselves at their local crags and caves for the dubious rewards of ticking routes.
    But are they dubious? Hell no, I was only joking. Ticking is life.

  • Future of climbing

    Is there anything you would like to change about the current developments in climbing?

    I am not sure I know what the current developments in climbing are.
    Oh yes, there is one thing. The prospect of Olympic Climbing troubles me, because I feel the model of an athlete representing a nation seems a bit antiquated.
    I already see competition climbers wearing national uniforms, it makes me uncomfortable.

    Where do you see the sport going in the next years, what will change and what is your role going to be in it?

    Ha! My role won't change the future of climbing.
    I'm happy for change to happen.
    Organised competition is the most obvious change.
    Along with it might come some of the pitfalls of role modeling that we see in other sports.
    My role is just to what I have always done, work on my projects at the cave and try to get to know every new climber who turns up there and offer as much support as I can.
    I get a lot of happiness from see others driving climbing in all the new directions they do.
    Friends are King.