“I grew up in Frankenjura
this is the place where I started climbing and where I know most of the local people, where I spend a lot of time going through the woods and searching for new bouldering and sportsclimbing potential.”
One of my main philosophies in climbing is supporting and staying in touch with my home area, even though I’m travelling a lot recently. I grew up here in the Frankenjura - this is the place where I started climbing and where I know most of the local people, as well as the place where I spend a lot of time going through the woods and searching for new bouldering and sportsclimbing potential. Connected to that, my focus will always be on climbing outdoors. I tried doing some competitions when I was younger, but learned that the real thing for me is just to go outside and climb with friends rather than competing against others on artificial walls. Climbing is probably one of the most intense activities I could imagine and one of the few things I do, where I don’t think about anything else. My life goal is to never lose the fun on spending time at the crag – also when I’m too old to push my limits anymore.
Indian Creek, Yosemite, Val di Masino (Val di mello), Dolomites (Marmolada & Civetta) , Torres del Paine, Siurana, Rätikon,… It all depends on the style”
I would define myself as a climber and a social worker in the first place. Second, I enjoy sharing experiences, stories, and visions as a public speaker. My dreams are to discover my own boundaries, untouched ground and share and connect (with) people in all kinds of domains. A lifetime goal is to be an integer with myself and others. As a person but also in my role as a professional climber I aim to be open and sincere about my personal development process as a human being and a climber. Friends call me ‘the climbing philosopher’. I like to think and debate about life, interactions, emotions, and society. I am convinced that we can learn from each other through profound interactions, I have a hard time being superficial, although I agree this is very important as well, to just have fun and not question everything! I aim for sincere communication and motivate everyone to do so, that’s why I don’t hesitate to share personal insights about myself or showing my own struggles. I love it when people do that to me, it’s inspiring. “What is real? What is this guy really experiencing on the wall and in his life and… what can I learn from it?” The need for inspiration is increasing everywhere. My goal is to invest in open communication and transmit what is really happening ‘behind the scenes’. I want to stimulate people to do the same, be sincere with yourself and others and communicate at a deeper level. Drop the masks and be connected, we all become better of it.
Why / How Did You Start Climbing: I started climbing as a gym rat in 2000. My parents send me to this indoor climbing camp during some school vacation. I was sold and kept on subscribing for all the camps possible until the climbing gym started a youth climbing team in 2001. Competition climbing became my focus until the age of 18. Between ages 12 and 18, the discovery of outdoor sport-climbing only multiplied my passion.
Favorite Climbing Destination: Tough question! A few in different styles that come to mind are Indian Creek, Yosemite, Val di Masino (Val di mello), Dolomites (Marmolada & Civeta) , Torres del Paine, Siurana, Rätikon,… It all depends on the style, I do love all climbing. Just a bit less of a boulderer (:
Why / How Did You Start Climbing:
My parents are passionate climbers and took me outdoors to the crag since I was born. With about 4 years I made my first tries and over the years I became more and more motivated to try hard on the rock.
Favorite Climbing Destination:
Frankenjura and Margalef for Sportsclimbing, Ticino and Maltatal for Bouldering.
Memorable climbing achievement(s):
- “Der heilige Gral” 9a, Frankenjura
- “La reina mora” 9a, Siurana
- “The Source” FB 8B+, Maltatal
- "Martin Krpan" 9a, Mišja Pec
- "Halupca 1979" 9a, Mišja Pec
In 3 Words What Describes Climbing To You:
Power, Mind and Nature
How Do You Train:
Usually by defining myself special training problems on a board like e.g. the 45 degrees wall at Café Kraft. Also, when I can’t go outside for a long time because of bad weather conditions, I do some systematic finger and upper body strength training.
You Whip, You Slip, You Blow The Move... What Motivates You To Try Again:
Only the fact that I’m theoretically able to do the route or boulder problem makes me try again. I want to achieve anything that’s possible for me and push my limits as far as I can. Normally I also try again just because it’s lots of fun to do and enjoy the movement of the climb.
What Do You Do When You're Not Climbing:
Apart from pure climbing I do routesetting in some local gyms. In October 2020 I’m also going to start studying at a local university and will for sure spend some time on learning. Apart from that, I do some mountainbiking and just spend a lot of time with friends and family.
Memorable Climbing Achievement(s): With the emphasis on ‘memorable’ these are definitely the ones:
•2008 First 8c sport climb with ‘Les Maux de la Fin’ at Gorges du Loup, France.
•2012 First Big Wall expedition! FA of ‘Kids with Guns’, 450m, Amuri Tepuy, Venezuela.
•2013 First Alpine climb, Divine Providence, ABO 7c 900m, Mont Blanc, France.
•2015 First Ground-Up Ascent and Free Ascent of ‘Fire in the Belly’, 700m, 8a++ on Tsaranoro Atsimo, Madagascar.
•2017 Incredible experience spending 19 days on a wall during the First Free Ascent of Big Wall Route “El Regalo de Mwono”, 8a, 1200m, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile.
•2019 Pushing my multipitch sportclimbing skills up by sending ‘Yeah Man’ / 9 pitches / Third Free Ascent / 8b+ / Gastlosen (Swiss) and ‘Silbergeier’ / 6 pitches / Free Ascent in one day without any falls / 8b+ / Rätikon (Swiss).
In 3 Words What Describes Climbing To You: Flow (body and mind) – Ethics – Lifestyle
How Do You Train: I tend to be someone that wants to achieve a lot in many different domains. This goes for my climbing as well, I want to continue developing my climbing in different disciplines. It is also motivating and enriching to change disciplines. As a big wall and adventure climber it’s hard to keep your climbing level high and still do a lot of exploration trips. Instead of only focussing on the exploration, first ascents and big walls I try to keep my climbing skills up to date by including 3 to 4 months of training and sport climbing periods every year. Basically those moments I will spend in Belgium for training and France or Spain for sportclimbing. It feels great to focus on the pure physical part of climbing for a period. My sportclimbing training programs are often focussed on fingerstrength, corestregth, antagonists, flexibility and powerendurance. I love training powerendurance on the inclination board. For expeditions I will include more cardio and volume training. For trad multipitch climbs I will just prepare by climbing a similar style in easier grades to get comfortable, in combination with the same kind of training I do for sportclimbing. But basically, I try to listen to my body as much as I can. And adventurous trad climbing, you just have to start doing, fail and try again!
You Whip, You Slip, You Blow The Move... What Motivates You To Try Again: I just want it, I want to try my best because I become richer as a climber and person! Aiming to freeclimb (or just climb) moves on rock or on plastic has been the way I was thought how to climb, it’s been in me for so long. The game of climbing is simple, you go up. But the rules you give yourself, or that are given by a local climbing culture, can make it more challenging, more valuable and offer me to learn about myself. My rule is to freeclimb as much as possible, in any circumstance. Climbing partners have been looking at me weird if I try to free an FA in the rain, with dirt in the cracks or maybe snow on the holds. They would scream: “Just pull on that piece of gear and go on!” But that’s how I make fun, I love trying, I love not to put a bold and try to climb the moves free on the gear. So, respecting these rules, laws or principles in combination with the desire to learn and become better, make me try hard and try hard again after falling, failing, brainfarts or external and uncontrollable circumstances. You just need to make up for yourself what your values are, what are the values you want to base your climbing upon?
What Do You Do When You're Not Climbing: Mainly I am planning climbing trips, or occupied with communicating past trips and expeditions to sponsors, magazines and the climbing community through social media. Besides my climbing life I’m very interested in human relations and interactions. I always search for other activitys besides climbing to keep developing other skills. Last two years I’ve followed a public speeching course with as a result writing and presenting my own TED-talk-like speech. Techniques of storytelling and theatre where combined and made this course super enriching as a narrator and just as a person. This year I focus on leadership and management of teams. I read books, educate myself and soon I will start working with a company offering experiential leadership training programs in the outdoors for businesses. Furthermore, I value friends and family so I love to spend time with them in Belgium. I love cooking great food, reading books, and laughing my ass off in a good social environment!