TALKING WITH THE BLACK DIAMOND TEAM
The Black Diamond Team has come to visit Vertic and we've been there to meet them and to share a great time with one the best climbers of the world. Don't miss this interview where we're asking climbers like Joe Kinder, Barbara Zangerl, Daila Ojeda, Daniel Jung, Colette McInerey, Dan Mirsky, Roland Hemetzberger, Whitney Boland and the whole Black Diamond team about their experiences, begginnings and what's to come in the future.
- You’ve been around Siurana climbing for the last weeks. How was the experience? Had you been there before?
Colette: Yes, we’ve been in Siurana the last week and a half. I’ve been there four other times and it’s an amazing and interesting place. Some many people meet there to go climbing -national and international community- obviously there’s the local community, obviously the catalan climbers, but Siurana is more like a shared place.
Barbara: I’ve been there before for three times and I really like this place. It’s cool to be there because of the surrounding, and the climbing also is so special because you have Montsant, Margalef... there are some very different areas and they aren’t so far.
- Catalunya is usually considered as one of the best places in the world for those who love climbing. Do you agree?
Colette: Yeah, there are some good areas and the quality of the rock is amazing. And you have a lot of variety.
Daniel Jung: Yeah, I’ve been here for so many times and I’ve been in Montsant, Oliana and Siurana. But Siurana is one of my favourite areas because it has supernice climbing routes but also the landscape is very impressive.
- Could it be Siurana’s landscape the main point for some you to prefer this area?
Daniel Jung: For some people yes, because it’s also a holiday experience. But for some people it doesn’t matter how it looks around... they just want to climb high routes. But I prefer areas where I can climb hard and enjoy a beautiful landscape.
Roland: I really like Siurana because there is a lot of History behind the routes. And also you have a good variety: different sectors, different type of rocks... and that’s why it’s one of my favourite places.
- How and when did you start climbing? What’s your personal story?
Daila Ojeda: It all started 15 years ago, in one of those boring Sundays when you do nothing, I saw a bouldering competition in my hometown (Gran Canaria). As I saw those girls climbing I fell in love with this sport, so that’s why I started climbing.
Dan Mirsky: I started climbing when I went to the University, in Colorado. I grew up in a town in New York, playing soccer and doing these things. And then, when I was 19 I got to college and I met a lot of people of my age who were rock climbers already and I thought “Oh, that’s actually really cool!” and then I started climbing.
Daniel Jung: I’m from Germany and I’ve been climbing for the last 16 o 17 years. When I was 15 I started climbing in a little gym, but when I discovered rock climbing my goal was to become a rock climber.
Barbara: I started climbing when I was 14 years old and my brother took me to the climbing gym. At the beginning I only did bouldering, and I was only focused on this. Only after half a year I had my first experience outdoor and nowadays I can say I like every type of climbing. I climb everything!
Colette: I started climbing when I was 19. I was in college in New York and some friends of mine went to the climbing gym. I went with them and I liked it. I spent some months climbing at the gym but the first time I went out I said “Okey, that’s cool!”. And that’s how it all started.
Joe Kinder: I started climbing when I was 15. I think I started climbing because I wanted to stay out of trouble, and once I started climbing I immediately become obsessed. And since then I’ve been climbing in that fanatical-obsessed way.
Justin: I learnt to climb in an old and traditional town. I didn’t even know about climbing before I started, but I found a bolt and I found really exciting the concept of clipping a big bolt to feel safe. And now I’ve been climbing for more than 20 years now.
Roland: I’m from Germany and I’ve been climbing now for 10 years. A friend of mine was climbing at the school, he introduced me to this world but we were more motivated to rappel down routes, more fun and faster. But one day we met some other guys and they told me to try some rock climbing, and when I did I fell in love.
Whitney: I live in New York and I started climbing when I was 18. I did gymnastics before I started climbing, and my brother was climbing and told me to try it. I went to the gym he was working at and I started climbing there. But once I started going outside, I immediately started to do rock climbing.
- Some of you started climbing at the gym but all of you ended rock climbing. Why? What’s the main reason?
Colette: I wouldn’t say “You have to do that” but it’s an experience that some people would get more from. For me, challenging myself physically is one part of climbing, but being able to enjoy a beautiful area like Siurana for me is as important as improving as a climber.
Justin: The gym is more about focusing on the physical aspect, but when you go outside you live an emotional experience. It doesn’t matter what you experience on the gym, it exponentially grows when you go outside. It stays with you longer.
Joe Kinder: In my case, I was watching videos and photos of my heroes doing things outside and it really inspired me. And that’s why I went outside, because I wanted to do what my heroes were doing. I knew I was not doing exactly what they did, but something similar. And that was really exciting for me.
- All of you have completed amazing achievements. Some climbers say motivation is essential to do it. What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
Daniel Jung: I’m always motivated. Maybe because I’m a very active person and I always need to do something. I have a strong motivation to go rock climbing because I’ve always loved travelling and now I can combine it with climbing and that’s where my motivation comes from.
Roland: For me, it’s important to reach the next step. When you find a route which is too hard for you but you take a look on it, then you get more motivated to train. And that’s why I’m always motivated: to always achieve my next goal.
- And have you ever felt lack of motivation? What do you do then?
Barbara: When I spent a long time only doing the same thing (doesn’t matter if it’s bouldering or rock climbing) that’s when I fell less motivated. And that’s the reason I like to change and always try to do something new.
Daila: I feel lucky to be outside and to be climbing. And when I’m not motivated I think about the people that can’t do go out climbing everyday or just only on the weekend. I like to think about it, and then I realize how lucky am I, and motivation comes back.
- What is more motivating for you: winning competitions or improving as a climber? Both?
Dan Mirsky: The most important competition is the one with ourselves, to be better you were the day before, as a climber and as a person. Whether you beat other people or not, for me is not important.
- Talking about rock climbing, which is the most challenging line you’ve ever done? What is the one that meant the most for you?
Justin: In my case, the most challenging line for me was Salathé. I failed for three years, over and over again. With Salathé I learnt the most, I suffered the most, I felt the most defeated but it was also the most rewarding. And after sucking for three years, when I finally succeeded, it was a powerful moment: the success after three years of struggling.
- Never giving up, overcoming, being in harmony with the nature... there are some values usually related to climbing. What do you think climbing has taught you?
Daila: Climbing teaches you to trust yourself, to be patient, humility... For me is important to understand you need to support your partner, that this is not actually an individual sport.
Dan Mirsky: What I’ve learned is that you can complete your goals even if they seem out of reach. Climbing makes you see what you’re capable of. You learns that if you stay motivated and work hard you can achieve your goals, for me is a big lesson.
Joe Kinder: Travelling teaches you a lot, too. You meet interesting folk, enjoy nature, have challenges and goals that keep you engaged... It’s a healthy lifestyle.
- Looking forward, which are your next projects? What do you have in mind for the next season?
Daila: I would like to come back to Brazil and go to Crete.
Dan Mirsky: Next week I go to Oliana, and I’ve never been there before so I’m very excited about that. I don’t have a specific route but just to be there, hanging out and discovering a new place it’s amazing for me.
Daniel Jung: I’m going to Fointenebleau and in January I’m going to a new area I’ve never been. I don’t know yet if it’s going to be here in Catalunya or maybe I’ll go to Romania and Bulgary.
Barbara: I want to climb more on the Dolomites and maybe next year I’m going to Australia.
Colette: I also want to go to Australia and maybe I’ll come back here (Catalunya) on spring.
Joe Kinder: Like Dan, I’m going to Oliana this week and afterwards I have a lot of projects in the US for the next season. And also I want to go to Brazil, and of course I will return to Spain... so guys I’ll see you soon!
Roland: By now I’m really focused on training and this is my main goal. And on January I’m doing something completely different: I’m going hiking and discovering New Zealand.
Whitney: I have a project in New York, where I live. And I’m coming back to Spain in January and there’s a trip I want to do, I want to go to South Africa.