Martina ╚ufar about Vizija 8c
ClimbandMore: First of all, please accept my congratulations on your first 8c. Of course we all stress that we don’t climb for numbers but I’m sure this kind of success is very motivating. Do you agree?
Martina ╚ufar: Of course I do! In fact I must admit, that this time I climbed the route also for the number. Because I felt that after almost 10 years after my first 8b+ , I had to show to myself and also to the others, that I am able to climb an 8c. Unfortunately, today the number is what counts. I am sure I was able to climb 8c long before, but I was not motivated to put so much effort and time to one route. But not only the number is the reason for choosing Vizija. Most of all it is a great line on the central part of Misja PeŔ which has a great name. The name of the route is very important to me, and Vizija somehow sounds optimistic for my future climbing. I am joking a bit now, but how the title in a magazine “Martina's Total Eclipse” (it's a name of another 8c I tried) would sound like? Martina's Vision is much better, isn't it?
Sometimes it’s said that satisfaction after long battle for completing extremely hard redpoint is bigger than after hard onsight. On the other hand, you’ve always stressed that you prefer onsighting. What was your feeling after accomplishing Vizija?
The feelings after succeeding on a hard on sight route and a hard red point are different and I can't say which of them I prefer. Maybe it's true that feelings after succeeding a route which was a part of your life for quite a while are stronger. I was living with Vizija for one year, for the last two month really intensely, the moves were in my head day and night…And with all the problems that came across (health, weather,…) I was really happy, hard to describe how happy, on the top of the route!
When we talked for the last time, you said that there was a boulder at the start of Vizja which had always stopped you. Did it come naturally that you did this boulder problem when you came back? Or maybe you did a specific preparation to this kind of moves?
This boulder problem was stopping me over and over again… When I made that move, I knew I would do theroute. I just had to be very patient and innovative to find a solution that fitted me. It's amazing how many combinations I found to pass those meters; but for many of them I was not tall enough. I knew that this was not an excuse, therefore I was patient and finally I found a combination that worked also for me… Some more moves, but at the end it was easy. I didn't do any specific training like Güllich had to do for Action Direct. The holds are small crimpers, which I am good at.
Do you already think about next 8c’s. Do you want to become stabilized at this grade?
This year I will concentrate myself more towards competitions, but to break a routine I will also visit Misja PeŔ, and there I will take one more look at Popolni mrk 8c (The Total Eclipse); in the upper part, there is a long move that I wasn't able to do some years ago. It's not so long really, but I wasn't able to do it some years ago…I have to improve technique of high stepping. This often stopped me on competitions also.
Let us now talk about competition climbing. Now you have very strong Slovenian women team. Can you say you form a real team, supporting each other during the international competitions?
Yes, we are a great team! And I think that it's also a friendly team atmosphere that makes us even stronger at the competitions. It's good for one's self-consciousness to have a team mate in the final. And even when one doesn't do a very good performance, a good result of a team mate shows that everything is possible.
Throughout the years the situation has changed. A few years ago you were undisputedly No. 1 in Slovenian competition climbing, now you are not. But you still seem to have very high motivation to improve your skills and show that you still can be a very strong competitor. What is your driving force? And can you define what you like in competition so much, that you’re still so strongly motivated after all those years?
Lately I have realized that I am not a competitive type of a person; at least not in the way that Natalija is. I compete mostly with myself. And I think this is the answer to the question what's pushing me forward. Many athletes would already stop their career after such a "down" in the curve of results. But I know that I am not as bad as the results show. The others just became much stronger and show me what is possible. Now when I see how strong the young climbers are, I am curious if I can progress in physical, technical and mental aspect to a higher level. I am always learning, and I know I still have to learn a lot. Dynamic moves, open holds, pockets – all my weak points are still to improve. Therefore I found a new coach, Ales Jensterle. He can really observe well and tell what to do to make one move more economic. Power is not my strong point, therefore I have to find the most easy way to do powerful moves.
Martina, I wish you a great come back to the leading role in the World Cup, and I’m sure you’re able to do this. But regardless of your success or failure on that “mission”, it’s obvious that your competition career is slowly coming to the end. I’m interested how do you imagine, do you have an idea about your “climbing life” without competitions?
Woow, there are so many rocks I would like to visit all around the world! I think I would need two lives to climb everywhere I wish to! Now I also have a group of recreative climbers and I enjoy teaching and training them. Maybe I will be working as a trainer, but I know this is a hard job. But I think I have a lot of climbing experiences and I would like to share them.
I know you’re interested in mental training for climbing. When we talked in Arco last September you even mentioned working on the book on mental aspects of climbing together with Natalija Gros and Ales Jensterle. Will Gadd said some time ago: “The longer I climb, the more I realise it’s totally mental” Would you agree?
Yes, I would. I would add, however, that without physical preparation, the mental one can't help. The mental aspect of climbing manifests itself when you climb at your limits. Nowadays climbers are all very strong and mental and technique aspects are the ones that make the difference. It's because of that, the mental preparation is becoming more and more important.
Let’s come back to that book project. Can you say something more about it?
The book was already finished in October, but the hardest part of work started only after that - to get the money to have it published. I hope it's out before the beginning of the competitions, because all this additional work demands a lot of energy.
Some climbers, coaches and psychologists have already read the book and they really liked it! It's a fusion of our and some other world class climber's experiences with psychological theory and exercises how to get strong head which leads you to the top. The title is: With head and heart till the top!
Now it’s still more than two months before first World Cup competition. On what you’re concentating now in your training?
Right now it's really very hard. I've never trained so much indoor as I do this year. With Natalija we are training together, but the fact is, that I can't follow her rhythm. My physical constitution is not as strong as hers. We are training mainly on boulder walls, because in Slovenia we don't have any good big wall to climb with a rope. It's a pity. Apart from climbing, I do some fitness kind of training at home. Sometimes I have a feeling that my body is quite on the limit, because everyday I feel another muscle aching, but I hope I will get through this phase. It's the motivation to learn something new, which makes me forget the pain. I enjoy it and that's important. As long as I enjoy it, also my body will cooperate with me.
And any specific rock climbing plans for season 2007?
I don't plan my future as far as that . Right now I have one 8b (Nocna kronika) as a big challenge; there is a jump at the end of it, which seemed impossible to me last week….But IF YOU WISH SOMETHING DEEPLY IN YOUR HEART, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. So I will go again soon.
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