Josune Bereziartu Interview - Part I
ClimbAndMore: Is that true that you were inspired to try climbing after seeing a documentary about the Verdon Gorge?
Josune Bereziartu: Yes, that’s right. It was a Spanish TV programme. There were two girls climbing in the Verdon Gorge. The documentary was in “Al Filo De Lo Imposible” TV programme. Well, on the 20th anniversary of that programme I took part in it. It was the “El Pilar del Cantabrico” issue.
Did you have any problems at school because of climbing?
Not at all. I started climbing when I was pretty “old”. When I was 17. I have always been an independent girl. My parents trusted me, so when I started climbing, they accepted it as something normal.
Did you become fanatical to get good at climbing from the very start?
Yes! You know, when I was younger I was like an earthquake. I saw that TV programme and I immediately wanted to go climbing. I’m a very determined person. If I want something, I don’t stop until I get it. So until I started practising it, I hadn’t cooled down. Anyway, I was able to it very soon because my sister’s boyfriend knew some climbers and it was pretty easy to begin.
You mentioned meeting Rikar as a very important, if not a turning point in your early career. What did Rikar change in your attitude to climbing?
Yes, it’s true. He comes from the next town. And he and his friends were considered some of the best climbers in the Basque Country. We knew each other because the climbing community at that time was pretty small… But when we started dating, he allowed me to understand how important it is to train if you want to go further in climbing. Since that time lots of things have changed around climbing. The atmosphere, the popularity… But I still maintain the same principles about training.
What was Rikar’s climbing level at the time?
That was at the end of the eighties and he climbed 8b, but two years later he did 8b+.
What were your strong points at the beginning and how has it been changing through the years?
Well, I think one very important thing was that at the beginning I went climbing in the areas where Rikar would climb his projects. So many times I tried routes that were very difficult for me (El Sicario, 8b+, Panoramix, 8b+/c…) You know, your boyfriend goes to try an 8b+ and if there aren’t any easiest routes around, you finally try the same route. So at the beginning I tried this kind of routes many times. I think that because of that I was able to gain power. You know, all the moves on those hard routes were almost like boulders for me. I realized that if something didn’t change, I would not go further in climbing and I changed my priorities completely: I wanted to climb as many routes as I could. And the result was that my repertoir of moves increased more and more, and the stamina, too… I gained much more self-confidence. Finally, I started to climb better and better.
Were you interested in the science of the climbing training at the beginning, or did you do it rather instinctively? And what about Rikar? What training were you doing in the early years of climbing together?
I was so interested in the theory of training that I used to translate different articles about training from French and English as well. But of course at the beginning it was pretty instinctive. I tried to transfer training methods from other individual sports or programmes to climbing. The direct consequence of that is that I have always understood training with a chronometer. My goal has always been to go further. Every year I think of another kind of stimulus in training or design new parts of my climbing wall… So at the beginning it was Rikar was who planned the training routines for me. He used to train doing series of single routes or boulders form the very beginning of his career… But when my climbing level rose, we used to design our workouts together. In recent years we have trained at the same time, but separately. Our climbing styles are different; my weaknesses are so different from Rikar’s that we need different kinds of training.