In climbing I do things that I enjoy and want to do not the ones that are currently in fashion.
Muriel Sarkany
Brand news
Climbandmore special
News/Last added
Muriel Sarkany - Portrait
Mélissa Le Nevé on bouldering, competition, grades and the enjoyment of climbing
Adam Ondra on bouldering
David Lama on Maestri Route, climbing ethics
François Nicole on FA Amazonie 9a

Anna Gallyamova - the winner of Ice Climbing World Cup 2010

Interviewed by Tomasz Mazur for the Góry Magazine #190 (March 2009)

I can't believe (however I could be wrong) that you expected winning in ICWC 2010. What did you think about your results before starting competitions in this year? Especially that you haven't had successes in years before in World Cup.

Of course I didn’t expect it. I haven’t understood so far how it could happen.
I compete in Russian ice climbing competitions for several years. I’ve heard a lot about international competitions from Russian ice climbers. They said ice structure there was more difficult and routes were more interesting. I thought and decided I could try it! Ice climbing is amazing kind of sport: one month for training with axes, one month for competitions, and that’s all! It’s good winter activity!

To the last event in Busteni, it was an open issue who could win in women' lead. What contributed to your success?
Just girls (Lucie and Chloe) made a present to me – they missed the finals. I jumped at the chance! But I think it was pure luck!
After Saas Fee I returned to Russia to have a little rest before final event, it contributed to my success too. Special thanks Pavel Dobrinskiy and Stanislav Lobzov for their help. They have made an ice climber out of me. Honestly speaking I still feel like a beginner at ice climbing)

How your life has changed after this success? More renown, more friends, more money, more sponsors?
I haven’t any sponsors yet) but I wouldn’t mind for one or two)
I never thought that ice climbing would interest me so much. But my success in IWC has changed my attitude to this sport, and now I’m planning to compete in IWC next year. Also I have met interesting people, I’ve visited interesting places and I’ve won the gold ice axe and got some money for vacation on the seaside)

During the starts in Western Europe, did you have a time to try some ice climbing in Alps? If so, what it was? And hoe to you compare it to ice formation in Russia?
We climbed a little in Kaprun, Austria. I think it was M8-M9. I don’t know. Then we want to climb in Eisarena, Pitztal but the glacier was out of condition, and climbing was impossible there. Also we climbed in Kandersteg. It was the first time I’ve climbed mixed routes. I can’t say that I like it) I was scared to climb with axes on the rocks. Like any girl :)
To be honest I have never climb ice routes anywhere. I asked my friend about ice formation in Russia, he told me about ice routes in Caucasus Mountains.

In Russia you are a quite famous and start with good results in lots of competition. However, the first time, the climbing world heard about you in 2001, when you won European Youth Cup Speed... But tell me how and when did you start climbing? Who showed you climbing? What your family is thinking about your passion to climbing?
My parents took me on the rocks, when I was a child. Then I understood nothing :) My father used to climb, he showed us (me and my sister) climbing. He introduced us to coach, and I started climb in 1999. Climbing interested me from the first steps. My parents have nothing against my hobby, and they always watch my results in all competitions.


You mentioned your sister... I suppose she won this year Ice Climbing European Championship in speed. So, is it competition between you or rather you support each other?
Nadezhda is my younger sister, and I try to give her competition experience. We started climb together, but she was not good in climbing. Now she wants to try her luck in ice climbing competitions. We support each other in competitions and trainings. We have one pair of ice climbing shoes and for a long time we climbed with one pair of ice axes.           

Excluding the ice climbing, you started in speed competition as youth (with successes - on World Championship you were first in 2002, then third in 2005). But in the last time we can meet you mainly on the bouldering events (including winning on Melloblocco in the last year). So, you are a multi-disciplinary climber. What is your favourite kind of competition? How do you manage training for all of this kinds of?
Yes, I was good in speed in the beginning, because almost all Russians climb speed. But now I prefer bouldering, I like to think that I have one more attempt. I compete only in boulder competitions, but I want to try myself in lead too. Because it’s so boring to watch lead competitions, I guess lead is much more interesting when you are competitor.

Before this year I didn’t train a lot for ice climbing. I just borrowed ice axes from friends, came to Russian ice climbing championship and became the third. It was possible, because all girls in Russia are not so strong except Maria Tolokonina. I think in the next year Maria will return to ice climbing and winning IWC will be not so easy)


It's a bit shock for me, when you said that spend only one month on training, then won ICWC... So the competitions are really easy or you have talent for climbing?

Any rock climber can do ice climbing. Depending climber’s skill one could win ICWC) It is necessary to train specific features and moves using ice tools and crampons like figure four. It will not take a long time. Strength and confidence will come soon)


However, that's not at all, because you climb not only on competitions, but as well on natural rock and ice. What are your the best achievements in this one?
I really like to climb natural rocks, but it happens rarely. It’s too difficult to catch time for hard rock climbing during the competition season. The nearest climbing areas for Russian climbers are Crimea (Ukraine), Finland, or Eastern Europe) It isn’t good choice for weekend climbing.
Routes: 8b redpoint, 8a flash, onsight… hm…7c
Bouldering: I’ve done some problems at Melloblocco. I’m not sure about the grades, but I think the hardest one was about 7c.

For many people Russian climbers associate to competitions in speed, in ice climbing and a high end of mountaineering. We haven't heard too much about Russian rock climbers and areas. I suppose it have to be vibrant, but could you tell me how looks a climbing community in Russia? Could you recommend some areas for rock climbing (and ice as well)?
Climbing in Russia is not so popular like in Europe.
We haven’t a lot of rocks as France or Spain has, but all Russian climbers like climbing on the rocks. So there is local climbing area next to each city. There are rocks with positive angle, and easy routes – that’s all we have! One of the best climbing areas is Stolby in Krasnoyarsk, other area is located in Karelia next to Sankt-Petersburg. All Russian climbers every year go climbing to Crimea, Ukraine, though it’s quite distance from some cities.

You derive from Yekaterinburg, but are living in Moscow. What are you doing for life? What is your profession?
I’ve finished The Urals State Technical University in Yekaterinburg, my specialization is chemical technology of glasses and enamels. After that I went to Moscow. I have more opportunities here: there are more climbing gyms, strong climbers, and competitions. My life is closely connected with climbing. Sometimes I teach people how to climb.

I saw lots of websites about climbing in Russian. But I've found that you are contributed with Could you tell me something about?
I’ve been contributing with just for 1 year. I write to the website and to the magazine about climbing, ice climbing…etc. It’s interesting for me and it doesn’t take much time.

I know tat you like to eat good food (but not looks like people who like eats a lot :)), spend time with friends, skiing and playing in... Backgammon! Are you good in this game? ;)
Where did you find it? :)
It is joke about backgammon, for the rest it’s true) I really like good food :)

See also
Ice Climbing WC 2010
Markus Bendler on Ice Climbing WC.
Angelika Rainer on Ice Climbing WC
News | Fotogallery | Clips | Interviews | Gear | Quotes | Climbers | Training/Tech Tips | Regions | Walls | Routes/Crags | Books/Movies | Mags | Links |
All texts and photos copyright (C) 2005-2020 Piotr Dro¿d¿ - ClimbandMore, unless otherwise credited
Editors: Monika M³odecka, Janusz Szymik