In climbing I do things that I enjoy and want to do not the ones that are currently in fashion.
Muriel Sarkany
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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
Ethics & Style

Bouldering is a game in which it is rather easy to cheat, as well as the definitions of styles differ depending on whom you ask. Some people claims that a boulder can not be done on-sight. What is your opinion in this complex ethical mess?

Boulder can be surely done onsight if it starts from a stand start. Onsighting a boulder with a sit starts is a bit different story, I don't know what the opinion of the majority is but it would be wiser to call every first go in bouldering a flash. Additionally, I don't really think that anyone takes onsighting in case of bouldering seriously. When it comes to flashing, I do think that touching the holds as high as you can reach from the ground prior to the ascent is absolutely OK and it is the consensus of most climbers. A bigger issue is if someone doesn't understand the definition of sit-start, as it is the way of starting the climb when the butt is the last part of the body going off the ground. Sometimes it can make a huge difference in grading.

Adam Ondra (photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)

What do you think about eliminations? Do you think they can be used to push the grade a bit further?

It depends on the type of elimination. Sometimes it is logical, for example in case of the prohibition to use a side arete), whereas sometimes it seems really enforced, for example if there is one particular hold marked as prohibited to use.

Have you ever made an artificial hold or glued something on a project? What do you think about hold chipping?

I’m totally against hold chipping but I’m in favour of reinforcing them if there is a danger that they will surely pop off and consequently become a threat to a climber or belayer. Reinforcing is a common practice and it is too idealistic to think that it goes without a glue. Of course, when the rock is of super high quality it doesn’t happen that often and if it does it rarely affects the overhangs where the water doesn’t flow and doesn't clean the rock off the loose flakes and blocks. When a hold gets broken, I usually try to climb the route the way it is afterwards, but if the line got undoable, I wouldn't be against gluing the hold back.
The worst practice that sometimes takes place is making the existing hold better and in this case there is no step back, whereas if you drill a pocket in a smooth rock surface, there is still a chance that in the future the route will be climbed with the use of the natural holds only.

Future plans

What are your plans for the nearest future? Are they based more on sport climbing or buldering? Or maybe alpinism?

Right now it is only about sport climbing, having a good friendship with my drill and trying to explore some hard projects. It is something I’ve never done before anywhere else than my home area due to the lack of time because of the school and I can't wait to do more of it.

Which spots haven’t you visited yet, but you want to very much?

Norway, hidden virgin spots in Andalucia and Sardinia and obviously as I have never been to the U.S., I would like to take a look in there too.

As for now you climb, give interviews and receive money from your sponsors. Is it possible to make a living this way?

It is possible. Obviously, I will never ever be a billionaire like other athletes but it is enough to live my life in the way I have always dreamt of since I was a kid.

Do you have any future plans that are not connected with climbing? You know, like making a career in a big company or something like that?

I can't imagine myself neither in 10 nor 15 years time. I hope I will have finished studying economics by then and I might start some business but first I will have to come up with a really good idea. I like challenges, I am an active person and 100% of climbing is too much, training 3 hours a days is sufficient and in the rest of the day you can do different things.

You’ve already climbed in Poland, in Mamutowa. Would’t you like to come back for a little boulder session in Ciê¿kowice or Zimny Do³?

Haven't heard much about these spots, I would consider it if I ever happen to be somewhere around.

And finally, when will we see a 9A boulder?

Bouldering is out of my focus right now, but one way or another a 9A boulder problem seems far away, I have to make bigger progress. The fact that I did 8C+ in 12 days doesn't necessarily mean that I can do a 9A within for example two months. It is a fairy tale and it doesn't work like that. You don’t train while trying a hard route, you need a 100% rest before every single try, hence you need to rest a lot in general. And within a longer period of time a some sort of regress is bound to take place.

Adam Ondra (photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)

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