At the beginning of February, the world's largest sports fair took place in Munich. Big and established brands, small and emerging brands, they were all there to promote attention. LACRUX has some for you visited smaller brands and presented their convincing products, We also had the opportunity to talk to Chris Sharma about dad's existence, his projects and the topic Kneepad = Cheatpad.
The interview was conducted by Remo Schläpfer
Here in Munich, there is quite a traffic chaos due to the many snow. You live in sunny Spain. When did you last see snow?
Last week (laughs). I was snowboarding in Spain, The cool thing is that you can go skiing one and a half hours from Barcelona.
In that case, are not you just crazy about rock climbing?
I love snowboarding, but in the winter time the conditions are great for climbing here in Spain. It is therefore difficult to combine the two sports. If I go climbing one day and drive for two hours, then I do not want to drive around the next day to go snowboarding. That's why I rarely go to the snow.
Many years ago you moved to Spain and left your native USA behind. What moved you to this?
I did not leave the US behind me. Since I was 16 years old until about with 26 I was always on the go. I felt more like a citizen of the world who always went back to his home base in California. But then I got into the Deep Water Soloing (Psichobloc) in Majorca in love and began to climb and set up routes in Spain. At some point, the climbing gym in Barcelona, which I opened, was added. Of course, the wedding with my wife and the founding of a family was also very important. But I still call California a second home.
"Spain became more and more my home."
You have just started numerous routes in Catalonia. One of them is Neanderthal (9b), which waited ten years for a repeat. Why did it take so long? * (See note at the end of the article)
Phu, no idea. I know that Adam Ondra and Magnus Midtbø tried the route. First you have to climb a 7b + up to a ledge, maybe that is too cumbersome for many. Or maybe it's just the hardest 9b of all the 9b's I've set up in Spain.
Chris jokes on Instagram, the repetition of Neanderthal may have taken so long, because no one has found his secret resting place and published to a picture with flip flops on the feet and sandwich in hand.
You mention a very exciting topic. Are Kneepads cheatpads for you?
If I can project a route and can not climb a job, then I'm looking for an alternative solution. This is of course similar to the Kneepad. When climbing, you are always looking for the simplest solution to be able to score a route. Personally, I prefer freedom and climb without Kneepad. At the end of the day, it's a decision that everyone has to make for themselves.
"It is clear, however, that a kneepad changes the character of a route and its difficulty significantly."
You could even be so extreme and wonder where the journey is going in the future: Will you wear a full body rubber suit at some point? (laughs) No idea where the limit lies.
Back to you as a professional athlete. Since 2015 you are married and now father of two children. How did the new constellation affect your climbing career?
Oh yeah. My children have first priority. For me, having children is something enriching, very general in life, I mean. But it is also for climbers something enriching. Because climbers live only for themselves, their passion and their goals. It can also be quite stressful if something does not work out. If I have time to climb now that I'm a dad, then I'm so happy and I value it a lot more and I'm super motivated.
"Since I've had children, I've somehow felt less pressure."
Even if I have less time for climbing, I still want to climb hard, project and go to the limit. But it is much more than before the joy of climbing.
What are your projects for the current year?
With two children at home, it is most important to me that I continue to climb more or less regularly (smiles). I often go to the area Cova de l'Ocell, near Barcelona. In just 40 minutes drive I am there, can climb, have brilliant projects and stay in shape. And then of course I like routes like Le Blonde and Perfecto Mundo try.
"I go climbing around two to three times a week."
Besides climbing I have another “project”. We are opening a second climbing hall, this time in Madrid. In summary, my goal is to continue to be “psyched” for climbing, to push myself to the limits of what is possible, to stay in good shape and just let it “flow”.
Merci, Chris, for the interview.
That might interest you
Jakob Schubert repeated the route in December 2018, Adam Ondra spent about a week in Spain and got the second repetition of the route Neanderthal, The interview with Chris Sharma was conducted prior to the onslaught by Adam Ondra.