Alexander Rohr is one of the names we will hear more often in the future. The young Bernese makes with routes like Ravage or Alpenbitter talked about and has plans in Norwegian Flatanger. Our guest author Jeannine Zubler talked to Alex about motivation, training and why he does not like competitions.

A guest contribution by Jeannine Zubler

Alex, you are in Switzerland for a short time, where are you going next?
In the Frankenjura, after Ceüse and then longer after Flatanger.

Do you have a specific project in Flatanger?
I have two main projects. In addition, I look what happens.

Are you telling us which ones?
I keep the routes for myself. That makes it more relaxed for me.

Keyword Print: You often struggle with this as we go Alpenbitter could read?
I am often misunderstood. In the way I do climbing, you might think it's about climbing better than the competition. I do not measure myself with others. It's my personal pressure when I realize it's not going as planned. at Alpenbitter it was like that. Last year, I failed especially at the fitness and therefore have specially trained this winter. Of course I wanted to see results on the rock.

How is the pressure expressed?
That is very different. Pressure can have a positive effect because I make the handles even tighter and give everything because I want it wholeheartedly. But there are the frustrating moments when I can not enjoy anymore. I had already climbed alpine bitter in my imagination, but not yet real. That makes it difficult.

How are you going to get rid of this negative pressure?
I talk to myself well. I tell myself, look, I've climbed these routes so fast this year, that's a lot better than I was last year. That gives me the security back.

Alexander Rohr in the route Wipeout (8c / 8c +) in Gimmelwald
Alexander Rohr in the route Wipeout (8c / 8c +) in Gimmelwald

In Flatanger you will look back on Alpenbitter?
Exactly. That's why I wanted to pull Alpenbitter through as quickly as possible. It was one of my toughest routes so far and I was not yet at the limit. I only climbed it in the sixth attempt of the day.

That means there is still a lot in it? Are you heading for Adam Ondra 9c?
I am in a very different phase than Ondra. I want to gain as much experience as possible and convince myself that difficult routes are just routes. I also intentionally climb routes that don't suit my style in order to improve and expand my repertoire. I don't have a life project like Ondra's Silencewhere you put everything on this one route.

Is it boring? So long on the same route?
Not boring, but exhausting, because success does not happen for a long time. Since you have to motivate yourself very much to stay tuned. I get bored when a route is too easy.

Can you live from climbing?
No, that's not my goal. I have sponsors, but I work as a landscape gardener and arborist when I'm in Switzerland.

Why not, that sounds tempting ...
Much more important to me is to pursue my own goals. In addition, sport climbing is much cheaper than expeditions in the Himalayas. Climbing the whole winter in Spain does not cost much. If you work in Switzerland that works well.

Alexander Rohr in another Gimmelwald classic - Renardo Rules (8c)
Alexander Rohr in another Gimmelwald classic - Renardo Rules (8c)

Do you have time to work out in addition to work in Switzerland?
It just requires a little sleep. I train almost only in the evening and have hardly any rest days.

Then probably no time left for friends?
My circle of colleagues consists almost exclusively of climbers, so I can maintain social contacts. But for colleagues outside of climbing I have no time.

How is that for your girlfriend?
Luckily she climbs too. It takes a lot of nerves for someone who only climbs "normally". You have to be able to understand this inner urge. When I tell people about it outside of climbing, I get many question marks.

How is your family, do you support them?
Yes totally. At first they did not know exactly what I'm doing and could not imagine much under the sportclimbing kind of game, but with the first sponsors the understanding of profit-sport came up.

So you are not from a climbing family?
My parents went egerg, but that is not comparable. They made classical high speed, 4000er in the Valais or Bernese Oberland. Sport climbing was not an issue at the time.

How did you come to sport climbing?
Schoolmates climbed and took me along. I already went to the mountains and jogging a lot. But when the climbing virus grabbed me, suddenly it had no significance anymore. At every opportunity, I just went to the rock or trained in the hall.

Extreme mountain climbing is not for you?
This is a title that the media give to those climbers. Some colleagues of mine are on the way. They are actually doing the same thing as me, trying to make their own choices and move boundaries. The difference is the risk. Sport climbing is much safer.

You also do not compete - why not?
I've registered twice for the Swiss championship. Every time the weather was nice and I went out to the rock ... It was never important enough to me. I don't want to give up the freedom I have created for myself for a competition calendar dictated by the association.

Do you only train on the rock?
If I only have five hours a day work out I can go to the hall. This is how I get fit. If you just mess around with the rocks all the time, you will not get better.

What does a workout look like?
I train endurance on the system wall. At the small, overhanging 32 degrees little wall with many small, randomly distributed handles I make circles.

You do not climb in the routes?
No, that would not be efficient. The routes are busy, you have to secure the colleague, so you have more break than climbing time. Depending on the phase, however, the recovery times between the loads are much shorter than the climbing time. That means, for example, I climb for five minutes and have a three-minute break. And then comes the next climbing unit.

Do you also do mental training?
No. But I have little ticks. Always wear the right shoe first, twice powdering your hands or removing the shirt. I set a sign: now I'm ready.

Do you have an idol?
Wolfgang Güllich. At that time he had no knowledge of training methods, he simply had an idea and made a few strips on a board and trained on them. That fascinates me, these visions, that is what we miss today. I also have colleagues who inspire me, such as Jonathan Siegrist. Of course they lack the idol value, I know them personally and I climb with them.

Can you imagine a life without climbing?
In the moment not. But I can imagine that later on I find something different than climbing and concentrate fully on it.

What are the reasons to find something new?
Personal progress is important to me. If I'm suddenly going backwards when climbing, because I'm getting too old, hurting myself, or just not feeling like I'm going to be shorter. But I'll probably always climb, but maybe not so much. When it comes to the pure joy of climbing, is enough once a week.

Since Flatanger, Alex is not so sure if he prefers lime or granite. If he is in Switzerland, one meets him in the Gimmelwald or in the Jura. For training he goes to the magnet in Bern. The Büsli is still on Alex's wish list. Alex is an after man, loves pizza and chocolate and listens to his feelings. If he were an animal, then most of all a monkey. Logically?

about the author
Jeannine Zubler is a freelance journalist and copywriter. She spends every free minute in the mountains and climbing and writes about everything that happens vertically.

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