As a professional climber for 10+ years I’ve focussed my training on competition climbing. While climbing on rock, I tried to push my limits, climbed 9a routes and 8b+ boulders, but never really prepared and focussed on it 100%.
The original idea was to finish my training as I usually did, but instead of climbing a competition season, use that training fitness for rockclimbing. Going to Spain, Norway, or staying back home, no matter where; just see how many 9a’s I could do.
Then I realised: I’m not the youngest anymore (born 1985), and my ‘sportclimbing clock’ is ticking, at least to really push my limits. I started thinking where those limits would be, and where nowadays sportclimbing limits are…
That was back in 2015, when a handful of 9b’s were unevenly spread across the world’s climbing areas, and 9b+ had only just touched reality. I felt myself asking the question: ‘Could I do that?’ and quickly answering with a ‘no’. But a seed had been planted and the idea was born.
Let me see whether I’m able to climb 9b!
Fast forward to fall 2017, climbing had become Olympic, I had focussed on bouldering for the last few years (so endurance was not in my vocabulary) and injuries were haunting me. I don’t know what made me decide to choose the worst time I could think of, but I knew that there was no way back.
9b, I’m coming!
I grew up in the Netherlands, in a small town close to Amsterdam. I developed a passion for mountains when I was young, and started climbing at the age of 12.
After highschool I moved abroad, looking for adventure, rock climbing and a life I wanted to live. After France and Belgium I came to Austria, met my future wife Katha Saurwein, and decided to settle in Innsbruck.
I’ve competed in the worldcup season for 15 years, taking the lead title in 2008, and securing >25 podiums in lead and bouldering.
Ever since coming to the Alps, I was drawn to mountaineering and multi-pitch climbing, leading to trips to Chile, Morocco and the US, and climbing on the Alps biggest faces.
I found a passion for Yosemite’s granite bigwalls, and free climbed several routes on El Cap, e.g. ‘The Nose‘ and ‘Dihedral Wall‘, both 5.14-.
Since I always thought that focussing 100% of your time to climbing is counter productive, I started studies in Earth sciences, finishing a Masters in Mineralogy and Crystallography. I’m currently engaged in a Masters in Material and Nanosciences.
I have a weakness for books and classical music and I’m a hopeless romantic.
DOB: 5th of June 1985
Height: 1.81m (5”11)
Weight: 67 kg (148 pds)
Married to Katharina Saurwein
Climbing start: 1997
Hometown: Innsbruck (AUT)