Daniel Woods

Daniel Woods
Daniel Woods profile - photo: © Forest Woodward

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Daniel Woods portrait
Date de naissance: 
1 August 2012
Lieu de résidence: 
Boulder, Colorado
Formation: 
17 years of climbing
Statut actuel: 
Professional Rock Climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2002

In search of a challenge
I started sport climbing when I was five years old. At age eight I began to take it seriously, training for projects and entering competitions. I sent my first 8b+ (7 p.m. Show, in Rifle, Colorado) when I was 13. From there I discovered bouldering, which consumed the next eight years of my life. The last two years I have been focusing on both apsects of climbing. I like this challenge and it allows me to keep improving, keep motivated. I like how sport climbing tests your mental fitness along with physical endurance; in bouldering, I like how powerful the movement is, which allows you to test the body's limit. However, switching back and forth from sport climbing to bouldering is difficult to manage at a top level. I find it especially hard to get back into bouldering mode after taking a month or two off. When I'm in good bouldering shape, I can transition into sport climbing and feel strong. It takes a couple weeks to build fitness, but overall, my bouldering strength makes up for this.

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On rest days
I don't like taking rest days. There's so much climbing to sample that taking days off makes me feel like I am missing out on something new. Still, skateboarding, boulder/cliff searching, writing, listening to music, and watching movies are some of the things I do on an off day. I especially like to write when I'm not climbing. It is fun to post blogs for others to read about what you're establishing -- I know I get motivated to read my friend's blogs and see what they're up to.

Tracking progress
I grew up in Boulder and developed myself as a climber here. The one thing that is really special to me about Colorado is tracking my progression over time. In the past, when I was climbing 8A (v11) and 8b+ (5.14a), there were so many futuristic projects that I thought of as impossible, but my goal was to become good enough to do them. I have now climbed the "impossible" and have a new futuristic ticklist. Only at your home area can you gauge your progression and push your standards. This is because you can spend more time searching for new potential. Luckily, Colorado offers a surplus of climbing, allowing you to do so.

Strength, energy, and inspiration
I get psyched when I find a new line that hasn't been completed. I like the process of figuring out moves and overcoming failure to complete the moves. When the climb is finished, it's your trophy to hold onto.

I am inspired by Chris [Sharma], Dave [Graham], Jon [Cardwell], Joe [Kinder], and Adam [Ondra]. These guys are psyched on developing new climbs and have good energy. I like anyone who is psyched on what they're doing and gives it their all to complete a project.

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Daniel Woods featured videos - from BigUP productions 

Watch Daniel Woods climbing Jade (V15)

Watch Daniel Woods winning a bouldering world cup

Sasha DiGiulian

Sasha DiGiulian - photo: © Justin Roth

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Sasha DiGiulian - photo: © Justin Roth
Date de naissance: 
23 October 1992
Lieu de résidence: 
New York City
Formation: 
Student, Columbia University
Statut actuel: 
Professional Rock Climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2011

Progression

I started climbing in 1999, after being introduced to the sport at a birthday party at a local climbing gym. With climbing, I love how you are in complete control of your own progression. I have a love-hate relationship with projecting a route. This projecting realm is also what I find unique and mentally challenging about the sport.

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Acts of Freedom

Running, like climbing a long route, involves the same mindset of solitude in movement and mental freedom. I like this singleness, but I also love being social with friends and having a good time with others.

 

Special Places

I love Spain, to both visit and to climb, and New York City to live! The Spanish culture is so amazing to me – I love the enthusiasm for climbing and the tranquil lifestyle. Some of the best sport climbs in the world reside in Spain and I enjoy trying to speak the language. The landscape is vast and beautiful. I love NYC because the energy in the air is palpable and there is constantly something happening. The city is full of life.

 

Sources of Inspiration

Every one of my friends has a certain quality that is unique and inspiring.

 

My Favorite Book

The Great Gatsby, for its rich depth of word choice and encouragement of dreams.

 

My Motto

Smile and treat others the way you like to be treated. Appreciate others' values but hold true to your own morals.

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Emily Harrington

Emily Harrington - photo © J. Roth
Emily Harrington profile - photo © J. Evans

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Emily Harrington – photo: © Justin Roth
Date de naissance: 
17 August 1986
Lieu de résidence: 
Berkley, California
Formation: 
International Affairs
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2002

Climbing is a lifelong journey
Climbing is a unique sport because it is also a lifestyle and a lifelong journey. There is always a new place to visit, a new style to learn, a new way to experience climbing and explore the world. For example, I climbed an artificial wall when I was 10 and begged my dad to take me to the climbing gym after that. Since then, I have primarily sport climbed, but more recently I’ve gotten into mixed and ice climbing, as well as some minimal mountaineering (summited Everest and Mt. Blanc in 2012).

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Finding a balance
I like running and more recently have discovered skiing again after quitting at age 13 to pursue climbing. I don't enjoy only climbing all the time and prefer to have a balance, which can be hard to find when one's job title is "professional climber." I also enjoy writing and reading to escape and go into my own world when I'm traveling and heavily immersed in climbing.

 

Where to climb? Where to live?
Spain, of course, is my favorite spot for sport climbing, because it's just that good. I love visiting the Himalaya, in Nepal, because of its insane beauty and rich culture. I just recently moved to California to live because, in my opinion, it has everything: good weather, beaches, and mountains.

 

Sources of inspiration
I find strength, energy, and inspiration through traveling, meeting people, having adventures, and experiencing new cultures. Sasha DiGiulian is also an inspiration for stepping it up for all females and doing what she loves without concerning herself with negativity. I consider Conrad Anker, our team captain on The North Face Team, to be a mentor. He's a badass and loves what he does. I was on Everest with him this past spring. I've never seen someone so psyched to be suffering. He's passionate and motivated to share his love for the outdoors, which I think it super inspiring.

 

Personal motto 
Do not accept unwanted advice; write your own story. 

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Diaporama Photos: 

Jorg Verhoeven

Jorg Verhoeven profile - © Erwan Lelann
Jorg Verhoeven profile - © Reni Fichtinger

Netherlands

NLD
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Photo portrait: 
Jorg Verhoeven - © Erwan Lelann
Date de naissance: 
5 June 1985
Lieu de résidence: 
Innsbruck (Austria)
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2008

The journey of a competitor
«No matter what their discipline is, all athletes pretty much share the same feelings. In the end they have the same type of relationship with their brand, their equipment, their team. The only difference is the level and the amount of media recognition. As a Dutch climber I started climbing in the gym, but I quickly realized there were other opportunities. Since 2005, I have lived in the Austrian Alps. In one word, I live a dream. I am a professional competition climber but I also climb outdoors a lot. I find the most pleasure outdoors, in nature.»

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A rapid progression from climbing gyms to big walls
«My life as a climber can be summed up as primarily competition climbing in the beginning, and then bouldering, and now mostly climbing on big sport routes and big walls.
 
 
Just after I started climbing, it became obvious to me that I should become a professional climber. As soon as I finished high school I packed my bags and left. I left my flat homeland to climb as much as possible.
 
 
I saw many different places around the world, some magnificent and others polluted. I found rock everywhere. Without a doubt, my favorite spot to recharge and relax is Reunion Island. The island is simply paradise.»
 
 

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Alexander Huber

Alex Huber profile - photo © Sam Bié
Alex Huber profile - photo © Sam Bié

Germany

DEU
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Photo portrait: 
Alex Huber - photo © Sam Bié
Date de naissance: 
30 December 1968
Lieu de résidence: 
Berchtesgaden (Bayern, Germany)
Formation: 
Physics
Statut actuel: 
Mountain guide, professional mountaineer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1993

I caught the bug for extreme mountaineering
«When my brother and I were kids our parents introduced us to the mountains and to mountaineering. My father, well known in the 1960s for his fast ascents of the North Face of Les Droites, passed on to us his passion for extreme mountaineering. My home – with my family and friends – is the foundation of my life. What is important is to have integrity in whatever situation life presents. Without this solid foundation as a springboard, I would not be able to venture off in new directions. This is why I have been working with most of my sponsors for more than 15 years. In 1997, I received a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Munich. This education also served to strengthen my foundation as a climber.»

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Sean Villanueva

Sean Villanueva profile - photo © Sam Bié
Sean Villanueva profile - photo © Sam Bié

Ireland

IRL
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Photo portrait: 
Sean Villanueva - photo © Sam Bié
Date de naissance: 
7 February 1981
Lieu de résidence: 
Brussels (Belgium)
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2011

 
«I started climbing when I was 13 years old, in a climbing gym in Belgium.
I then started sport climbing. In the beginning, camping and hitchhiking were enough to satisfy my need for adventure. Then I discovered what has now become my specialty, big wall free climbing, wet mossy off-widths, runout slabs...»

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First free ascents with my tin whistle
«I love climbing. It’s the challenge. Moving over rock, giving it everything, exploring. I like all styles of climbing. Good quality, bulletproof rock with perfect holds is amazing to climb, and so is wet, mossy, chossy off-widths. It adds to the adventure, and makes it… interesting. Climbing is my way to live life. I can travel, meet amazing people, share experiences and live incredible adventures. Big wall free climbing teaches you everything about life. It makes you live the moment. You can really feel things, you can really taste food, and you can really feel the rock shredding your fingers as the blood oozes out. There is nothing I don’t like about big wall free climbing. Any activity I do is related to climbing really. I like to slackline. It teaches me to be in an optimal state of mind in which thought, emotion and experience become one. It brings me to a state where the notion of time does not exist, everything happens in the here and now, where everything is connected. The same state of mind as when the climbing flows. My tin whistle is an essential part of my climbing equipment. When I’m dangling high up a vertical cliff, stuck in a storm in a small portaledge for days in a row, my tin whistle is there to make sure that I’m not waiting. I’m being. I play music.»
 
My favorite place is planet Earth
«I like wild and remote places and preferably with big rock walls. Places I have visited include Yosemite, Patagonia, Pakistan, Baffin Island and Greenland. There are many other places on the planet that I would like to visit.»
 
My goal in life: to meet, to share, to inspire
«I like to share my experiences and adventures and I do so through writing articles, making films and giving slide shows. It is very important. It’s great to be able to inspire people to live their dreams. I also think it is meaningful to share with people the importance of respecting the rock, the mountains and nature and to have good vibes. I would like to continue doing what I do, and go and explore big walls in remote and wild places.»
 
Sean’s anecdote
«One of my most difficult moments on a Big Wall, was on the Central Tower of Torres Del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. On day five of an eleven day ascent, while going to the bathroom in a storm, hanging 150 m off the ground, my last piece of toilet paper flew away! Forcing me to continue the rest of the ascent with rocks, ice and whatever I could find really!»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Playlist video featuring Sean Villanueva.

Vertical Sailing expedition, courtesy of Patagonia video

Enzo Oddo

Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Arnaud Petit
Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Sam Bié

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Arnaud Petit
Date de naissance: 
22 February 1995
Lieu de résidence: 
Côte d’Azur (French Riviera - France)
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2010

Enzo, full of youthful exuberance…
 
«I’ve enjoyed climbing from early childhood. Why? I was born in Nice, there’s rock everywhere and the weather’s good year round, so going climbing is easy. My parents climbed. When I was little my parents brought with them all the time when they went climbing. I feel right at home climbing.
Until the age of 13, I really enjoyed climbing the cliffs of the French Riviera, but now, after having traveled with Team Petzl, it’s not the same type of enjoyment.»

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Landscapes I prefer the most?
«With the Team, there are so many new and unique places to discover. We take an original approach to developing new areas and to putting up new routes, which always out in the wilderness somewhere. The best are bouldering spots like Bishop, Millau, the Tarn valley, outside Briançon, Entraigues, and Roche de Rame. I feel relaxed in the mountains. Perhaps it’s an inherent need for peace and quiet...»
 
To feel like I’m progressing
«What do I like about climbing? I don’t know. I just enjoy it. I don’t have any long term goals. But when I’m in the moment it’s a powerful feeling. Climbing is an overall experience, something that recharges my battery. I don’t enjoy sending a route for the sake of sending a route, what I enjoy is progressing, moving forward. I like to succeed in feeling comfortable with the route, like a day that just goes well without knowing exactly why.»
 
And the future?
«I don’t really think about it. Time will tell. I’d like to continue climbing as much as possible. I don’t see myself working in climbing all my life until retirement. That’s not my thing. I’m neither interested in becoming a certified climbing instructor, nor in creating a company to coach or to train climbers. At the same time, I can’t imagine my life without climbing. For everything else, I’m confident that it will all work out. In the beginning, I had a hard time convincing my parents to let me stop going to school. Now they fully support me; a big thanks to them. They only ask that I do the best I can in life, and to be serious about what I like to do. Since I’m almost 17, I should be at least somewhat focused.»
 
Any difficulties or limitations?
«I need to work more on those areas where I do not excel. For example I need to be more disciplined in working on endurance. That said, I don’t compete, so I don’t have that limitation. Competitions take up too much time. Indoor climbing is not at all representative of what I like to do. It’s something else. I’m not able to express myself when climbing plastic. For me, it has nothing to do with the sport, with the freedom of climbing in the great outdoors.»
 
In life…
«The people with whom I’m the closest are climbers. At this point in time I only hang out with climbers, often climbers who in the 16 to 24 age group. My favorite book is "The Centenarian Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared", by Jonas Jonasson. My favorite film is "A Serious Man", by the Coen brothers.»
 
Enzo's anecdote
«During an evening get together with friends in March, 2011, I said to a friend ‘do you want to go climbing?’ He said okay. So I took him to the top of a crane at a nearby construction site to do a pendulum. He had never put on a harness in his life. It’s three in the morning, and we have no right to be there, no headlamps, and no helmets. We’re both sixteen years old. We had a rope, a GRIGRI, and one quickdraw between the two of us. He took forever to climb from one rung to another. We wanted to swing like the trapeze at the circus, but halfway up the crane’s boom, he collapsed, exhausted and scared. What a mess. Charles was just hanging there. At least we were roped up. I was pulled to the side. I then lowered him down and things turned out just fine.»
 
What they say about Enzo:
Mike Fuselier
«Enzo is young, which means that he is totally unpredictable and spontaneous. Climbing with Enzo is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get… There are plenty of stories to tell, but here’s a good one. The story takes place in Cuba, at a guest house. During a discussion about American movies, Enzo talks about the boldness of Jean-Claude Van Damme, who takes a coconut to the abs when dropped from 10 meters above. To prove his nerve, we decided that he should experience a similar feat of strength, so we blindfolded him and started pummeling his powerful abdominal muscles with a few water bottles. He went from being a little nervous to wanting to see just how powerful a blow he could take. The dare only lasted a few minutes and Enzo took on the onslaught of bottle blows no problem… at the time. But the next day, his stomach covered in bruises demonstrated just how much he really took. "It’ll help build abs, which are good for locking off", Enzo said. All in good humor…»
 
Aymeric Clouet
«When we were with Arnaud in Morocco, in the Taghia region of Atlas Mountains, we were explaining basic aid technique to Enzo, how to use hooks, various safety measures, and how to use ascenders to climb up a rope. At some point in the discussion it was clear that Enzo had stopped paying attention and was no longer listening. Arnaud and I decided to stop for the day thinking that we would pick up where we left of later. Just afterwards we could tell that he had understood everything. Enzo learns quickly, is able to apply everything right away, and in addition has a great memory. He’s amazing.»
 
Nina Caprez
«I have a wonderful memory of when we were in Cuba. The title of the story could be, ‘psychoanalysis.’
On our last day in Cuba we went to the beach. In general Enzo is not too nit-picky when it comes to how clean his clothes are. But on this particular day he took a change of clean clothes for after the beach. He was already cleaned up and ready for the bus trip back while the rest of us were still in our bathing suits when Cédric found nothing better to do than to spray Coca-Cola all over Enzo’s clothes. Given how rare the situation was for Enzo (perfectly clean white clothes), the moment that followed was classic. Enzo got all angry and yelled, "What the hell, I was perfect!" Everyone ended up having a good laugh, including Enzo once he realized what he had said. There you have it, "I was perfect", Enzo’s new saying.»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video playlist featuring Enzo Oddo

Arnaud Petit

Arnaud Petit profile - photo © Tony Lamiche
Arnaud Petit profile - photo © Thomas Vialletet

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Arnaud Petit - photo © Tony Lamiche
Date de naissance: 
17 February 1971
Lieu de résidence: 
Céüse, France
Formation: 
Master's degree in Physics
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber, high-mountain guide, author, photographer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1994

Giving meaning to my passion
«I like doing things right, even if it takes time. Generally, my most significant projects come to me in a passionate, spur-of-the-moment manner, without planning, shaped by the people I've met and the activities I’m doing at the time. Once this happens, the project provides meaning to my life and becomes the most important thing, as if it had always existed.
I want to discover new places, new people, and share what I've understood about, and learned from, climbing. I like meeting other climbers, and the mutual encouragement we provide each other. I like that there's an atmosphere, moxie, and emulation among climbers, even if we're not on the same routes.»

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Exclusive
«The people who inspire me are those who do things passionately with focus, whatever their level. I discovered climbing with my dad, who took me climbing for the first time when I was around eight. During my youth, I never imagined being able to make a living by climbing. I never saw myself being a technical consultant for a brand, like René Desmaison, nor writing books or organizing expeditions, filming, or giving conferences. Yet only climbing mattered, and I really admired people like Gaston Rébuffat and his books (The Hundred Finest Routes), or those who invented new gear. What I really love is putting up new multi-pitch routes, imagining a line and checking to see if it works, either ground-up or on rappel, depending on the wall. It’s undoubtedly a privilege to be the first to send these new routes. There’s no rating to go on, which means a good deal of uncertainty that forces me to focus and climb in the moment. I like skirting that limit where I might fall while trying something that seems more than a little uncertain. I sometimes joke that “I specialize in all disciplines”, which really means being average at everything! To do this kind of work, you need willpower, you need to apply yourself, and you also need to be somewhat creative. You need to be able to get some perspective on things and know how to anticipate.»
 
My favorite spots are Céüse, and Taghia in Morocco
- «Ceüse, is where I started dreaming about climbing really hard routes. I live right near the cliff, which allows me to take advantage of the site off-season, when it's less crowded.»
- «Taghia is a place I've spent a lot of time climbing in, and I've developed a connection with the villagers there. It's a close relationship, given the extended periods of time I've lived there.»
 
My motto
«Freedom means knowing how to recognize what's really necessary.»
 
Arnaud’s anecdote
«I really enjoyed belaying and supporting Stéphanie when she led Free Rider on El Capitan. I thought to myself how lucky I was to have a front-row seat to watch the love of my life accomplish such an amazing feat.»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

 
 
The video playlist featuring Arnaud Petit

Steve McClure

Steve McClure profile - photo © Sam Bié
Steve McClure profile - photo © Ben Pritchard

United Kingdom

GBR
header
Photo portrait: 
Steve McClure - photo © Lafouche
Date de naissance: 
25 July 1970
Lieu de résidence: 
Sheffield (United Kingdom)
Statut actuel: 
Teacher, coach, route setter, writer, lecturer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2000

I prefer climbing at the crags near my home
«I'm primarily a sport climbing specialist, and probably much better at short technical routes than anything multi-pitch.  I prefer the routes close to where I live. I just naturally adopted this lifestyle. When I was a kid, I was always traveling with my parents, who were climbers. I never really chose this lifestyle, I just knew it was the way I wanted to live. Rock climbing and being outside in nature are simply part of my life. At first, I climbed a lot of trad. I improved quickly and had a hard time finding the right trad routes for me. Since then, sport climbing has allowed me to experience the physical challenge of climbing, while also allowing me to spend time outside with friends. My profession is climbing. I work locally, near my home. I have a special connection with climbing in my country. I think you have to like the place where you live.»

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I love my country
«There are so many places I like to be; I have a different relationship with each. I live close to several wonderful climbing areas, in a nice environment, with the city close by, yet so far away. I spend a lot of time here. I'm also fond of those incredibly beautiful, out-of-the-way places in England, Scotland, and northern Wales, far away from civilization. Being there is healthy, and the force of nature is unbelievable. It’s an adventure to enjoy.
I also spend time climbing at cliffs throughout Europe: Rodellar, Teradettes, the Verdon Gorge, Buoux, Ardèche, Osp, and Arco. Among those spots, the Verdon Gorge holds a special place in my heart, since I spent a lot of time there as a kid, from the age of four. I didn’t climb at the time, just mostly played in the creeks. Then, when I was sixteen, I spent two months there, which almost certainly turned out to be a pivotal point in my life as a climber. When I go back to the Verdon Gorge after a long absence, I usually stop the car at Le Belvédère just to take it all in: the spectacular view from the edge, the feeling, the smells, the sounds, the air rising towards me, and the view of perfect gray rock everywhere.»
 
 
A professional partnership
«I worked as an engineer for seven years, sitting at a desk, doing design work. I have the engineering spirit, which probably helps me a lot when I climb. But that kind of lifestyle wasn't for me. Doing the same thing, day in, day out, in an office environment just didn’t suit me anymore. Now I'm really involved in climbing. My schedule is flexible and my work varied. I've gotten to a point where I no longer need to look for work; it comes to me at an accelerating pace. Putting up routes, coaching, teaching, giving lectures, writing... None of it pays a lot, but I like what I do. I’m lucky enough to be able to choose my projects and to give priority to the places and people I work with. I have regular contracts to put up routes, and in those cases, I’m able to stay with friends. I work hard, but I'm having a blast.»
 
 
The desire to see things through
«I have a lot of energy to give to the things I like to do. Energy usually goes hand-in-hand with tenacity and the desire to see things through. In climbing, you need to apply yourself. I have the tenacity to give it my all, and the more I give, the more I succeed. I like to push myself to the limits of my abilities. “The glass is half full” is my motto. When you're clinging to a bad hold that you thought would be better, thinking about how awful the hold is only creates negative energy. You're better off thinking the hold isn't so bad.»
 
 
The future is in the present
«I don’t think too much about where I'll be in the future. I don’t have a retirement fund or job security. And yet I've got a kid. Is that irresponsible? Perhaps, but that's just the way I am. Up until now, everything has worked out. I think that you make your own happiness by working hard and not cheating. I’ve never gotten anything for nothing. I like my life as it is. I don’t feel the need to share my past experiences with others; that's all behind me. However, it is important for me to share what I’m experiencing at the moment I’m experiencing it.»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video by Posing Productions
 
 

Video by Posing Productions
 
 
Video playlist featuring Steve McClure :

Said Belhaj

Steve McClure profile - photo © Stéphan Denys
Said Belhaj profile - photo © John Evans

Sweden

SWE
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Photo portrait: 
Said Belhaj - photo © collection Said Belhaj
Date de naissance: 
18 June 1981
Lieu de résidence: 
Gothenburg (Sweden)
Statut actuel: 
professional climber and musician
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2005

Climbing as a way of life
«For Team Petzl climbers, rock climbing is a way of life that goes beyond passion. We climb on a daily basis and can never get enough. It’s a lifestyle that never stops, even if it's not always possible to earn enough to live off of climbing. The sport is connected to life, to nature. Being outside and climbing all the time is almost animal-like. Traveling, meeting people, and sharing something that didn't exist the day before provide infinite social value.
I discovered climbing around the age of 10, when I was still climbing trees. Since then, I’ve been climbing on a regular basis in one way or another. I was on the Swedish national team for 10 years, participating in competitions all over the world. Since I prefer being outside "on the rocks", climbing indoors is hard for me. I'm currently involved in all the climbing disciplines: bouldering, sport climbing, competitions, big walls.»

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The paradox of competing
«As an active member of the Swedish national team, I've come to realize that it requires a lot of time and investment to create positive energy within a closely knit group. I’m a pretty social guy, and the people in my life mean a great deal to me. I can't just go to a competition to win and forget the rest. The best competitions are those which foster a good atmosphere and energy among the competitors, the organizers, and the public. The goal in a competition is supposed to be beating others and being the best. But I've got a lot of respect for the other competitors, and want to help them do their best, and even win in my place, which is definitely a paradox I have to deal with.»
 
 
Free climbing and onsighting
«In general, I feel good when I'm onsighting, at the limit of my abilities. Climbing on rock in remote corners of the planet makes the adventure even more interesting.
I prefer onsighting to redpointing a route; it allows me to focus 100% on the moves at hand and on the route’s difficulty. The fulfillment I get from onsighting is closely linked to the discovery and exploration of climbing. You really need to be able to improvise. You discover what’s going to happen at the same time that it’s happening, as if you were both an actor and a spectator at the same time.»
 
 
The spiritual element of climbing
«Above all else, climbing for me is an excuse to meet different people and travel to places I probably wouldn't have otherwise discovered. I also really enjoy the exciting aspects of the sport and the different challenges that go along with it. Regarding the spiritual element of climbing, it’s a type of meditation through movement that takes me to different spiritual levels.
My life is inspired by the mental aspect of climbing, by music, and by my dreams. My daily goal is to create a healthy lifestyle through everything that encompasses climbing. When I'm not climbing, I like to do things that enrich my life. I like to convey the notion that there are many different ways to live your life, not just the clichés that western society currently offers. I do a lot of other things, simply because I can't climb 24/7. I like to play music, run, ride my bike, swim, sometimes all at once. I also like dance, qigong, meditation, photography, and good books. The most important mentor in my life is my music teacher, Christer Bothén, an extraordinary musician who is almost seventy years old and who has always lived his passion.»
 
 
An avid traveler
«As a climber, I feel a connection with almost every rock face and boulder in the world. But my favorite place to climb is Catalonia, Spain. Climbing there is truly a unique experience. I have quite a few friends who live in Catalonia; I can travel there alone and randomly bump into a friend or two to climb with. I also like climbing in Morocco, as much for the climbing itself as for the improvised musical get-togethers and the good food.»
 
 
My motto
«It’s never too late.»
 

Colonne droite
Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

 
 
Video Playlist featuring Said Belhaj