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We interview Dani Andrada

Author: Dani Andrada

We know you started climbing when you were just 12. How was your first time climbing, and what did it make you feel which made you never leave the sport again?

My first experience on rock was in Torrelodones, at least the one which really marked me. I had tried the climbing on the wall of the Cuesta de la Vega but that I do not remember too, go to the slope was like going on a bike, just to play a little from time to time.

I went with my colleague Carlos "Fred" to Torrelodones and I made a 7a, "Don Pimpón," Fred was surprised but I didn't really understand the grades, didn't seem to have done anything important. Then I went climbing and learned everything little by little, I got hooked on the rock by the height, by climbing up instead of crossing. I was practically not leaving the mountain at that age, going out to climb meant to get out of town: Patones, Cuenca…

I was eager to climb even got to sneak into the trunks of the bus with my friend Edu to get to Patones, we were a little “sly"...

Do you climb with the same passion and intensity as when you were younger?

 

It is different now, at the beginning it was something new, like a game, now it is a bit like a job... But I wake up almost every day wanting to climb, with enthusiasm, is not like the first time but I wake up and what I want is to climb.

 

A game that is my passion and now my work. I've achieved something which many people desire, to turn my passion into my job and not live it as something negative.

I understand you left school at an early age. How did you take this very important  decision at such a young age? How did your family take it? Did they support your decision from the beginning?

 

When I started climbing, studying wasn’t something I enjoyed too much and I stopped going to classes at first to go climbing to the walls in Madrid, and then traveling. My parents weren’t happy about this, but at 16 or 17 I managed to secure some sponsorship, with some help and my parents started to get used to it in a natural way, I didn’t have to force it. I took a few classes, just enough so I could still climb, but I left it for climbing as soon as I could.

 

As a teenager, did you live life like most of your piers, or did you sacrifice this in favor of your passion for climbing?

I do not regret anything I did, I had friends in the neighborhood and a “normal" life. But I lived for what most liked, climbing. To me there are things about that age that were not important such as parties, I be a little boring (laughs) they are simply... not me. I have no feeling of having lost something by not living the adolescence as most teens.

What is the challenge you remember the most or would like to repeat?

The time of the World Cup competitions, sometimes I regret not having insisted more. I was about to win the bouldering World Cup and with very good results for 3 years and I think that putting a little bit effort could have gone a long way.

I now see  how many people only prepare for this purpose and obtain very good results. At 40, I sincerely don’t see myself enclosed in a wall to go to a competition, but sometimes I think that it should have insisted a bit more.

I respect the world of competition very much, and so sometimes I think that if I would have insisted more it would have been different but also I devoted much energy to climbing and bouldering on the rock. Despite this, I had good results at that time and I'm happy with what I did.

Do you see today’s young climbers, take climbing with all the passion you had when you were that age? How do you think the climbing world has changed in comparison to the first stage of your climbing career.

I don’t see many climbers dedicated to every facet of climbing: routes, bouldering, competitions… I’m under the impression things have changed. I don’t see many fanatic climbers who mix it all up. There’s a lot of specialized skills out there. Young climbers find a different environment than the one I lived in, there are thousands of routes of all difficulty levels, tons of climbing halls. Kids climb and don’t know the history of climbing, the legends of the 80’s like Patrick Edlinger are unknown to most.

I think what really matters is that people are restless, having the desire to do things, these are the people who make way... That is not trained into you, you have to be born with this, as  a motivator.

What years have made the most mark in your life?

When I started doing eighth, in 1992 I did 100 of them in a year, from 8a to 8b +. Had a good base of 7 c/7 c + at sight which helped me a lot. But each year there are things which leave their mark on me.

How many hours do you train every day? What is a pro climber’s routine?

I don’t train much on resin walls, just a few sessions for when I go to work as a routesetter. I climb 220 days a year on rock and 20 on resin including assemblies for competitions.

But when I climb, although I am not methodical, I am dedicate "to death". “Indoor" other days are my days of stick on the way. I also combine styles, for example, if I am much climbing in to Rodellar collapsed and resistant physical escalation, change and I'm going to sites like Sagasta where routes are short, flat and very intense. This is very interesting for the motivation and the body. To my work.

How does an athlete of your caliber concentrate or prepare for a new project?

Trying and trying, and motivating myself with every small improvement. If I feel down, I rest a few weeks, I drop the rhythm a little, climb easier 8a and 8b’s close to home in Cornudella and I go back to the project with more energy.

If I dedicate myself to a single route too much, I become overwhelmed and I need a change.

Do you remember a moment in your career in which you felt you were in real danger?

I’ve had some very delicate situations whilst equipping walls. At Margalef the old rope I was on broke. The knot of a section of the frayed rope was the only thing holding me. I had to overcome this to secure myself again.

In Bulgaria in the cave of Karlokovo, I was climbing a rope securing it at the same time by Mariona as to not separate myself from the overhang too much, suddenly I found myself flying 4 or 5 meters and the rope by which I climbed fell over me. A Gypsy kid of 9 or 10 years age had cut me the rope to steal it from me whilst I was hung.

I also remember a time of tension at the "Virgin" a 8a of 20 meters from Mallorca which I climbed free solo and barefoot and has a dynamic move at 12 meters, I got to the dynamic step and I leaned back, I hesitated, I was a little nervous, but I overcame it and I succeeded. It’s good for people to know that a single error involves killing oneself. It seems very nice but... any failure is death... I leaned back, I was a little nervous, I decided, grabbed it and went... I remember this well, it was in the 98-99.

Some media have described you as Spiderman, can you relate to this nickname?

No... This is Alain Robert (laughs), that's not me. If you go on TV they are quick to call you this.

How long did it take you to prepare and climb the toughest overhang there is “Corazón de ensueño” 8c in Getu, China?

That was an important route for me. I equipped it in 11 days working only 9 days and another 2 helped by Serge Casteran and Yann Ghesquier. I opened the bottom in artificial but I left my lumbars there.

Your book “The Climbing Game” was published in 2013. What was the experience of sharing your experiences with the public like?

Very good, because the hard work was done by Pati (laughs), I think it came out well and I liked it.

 

Do you feel like a well respected athlete by fans and the rest of your professional guild?

I feel loved when I go to climbing areas and now with the social media I receive many positive messages. I do believe that many people appreciate me and I am grateful for it.

What are your professional goals?

To keep climbing, put more effort into bouldering and complete an 8c, but shorter than Txapela. I’d like to repeat 9’s because lately I equip routes in first ascends, I’d like to try things done by others even though I do enjoy climbing my own, it feels more natural.

Last but not least, looking at your professional trajectory, what highlight of your career do you feel special satisfaction from?

“Posible Misión” 8a, my first 8a Bardonecchia 1999, I climbed everything on site at the competition. Every step which advances my level brings a special memory.

 

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