Jernej Kruder: Trying to escape to the rocks

Jernej Kruder´s long-term plan is to stay in climbing until he dies. To endure that and still have fun he is used to switching among disciplines. And he´s good at all of them – from bouldering to bigwalls.

You´re busy traveling to World Cup competitions now - is that the priority of your 2019 season? 

My heart belongs to the rocks, but I accepted the challenge to compete on the Olympics so I'm doing as many competitions as possible this year. 

Are you planning to take some time off for climbing outdoors any time soon? 

As I already said, I'm crazy about outdoor climbing.  During the competitions, there's not much time for bigger projects, but I'm always happy to escape from indoor sessions and go to the rocks. It´s not hard to do that in Slovenia.

Do you have any projects on your mind right now? 

There are short-term and long-term projects. First and kind of short are of course making it to the Olympics. In between comps, I'll try to escape to my local crag Sopota, where I still need to finish my two 9a/+ projects. In summer, if time allows me, I want to spend some time climbing long alpine routes. And fall is reserved for a few bigger trips to Switzerland and Croatia. (ed. note.: Read here about climbing in Croatia. )

Are you planning to compete also in lead and speed this year? 

The Olympic combination forces us to train and compete in all 3 disciplines, which leads me to compete in everything.

How about the Olympic format? Many climbers dislike the combination of lead, speed, and bouldering, but I suspect that you may not have such a big problem with that since you used to compete in speed. What´s your opinion on it?

I think nobody really likes the combination. But we can't change that now, and it's up to us – either we deal with it or complain and do nothing. Luckily I love bouldering and lead, so it's not hard for me to train for that. Speed is totally different, but I like doing it. It's fun, not bad for general power and dynamics, it's just tiring and it takes away some precious time you could use for proper training for lead or bouldering.

Your climbing style could be described as dynamic and powerful – why do you think it is so?  

Honestly, I have no idea where these crazy dynamics comes from. Sometimes I feel like I'm just lucky to be born with that. I was never really training for that and every time I get such a boulder on a competition, I know I'm going to climb it. I'm also quite good on slabs, but that's the result of training.

"Most important long-term plan is to stay in climbing until I die."

What´s your antistyle? 

Hips flexibility.

Are you trying to avoid the routes that are not your style, or do you seek them?

Honestly, I think I rather avoid them sometimes. But when I challenge them and later send them, the victory is sweeter. In general I prefer my style of routes, because then I really enjoy climbing.

How much do you sacrifice to your training?

Less than I used to. Now climbing to me is not just a sport or hobby, but also my passion and job. That´s why I need to find the perfect balance between hard training and joy.

Do you have your favorite climbing partner, training partner and belayer?

Honestly in Slovenia I'm pretty happy if I'm able to get one. But when I do big walls, it's very important who am I doing it with. For example when I climbed on El Cap, I can't imagine doing it with anyone else but my partner Marco Jubes.  For training sessions, I'm just happy if I have company, no matter how hard they climb.

What´s your favorite area?

The world is big and many areas - no matter how big they are - can offer you some quality climbing. If I have to pick one, it would be Ticino.

"Sending something after a long period of failure makes the ascent more valuable."

Which route that you climbed do you appreciate the most? And which made you happiest? 

That's a hard question. I think I spent quite a lot of time finishing my project in a local crag, which became my first 9a. Of course there is also a project in Croatia – Dugi rat 9a+, for which I had to come back 5 times. Eventually I sent it and it became the hardest route in Croatia. There are still some projects to which I already gave even more time but haven´t finished them yet.

What are your mid to long-term plans?

The most important long-term plan is to stay in climbing until I die. I will always be looking for good projects, no matter if they are going to be 8c/+ boulder problems or some hard multi pitch routes up in the mountains. I have to switch between various styles of climbing otherwise I get bored. At the moment I'm completely dedicated to competitions, but once I get to the Olympics and finish them, I can't wait to go back to El Cap or something similar.

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