What do you do in your life apart from climbing? Do you wish to have a climbing career, or do you prepare yourself for a "regular" job?
I’m a full time law student and currently finishing my last year of Master. I see it like a second passion. I’ve never wanted to be «only» a climber. I like to have this other intellectual stimulation. Striking a balance between the two has never been really easy but I believe that whenever you have the right motivation to do something, you find a way to do it.
After my competitions career I want to become a lawyer and practice labour law.
What do you think of the Olympic combination? Do you want to qualify for Tokyo 2020?
At first I didn’t like it. I’ve always been a lead climber doing some bouldering for training. Speed climbing was something completely new for me and I never had been attracted too.
But then I decided to give this format a try and eventually I started to like it. I became more familiar with speed climbing which I believe actually also helped me become an overall better climber. Speed asks for coordination, explosivity, precision, mindset.
In 2019, I will do my best in every competition to make it to through the olympic selection!
What´s your most favorite area for outdoor climbing and why? Do you have any special story connected to it?
Kalymnos. I’ve been there twice and it’s just the perfect place for a climbing holiday. It’s an amazing island located in Greece where you wake up every morning with a beautiful sunrise, take a motorbike to get to the climbing areas. And then you climb on stunning tufa routes and then enjoy the typical climbing atmosphere by evening.
What´s your favorite profile - overhang, slab..?
I like overhangs the most. I’ve always been excited by big roofs! But I can enjoy technical stuff as well.
And what´s your special skill? Flexibility, kneedrops, one finger pockets..?
Heelhooks! When I get too pumped and I’m on the very edge of falling, it´s the thing to do. Heelooks have saved me from falling several times.
What do you think climbing world lacks the most? In the sense of community need to make it better for everyone (such as ecology, calmness in the crags).
Climbing is undoubtedly growing very fast. We made it to the Olympics 2020 and 2024, climbing is more and more represented in documentaries (such as Free Solo), movies, commercials... One of the key values of climbing in my sense is to respect our playground: the nature.
So I think our sport growing bigger and bigger could be a great opportunity for the climbing community to create awareness about climate change.
What´s your favorite climbing book/film? And nonclimbing book/film?
I don’t really have a favorite climbing book or film, they can all inspire me in some way.
My favorite nonclimbing book is anything written by Ken Follett.
What´s your advice for those who are afraid of falling?
For lead climbing, I would advise to go step by step. Start by small falls where you feel secure and try to go for bigger and bigger falls. When that feels save, start falling while you are actually climbing and not thinking about falling. Eventually, your motivation to climb the route will become bigger than the fear of falling and you won’t think about it anymore.
What´s your advice to overcome the lack of motivation? Have you ever had this trouble yourself?
Motivation is key. And I think key to motivation is your goal. So when I feel that I have some lack of motivation for training or something else, I try to take a step back and (re)think about my goals and why I’m doing all this.
Do you keep a training regime? How does that look?
Yes, I’m surrounded by a training staff (Trainer, physical trainer and mental coach) and my trainings are planned in detail. Depending on the period of the year, I have 3-4 climbing sessions, 2-3 physical trainings and 1-2 specific trainings (fingerstrenght, maximum power training, coordination, slab training,…) per week. But more and more, everything tends to be mixed up : warming up, some bouldering, few tries on the speed route and then a lead training.
And a special diet?
My training regime is pretty heavy so my diet is adapted to my trainings. Overall I try to eat healthy food and have the needed nutrimentsbefore/during/after training. And of course I love to eat something sweet here and there!
Can you imagine a life with a nonclimbing partner?
Photos: Michaël Timmermans