BWSC – our story

My brother Jurica and I compete in the Big Wall Speed Climbing competition since year 2007, with steady progress each year. We missed years 2008 and 2011 because of injury or work, which brings our tally to 5 competitions, with two wins so far.

Below you can read a short story of each our year in the competition.

Time: 40:10 (2nd place)

Coming second in our first year of the competition felt like a win for us. Photo: D. Pačić

Coming second in 2007 – like a win!

First year we competed was very interesting, and completely awesome for us. Our climbing mentor (and now a rival) Igor Čorko told us to come and check the competition, and it was a really great thing for both of us since. The team of Igor Čorko&Ljubomir Sakač were unbeatable that year, and our rivals were a pair of Boštjan Potočnik (SLO) and Adnan Čatić (BiH). Back then specific training for BWSC was not in fashion, and especially not for us.

We tried the route 2 weekends before the competition, and that was it – ready we were! We were young and crazy, and just went for it! We managed to win the second place, and it blew us away – it was our first podium in sport of climbing!

Time: 32:01 (4th place)

This year I was not in shape at all, and in spite of offers from better climbers to compete with them, Jurica denied them all and remained true to what has now become more a story of brotherhood than climbing or competing.

We managed to climb the route few times before the competition day, and that was it for training that year. While not prepared so well, we did manage to improve our time by more than 8 minutes, and finished fourth. It was then that motivation for victory was fueled for the first time.

Time: 26:17 (2nd place)

Jurica exiting the crux in BWSC 2010 competition

Jurica exiting the crux in BWSC 2010 competition

This was the year we really wanted to win. The mighty Čorko&Sakač team stopped competing after setting the record a year before (at 21:23). We added some running to training a month before, and we came to Paklenica 10 days before the competition to train in the route itself.

While this could be called specific training, we did not stop normal climbing, but just added some additional speed training, and it was all more ad hoc than not – we did not even use a stopwatch!

The slovenian climbing brothers Bečan decided to mess with our plans. Being pro climbers, they managed to beat us by just 11 seconds with very little training. Our time was better than theirs all the way until the last pitch, where our stamina gave out and we lost a minute of advantage we had. We did not win that year – but seed of proper training was planted.

Time: 20:49 (1st place, new record)

This year was ours – and we made sure of it in training long before the competition day. We decided to win, but we also decided to prepare to win, with the latter being all the difference needed. We started very specific training two months before the competition and stopped normal climbing – all our time was dedicated to speed climbing.

Proud of the new record. Photo: L. Tambača

Finally – victory in the bag!

We compiled some very specific uphill sprinting exercises, trained speed climbing at local crags, we visited Paklenica three times before the competition and did some mental preparations as well. We arrived in Paklenica 10 days before the competition to climb only the BWSC route. We sacrificed normal climbing completely – that year Jurica was very, very close on his first 8b+ climb (he was falling on the last move), but stopped it and devoted himself completely to BWSC.

With all the preparations the stage was set for speed. With 23:00 time in training, we knew the record was in danger. Come competition day, we climbed composed and with good rhytm, and managed a time of 20:49 – both first win and record in one year. We were ecstatic, but certainly not done with BWSC!

Time: 27:02 (1st place)

This year we were back with one more goal left – climbing the route below the magical 20 minutes mark. We started with specific training about 6 weeks before (Jurica again left his infamous first 8b+ unclimbed), but that year the preparations went downhill almost from day one. Our trips to Paklenica were plagued by heavy rain from the start, Jurica was moving to Ljubljana at the time of the preparations, and I was overwhelmed with work. On top of that, we both got sick when we arrived for the 10 days of training in Paklenica.

Completely wet on anchor 4 during the 2013 comp

Completely wet on anchor 4 during the 2013 comp

To make things worse, on competition day it started to rain just minutes before it was our turn to climb. We were given a choice to either go for it now, or wait for a reserve day on Sunday. Since all went downhill this year, we said to ourselves “F**k it”, and went for it. We climbed the last two pitches completely wet (see picture), and still managed a respectable time of 27:02. Again – won but not done.


This is bound to be the most interesting and most competitive year since we compete. Čorko is back with the super strong Mucko, Pevec and Škalec team are training around the clock, and we invested more time than ever in this competition.

We are training specifically for BWSC from January, with a very sophisticated and planned approach, and we are now close to the end of 15 days of route specific preparations in Paklenica. Luckily, Jurica sent his 8b+ project, so we are at peace with speed climbing!

Perica on the fast slab section after the crux in pitch 3

Perica on the fast slab section after the crux in pitch 3


BWSC history

Waiting for the competition, we prepared a few interesting articles about Big Wall Speed Climbing competition in Paklenica.

Check our “BWSC History” section in the menu above, or click on the links  below:

Apart from that, training is going well, and we were lucky to finish all the important parts of training before this rainy weekend, when we had a scheduled rest days before the last week of preparations.

Speed is coming

Our final preparations for the competition have begun – we arrived in Paklenica 3 days ago, and we stay here until the competition day (3rd of May). The “work” parts of training are done, cardio levels are high and now there is only one (most important) thing remaining – pure speed.


Jurica focused in third pitch, with Perica handling the gear on second anchor.

For the next two weeks the main accent of training is on quality speed attempts of the route. We have worked out all the moves and sequences, achieved all individual pitch times as planned, perfected gear management – what’s left now is to put all the training elements into one big picture – or better said raw speed.

New rope, new speed

Our sponsor BIM Sport provided us with a new Petzl 9.2 mm Volta rope. Petzl is already known as the leading gear manufacturer, and they have recently started making climbing ropes. We won’t be surprised if Petzl also becomes a leading rope manufacturer, as we can both say this is the best rope we ever climbed with.

Best rope ever -Petzl Volta 9.2mm

Best rope ever -Petzl Volta 9.2mm

Petzl Volta is ultra-light and super smooth rope – we were both surprised how easy is the handling. In speed climbing, belaying can also be very tiring, as the second climber is at some points so fast you barely manage to take in all the rope – so easier rope handling and less friction can save you some valuable energy for later pitches of the route.

Fast anchor clipping session

So far our plans were (again) disturbed by the rain. Waiting for the route to dry in the nearby cave, we had a fun practice session with Pevec and Škalec team. We used velcro, tape, pants and hope to clip the anchor as fast as possible. You can see the rather funny results of the session below:

Stay tuned for more this week!

Work days, speed days

This weekend was our 5th BWSC specific trip to Paklenica this year, where the only focus is to train for the competition, and it was far from ideal conditions yet again. We arrived late Friday night, and as usual jumped straight out of the car for an easy night jog from the apartment to the National park parking and back (around 5 km).

Saturday started sunny, but quickly became a battle with rain. The rain first caught us in warm up, so we hided in a nearby overhang with sport-climbing routes. Jurica took the window of opportunity for some normal climbing, and sent his project from last summer – Los compadres de puta madre (8a/a+) while it was still dry.

The rain stopped, and after only 45 minutes our route was completely dry. We quickly geared up and went to training. Saturday was the last planned “work” day in the route – all the rest of days in the route were planned to be “speed” days.

Racking up

Racking up

Work day means you go through the route and practice the moves, sections or pitches multiple times. In a typical work day, you would do every pitch 2-4 times, switching between improving your sequence with new hand-feet combinations, memorizing and repeating old moves, and occasionally testing your single pitch speed with a timed push.

In a speed day, the task is a lot simpler, but also harder. You rack up, press start on the stopwatch, make a run for it and press stop when the second climber touches the 5th anchor. We noticed that it takes us more time to rack up than to get on top of route!

The plan was to finalize and polish all the small details we had left in the route on Saturday, before making speed attempts on Sunday. We were making great progress, when on 3rd anchor it started to rain for real. In less than a minute, we were completely wet – Jurica was even having a small waterfall drop exactly on him while he was belaying me, as I was slowly climbing a normally very easy pitch 4 through the rain, with the goal to reach the rappel line.

Sunday was thankfully sunny, so we finished our work left in pitches 4 and 5 in the morning, and did one speed go in the evening. We decided not to reveal our time from this weekend, but don’t worry – we are fast!

Some image details: