I started climbing just little before turning 18 years old, and it was the first thing I took even remotely seriously in my life. I had been lucky in being mentored by one of Croatia’s best climbers, Igor Čorko, who is a local legend and a climber who is always ‘on’. In the first two and a half years it was only climbing for me – although I did not do any specific training, I was going at it 100% all the time.
I had good success back then, but the funniest memory now is the first 6 months of it. There was no climbing gym in Varaždin yet, and just as I finished a climbing course, summer started and we were hanging out on the local crags all the time. Then one day Igor took me to his home boulder, to show me how climbing in plastic works, and I was amazed. Back then I was thinking: “Wow, this is awesome. Now I must prove myself outside before I can start training in the gym.” It did not occur to me once in those first few months that you actually train in the gym to climb better outside!
The next 5 years were very much up and down in motivation – coupled with injury after injury – so I ended up climbing on and off a lot, which after a while becomes a constant chase of your previous level (and can get a bit annoying). In the last couple of years my motivation is coming back to high levels, mostly thanks to my brother. Seeing him succeed, and even more inspiring – seeing him train properly is a great motivator to climb a lot again, and begin with specific training also.
One of my best achievements was winning the BWSC 2012 competition and setting the new speed record of the route with Jurica (20min 49sec for 160m 6c+), and it was the first time I can say I really trained properly for something. Another good one was also Kalnik Climbing Marathon in 2009 – where in 24 hours of non-stop climbing I climbed 61 routes, and finished 3rd (behind Igor and Jurica). My sport climbing level is up to 8a+ (5.13c), onsight up to 7b (5.12b) and bouldering up to 7B. With Jurica, we are also competing in Croatian National Championships (my best result was 8th overall), and we are proud organisers of the famous BLOK League competition circuit in North of Croatia.
In 2014, we decided to take the BWSC competition even more seriously, and after 3 months of grueling training we lowered the record by more than 5 minutes, and finished the clock at 15 minutes and 16 seconds. We took the preparation for 2014 edition of BWSC like real professional sportsmen, with daily training regime, dieting and mental preparations, and it sure is not as fun as we imagined it would be, but it was worth the effort.
My climbing in the numbers:
Hardest route red-point: Zagorski Tarzan (8a+), Pokojec, Croatia
Hardest route flash: Vasiona (7b+), Zarečki krov, Croatia
Hardest route onsight: Erectus (7b), Zarečki krov, Croatia
Hardest boulder: ??? (7B), Prilep Macedonia
Hardest dyno: Une Explosion de Bonheur (7b), Fontainebleau, France
Hardest trad climb: East Buttress on Middle Cathedral (5.10a, 300m), Yosemite
Best competition results: BWSC winner (2012-2014, 2017)
Best Croatian National competition result: boulder 8th, lead 10th
Sport routes in a day: 61 (Kalnik Marathon 26-27.9.2009, 12:00 to 12:00h)
Best climbing book: Revelations by Jerry Moffat
Best climbing movie: Masters of Stone III
Best bouldering movie: The Real Thing
Best crag I’ve been to: Pokojec, Croatia
Best crag I haven’t been to: Rumney, USA
Climbing heroes: Yuji Hirayama, Fred Rouhling, Jerry Moffat, Ron Kauk
For those of you who scrolled all the way down, you can check a video of me attempting my hardest route to date, Zagorski Tarzan (8a+) on the Pokojec crag near Varaždin.