The great and promising Spanish SCARPA team tells us of their amazing season.
In the last few months, Jorge entered the exclusive 9b club. There are many factors behind his success, and we wanted to talk with him about them.
He trains in the Centros de Tecnificaciòn with Andrea Cartas, essential for a climber who thinks the mental part of the game is crucial. Even so, he doesn’t forget the importance of studying the details of a route in order to find the most efficient way, and following instinct is also something which Jorge does naturally. Jorge is a name to watch, and not only for the future. The present is in his hands and if he goes on finding the motivation, we think that he will keep taking further leaps forward.
Hi Jorge. It's a pleasure to have this chat with you. We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, especially after your amazing performance these last months. Everyone thinks you're taking important steps forward in climbing, at both a national and international level. I would like to start with something that only a few people know about you and that I think is fundamental to understanding where you come from. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that you're part of a new generation of climbers. You attended a Centro de Tecnificaciòn, something inconceivable until recent years. What do you think about the value of this education? I think it is one of the main factors leading to these great moments you are living now in your 20s. Do you think people who study in Centros de Tecnificaciòn own the future?
Yes, I attended the Centro de Tecnificaciòn in Madrid for 4 years, from the age of 16 to 20 years old. I was lucky to be part of a team with Andrea Cartas as my trainer. Moreover, it provided the opportunity to stay in touch with people of my age in a sporting environment. It is very important to follow specific professional training, and it is also important to do it when you are a beginner, still learning and improving your technique. Therefore, it was important for me to enter this group. I didn’t know anything about training beforehand, I was climber who exploited his physical strengths too much. At the school, I improved technique, strategy, psychology and many other elements. Now I feel quite balanced. Climbing, as with all other sports, improves little by little. The young boys and girls starting their climbing now, really are the future. This is why the Centros de Tecnificaciòn are so important, not only in forming teams for competitions, but in order to bring new people to this sport. You see the improvements: methods, studies…I’m lucky to have tried this experience.
Do you think that's one of the main factors which allowed you to climb Biographie in one week, while other climbers took much longer? For example, Chris Sharma took 3 years to send it.
As I already said, now it's very important to start with specific training in Centros de tecnificaciòn, even if those centers are very focused on competition climbing. It's clear that this training is also valid on rock, but it's impossible to be perfect in both disciplines. During the last year, I have trained a lot for projects on rock. That, together with increased motivation, has allowed me to improve as never before.
Earlier you mentioned Andrea Cartas. What does she mean to you? She is a person linked to your past and your present, do you think she will follow you in the future?
Andrea has been a very important factor in my improvement. She is also a friend and is very enthusiastic. She was my teacher, my trainer and from time to time she gave me a “slap” when I deserved it… without a doubt, I have received great support from her. For sure we will be friends and will share exciting travels in the future.
Close your eyes and search your first memories of climbing. What do you see?
Travels with friends, of course. My memories are on the top of routes, at competitions and much more. This is something I would never exchange for anything else. Climbing, friends and travel is for sure my perfect combination.
Some days ago Javi Pec [Photographer and partner of Kissthemountain] told me that your climbing style is a mix between Adam Ondra’s style - a methodic, disciplined climber who gives importance to the physicality of the human body, who focuses on movement and posture – and Chris Sharma’s style – a climber who follows his instinct, his instinct seeming to lead him in the world. Javi said you are a person who persists until the end. How do you see climbing?
Javi knows me very well. I think the mental aspect of the game is more important than the physical or technical aspect. I always exercise mentally in order to first reach the goals in my head. People don’t believe it, but from my point of view there is no benefit in doing a one-arm pull-up 10 times or in being a very technical climber if you don’t have self control and then fall because of your nerves. I focus, sometimes too much, in finding the most efficient methods on the route in order to not get too tired and in order to climb with a good rhythm nearest to perfection.
By the way, I always follow my intuition. It helps me in choosing one method over another, in order to understand if it's worth insisting on a particular sequence or not, or even on deciding if you should make another attempt today. Maybe I'll make a mistake, but up to now I have been lucky. Many times I have preferred to follow my instinct. I think that climbing is a complete and complex sport that allows you to go beyond your limits.
Last 28th of June you sent your first 9b, La Planta de Shiva, how did you feel in that moment? I would like you to tell me your sensations as you clipped the chains. Did you know then that you were entering climbing history?
It was a moment that no words can describe, not only because it was a dream that came true, but because of the hard work it took me to get there. And because it is a special route. I didn’t realize what I had done. It's really hard to describe the feeling. What is most important is that I was Happy.
Chris Sharma, Sylvain Millet, Patxi Usobiaga, Dave Graham, Ramòn Juliàn, Alex Megos, Adam Ondra, Margo Hayes… the stories of these climbers will always be linked to Biographie, one of the most iconic 9a+ routes in the world. Why is this route so important and what did it mean to you?
This is the route that all climbers dream about. It is amazing and complete, with rock and holds that you don’t find on other walls or other routes. Therefore, I always dreamed about it, but I would have never thought I could finish it. It is a route with a long history behind it. Chris Sharma made the first ascent when he was 19 and it was graded 9a+. Since then, it has become the most repeated 9a+ in the world. If I’m not wrong, it has 17 ascents. Beyond being very beautiful, people try it because of its history.
August was a wonderful month for you, sending another two 9b routes in Rodellar: Patanics and Ali Hulk extension total sit start. You had many eyes on you after your successes in previous months. This is something that says much on the way you manage pressure. How important is mental training? Do you think it could effect you in the future, considering that many people are now watching you?
To tell the truth, the only pressure I feel is the pressure I place on myself. Since I’m a demanding climber, this energy and hardness with myself forces me to keep improving. From my point of view, the mental training is fundamental. You have to be motivated and you have to love what you are doing. I think that in the future I will not be influenced by pressure. I think this sport is a game and fun. If it happened that I didn't feel enough motivation, I would work on mental training.
I will say two names. The first is Dani Andrada, a collector of routes. I don’t know why, but I think you two have many things is common. Do you take inspiration from him? Who are the climbers who inspire you?
Of course we have something in common. The most evident thing is that we are both enthusiasts and, as you said, Andrada equips and climbs so many routes. That is something that draws my attention, not only for adding your name to the guidebook. I try to follow in his footsteps and I like to climb all the routes I can. We also have some differences. For example, Dani likes trying multiple routes at the same time, until he finishes them. I’m much more focused on projects. Until I have finished one, I don’t focus on a new climb. This can be a positive or a negative trait, it depends on the moment. I take inspiration from many climbers. I think that each person has something positive to offer and it's nice to take inspiration from everyone, mostly friends, from whom I learn day by day.
The second name is predictable. Many people say that the future of climbing belongs to you and to Jonatan Flor: you were together in August. What can you tell me about him?
Yes, I was with him in Rodellar, but also in many other places. Jonatan is a good friend, he is enthusiastic and strong. I’m sure he will improve a lot and he will surprise everybody with many other routes. I send him a big hug if he is reading this interview.
In a few interviews, I read that you said to move forward in a grade is like advancing a level in a video game. You said that the difference between the 9b of La Planta de Shiva and the 9a+ of Biographie is a world. What do you think about the possibility of a 9b+? Do you think that you could advance to that game level?
This is what I think. Each time it is more difficult to move forward, and the advances in each grade are different. I think that the jump from 9b to 9b + is something really difficult and only a few climbers can do it. It is something almost impossible. The real point is that I can’t even imagine it at the moment, but I think that one day it will arrive. I think it is quite far in the future, but I could be motivated to do such a difficult route. I would have to train a lot to get stronger and then calm down and quickly climb 9b and 9a+ again. The motivation inside is the real engine and If I decide to try it, I will go until I reach my limit.
I think you have joined the SCARPA international team. Is it a big step for you?
Yes, I have been on the SCARPA and E9 international teams for 5 years. I do consider it a big step. I’m very appreciative of the support I receive from SCARPA, E9 and also Mushroompads.
Thank you Jorge. It was a pleasure to have this talk with you.
Thank you. See you soon.