Some time ago, we were watching the finals of a bouldering competition in Sofia when Petar Ivanov, the youngest among the finalists, started to flash all the boulders, making his leadership more than obvious. By that time I was already working on my “field control” concept, so I said to one of the route setters:
"Pepi controls the field today, don`t you think?"
"He doesn't control it, he is the field!" the guy answered laughing.
It was true, the dominance of this young man was undisputed.
Nine years after the nursery teacher called his parents, demanding they take care of the young tree hanging monkey`s needs, Petar Ivanov steps into the world of climbing. Today he is fifteen, a multiple European gold winner and overall champion from European Youth Bouldering Cup 2016.
"Do what you like, do it now and with passion – fuck everything else!"
If I were a sixteen moves sport route under such a dogged and sustained siege as this of Matyas Luzan from Romania I would either run and hide in the forest or surrender filled with meek adoration.
However, this is not just any route. We are talking about the legendary “Action Directe” in Frankenjura – the first recognized 9a line in the world climbed by Wolfgang Gülich in 1991. This piece of rock is still proudly standing on its place, doing anything but hiding. Seems like the only option left for our guy Matyas is to find his own way through it’s iconic limestone overhang.
His approach looks like one of those quest games where you examine unknown spaces, search for a hidden door or the proper tool in order to arrange a complicated puzzle that unlocks the gate to wonderful places of joy and satisfaction. Chatting with Matyas I realized how he understands his initiative perfectly and for almost three years he’s been walking the path to the big dream – climbing Action Directe. In a curious and intricate way, he is developing his ascent by watching videos, comparing pictures and beta schemes, training obsessively on his own AD replica, and even collecting weather data to build a chart in a search for the best conditions.
It’s a David vs. Goliath battle and our “Dave” will impress you with his extreme levels of dedication if you only do what I suggest and read the following interview.
Dirtbag’s not dead! In fact, he’s home in Bulgaria for a while, very much alive and kicking.
Meet my unknown buddy Iskren “Iso” Hristov who has found his way to traveling, geting in touch with people and experiencing amazing things by means of climbing. A month ago he just came back from his last trip to Turkey, where he spent three months volunteering at one of the best climbing camps around Antalya.
This “dirtbag” word got quite popular in the last years and everybody is talking about them – the new beatniks, the modern hippies that seem to follow their dreams not caring about the mainstream lifestyle standards. They travel a lot, have immodest amounts of fun and even beautiful girls are seen around them. The normal holiday saving people are watching enviously, unable to understand how is it possible – having all these opportunities without being a working slave first.
Once I used to see climbers who don’t push themselves hard enough as losers. I remember adopting such stereotypes and applying them to people with different motivation like my friend Iso for example. “What a flabby piece of shit,” I was thinking…