Interview with Yuji Hirayama

The History and Career of Japans First Climbing Star

BIN WEG BOULDERN Interview with Yuji Hirayama. Photo Credit: Takuya Nagamine
BIN WEG BOULDERN Interview with Yuji Hirayama. Photo Credit: Takuya Nagamine

In 1991 Yuji Hirayama was the first Climber from Japan to win a Climbing Worldcup. He became a star in the scene and inspired many young people in his country to develop their climbing skills.

Today Yuji is a gym owner and organizer of the North Face Cup – a competition series with a concept, comparable to the Boulder Bundesliga in germany.

In this episode you will learn about Yujis biography, his career and the climbing scene and culture in Japan.

Thank you Yuji for the talk!

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Interview With Routesetter Katja Vidmar

About Comp Setting, Pregnancy and Climbing, Hold Shaping and more

Routesetter and hold shaper Katja Vidmar / 360holds

From climbing to comps, to routesetting and hold shaping – Katja Vidmar is part of the climbing scene in many different roles and I am happy that we could talk about her various experiences and perspectives.

Katja Vidmar comes from Slovenia and competed for the Slovenian National Climbing Team. She was the first woman to get an international IFSC routesetting license, she works for 360holds and she just became a mother. I wanted to know about her climbing career, her opinions on comp setting, the process of creating a hold and how she managed pregnancy, climbing and her work.

Thank you Katja for the talk!

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Climbing History – a Talk with Book Author Zofia Reych

About Zofias Book “Born to Climb”

Book author Zofia Reych, picture by: Andy Day / @kiellgram
Book author Zofia Reych, picture by: Andy Day / @kiellgram

Let’s make you a little bit smarter about the history of the sport you are doing! Let’s talk about climbing history, with Zofia Reych.

They have written a book about climbing history – although it’s not the typical kind of history book that you would expect.

Zofia connects for example social questions and historical facts with the climbing history and also tells their own climbing history in the book. And you will learn how the sport became what it is today.

So have fun with the talk with Zofia and if you like – read the book! It’s called “Born to Climb: From rock climbing pioneers to Olympic athletes”

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Iran Protests and Climbing in Iran

A talk with climbers from Iran

Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi climbing at the Olympic Qualifying event in Toulouse 2019. Picture by Vladek Zumr

Since the 16th of September 2022, the streets in many cities of Iran are full of people, protesting against their regime, because a woman was killed for not wearing her Hijab properly. A climber from Iran brought these revolutionary protests closer to many of us: Elnaz Rekabi.

At the Asian Continental Championships she climbed without a Hijab. Something like that has not happened in 43 years: A female climber from Iran shows herself at an international competition without the Hijab. 43 years ago, the current leaders of Iran took over the power and established a regime that forces strict religious rules upon anyone in the country. Rules, that say, that a man and a woman can’t climb together, for example. Breaking these rules can have severe consequences for people in Iran. They could be beaten up, imprisoned, tortured, raped or killed. All of this has not started in the last weeks, it has been going on for years.

I reached out to some climbers from Iran, who now live outside of Iran and we talked for this episode. I thank them all for speaking and giving us insights to understand their situation!

Thank you to Düzen Tekkal for helping me with some questions and for her amazing work to report about Iran! – Please sign the Iran-Petition of her organization Hawar!

Thank you also to Liam Lonsdale, for giving ideas and connections that helped me prepare this episode!

And thank you to climbing photographer Vladek Zumr for letting me use his pictures of Elnaz Rekabi!

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Interview with Routesetter Alise Zvigule

About Diversity In Routesetting, Setting for IFSC Comps and more

Routesetter Alise Zvigule at the BIN WEG BOULDERN Podcast. Picture Credit: Vic Harster
Routesetter Alise Zvigule at the BIN WEG BOULDERN Podcast. Picture Credit: Vic Harster

Alise Zvigule is a latvian climber, former competition climber and now a routesetter. She describes her way into routesetting as a hard fight and experienced preconceptions in that working field, hearing statements like: “A woman can’t set or can’t climb this”.

Now Alise is in another position. She got a spot in the IFSC diversity program for routesetting, is setting at IFSC competitions and this year, she turned an idea into reality that had been on her mind for a long time: She organized a gathering of international female routesetters.

We spoke about:

  • Alise struggle to get into routesetting at a time, when there were very few women in that field
  • Her experiences at the IFSC European Championships in Munich 2022
  • The gathering of routesetters she organized in Switzerland
  • Diversity in routesetting
  • And why, in her opinion, such womens gatherings can be important to give opportunities and spaces to learn and grow

Thank you Alise for the talk!

Photo Credit: Vic Harster

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Sagi Damti – The New German Bouldering Coach (part 2)

A talk about coaching the germans, high expectations and more

Sagi Damti, Bouldering Coach of the German National Team / DAV
Sagi Damti, Bouldering Coach of the German National Team / DAV

Sagi Damti started coaching the German Bouldering Team in the beginning of 2022, as a part of the new DAV coaching team. This is Part 2 of my interview with him, where we talk about his new job at the DAV. Sagi says, how he perceived the German Climbing Team while he was still a coach in Israel, how he approaches his work with the germans, about pressure in his new job and how the work within the new DAV team is structured.

We recorded this interview 2 days before the Worldcup in Brixen and before the Worldcup in Innsbruck, where Yannick Flohe and Hannah Meul both showed a stunning finals performance. Yannick won in Brixen and Hannah made second place in Bouldering both in Brixen and Innsbruck. So we did not know this yet, while we were talking.

Thanks to Sagi Damti! Have fun with this episode!

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Sagi Damti – the new german bouldering coach

A talk about Sagis way into climbing and coaching, climbing in Israel and more

Sagi Damti at the BIN WEG BOULDERN podcast

Sagi Damti is part of the new DAV competition climbing coaching team, that was presented at the beginning of the new season 2022. Head of the team is Ingo Filzwieser and every discipline has his own coach, too. Sagi is responsible for the bouldering athletes.

In my interview with Sagi we look back at his coaching career in Israel and we talk about his new job in Germany. You will hear:

  • How he got into climbing (in a pretty unconventional way)
  • How he – a former teacher – started coaching for climbing
  • What his approach on coaching looks like
  • You will learn about the Israeli climbing scene
  • And what is was like, to build up the Israeli climbing team

This is part one of our interview, part two will follow!

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Interview with Charlie Boscoe

A talk about Charlies years with the IFSC, competition climbing and more

Charlie Boscoe – episode cover picture by: Sheila Farrell McCarron

In november 2020 Charlie Boscoe announced on his instagram account, that he will stop commentating for the IFSC. Since 2016 he had been the voice of climbing and a companion for thousands of people watching the big international climbing events.

He had been on my wishlist for podcast interview guests in 2020 and I wanted to meet him at the Bouldering Worldcup in munich. This worldcup did not take place and now Charlie quit his job at the IFSC. So what could I do? Of course, I asked Charlie to meet online and look back at his years as a commentator!

We also talked about: The European championships in moskow, competition climbing in general, about the Olympics and we get to know, what Charlie Boscoe is doing – or what he was doing – while he was not in front of the cameras, to talk to the climbing world!

Have fun with this episode! And thank you Charlie!

Show the shownotes

Wie ist das Bouldern unter den Corona-Maßnahmen?

HörerInnen berichten von der ersten Session nach der Corona-Pause

Es geht wieder los!!! Seit etwa einer Woche dürfen ein paar Boulderhallen in Deutschland wieder öffnen. Dabei sind die Hallen abhängig von den Lockerungsmaßnahmen der Bundesländer, ob Sport in Indooranlagen wieder möglich ist. In NRW ging es vor einer Woche zuerst los – hier in Berlin ist es noch nicht ganz soweit, allerdings dürfen nun die Außenanlagen in Berlin eröffnen.

Ich wollte gerne ein Stimmungsbild haben, wie sich das Bouldern nach der Corona-Pause für euch anfühlt. Wie sieht es mit der Kraft aus? Wie genau wurden die Corona-Maßnahmen umgesetzt? Wie sehr schränken einen die Maßnahmen ein?

Ich freue mich, dass ich ganz viele Antworten bekommen habe und wünsche viel Spaß beim Zuhören!

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Pregnancy and Climbing

A personal report by German climber Julia Schöpp

Julia Schöpp about pregnancy and climbing
Julia Schöpp and her son in the training area of the Berta Block Bouldering Gym in Berlin. Here she had been bouldering and training during her pregnancy. Read the article about her thoughts and experiences on pregnancy and climbing:

I climbed through most of my pregnancy, and bouldered through more than half of it. While some people thought I was brave, many others probably thought I was stupid, and irresponsible. Interestingly, nobody said that to my face. But that is what we have the internet for, isn’t it? Ask in any of these pregnancy forums, if climbing is “allowed” during pregnancy, and I’m sure you will find someone to tell you what  a horrible person you are for even thinking about it. That’s very unfortunate, because what most climbers will probably do when they get pregnant – myself included – is to search the internet for any reliable information on pregnancy and climbing.

Fortunately, there are also articles and blog posts of people like Beth Rodden / @bethrodden or Melody Meigs / @patchworkandpebbles, who went through similar situations. I found these testimonies, among others, incredibly helpful. While reading about the experiences of other women, I felt more confident to make my own decisions. This is so important; as traditional wisdom about sports and pregnancy still mostly covers aqua gymnastics and yoga. And even though many people will tell you to “just do what feels right for you,“ it is still good to know that others have done similar things before, and it all went well.

Now that our baby is born, I want to add my own experience to the growing collection of testimonies out there covering pregnancy and climbing; hoping that other climbers might benefit from it. At this point, I probably need to add that I’m not a doctor, nor an expert, nor do I necessarily think that everything I did was right, or even smart. I’m just trying to add one more voice to the debate; so that others can decide for themselves.

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