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Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda interview

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Daila Ojeda

Interviewed by Monique Forestier. Photos as credited.

Daila Ojeda is a well accomplished sport climber best-known for her hard ascents at Oliana, which include Fish Eye (8c), Mind Control (8c+), El Gran Blau (8b+/c), and many more hard ascents scattered throughout Catalunya. Monique had the chance to catch up with Daila recently and ask her a few questions about her climbing and her future.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Onsight: Let’s start with a bit of back ground for those who don’t know you too well. Where did you grow up? What sports did you play as a child? And how did you eventually get into climbing? How old were you when you started climbing?

Daila: I am from Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), I was born there in a little village where normally people surf, there is not a lot of climbing there, it’s not a famous sport. When I was 18 I watched a little bouldering competition in my home town I fell in love with this activity, I fell in love specially with the women, I saw the girls, super feminine, beautiful, super flexible, like a cat, lithe. I made climbing friends from my village and every weekend would ask them to take me outside for climbing. Come on, come on, can I climb with you? I am super thankful to these people, they took me climbing, they set up top ropes for me and helped me climb.

Daila Ojeda at Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda at Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Onsight: What did you like so much about climbing?

Daila: When I start it was just something new, especially to be outside, I love being outside for sport, like surfing. Others sports like football or tennis or whatever you are always in the same place but with climbing it is always different.

Onsight: So you moved from Canary Islands to be where the ¨real¨ climbing was, to Catalunya. Was it a difficult decision and what made you decide to do so?

Daila: When I started climbing, I realised that I wanted to be close to the rock, I wanted to climb you know, so I wanted to be close to the climbing. I met friends who lived in Catalunya also I met my boyfriend in this time, Dani Andrada and thought well maybe I can go there. This is one of the best areas for climbing and I decided to move there. And I thought I can always come back to Gran Canaria to visit my family, my friends, it’s close. So finally I have been here now for almost ten years. Good community and good place to live also, beside from the climbing.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Onsight: You know that you have inspired many females around the world with your ascent of Fish Eye in 2010, including myself. What was it about this route that attracted you to it?

Daila: When I try one route it is important for me to like the route, the line. If I don’t like it I don’t want to try. But this one was a long route and the style I liked, when I saw people climbing I thought I want to try this. My boyfriend then, Chris Sharma, he bolted the route and he said, yeah you have to try, he encouraged me. Also other friends they told me if you like the route and if you want to climb 8c then this one is solid 8c. It is good because a lot of the time with women, what happens is that you climb the route then people say it’s soft, it’s is easy, it gets downgraded. It wasn’t so important but I liked the style of Fish Eye and I wanted to see the limit for me now, so it would be good if people don’t say it’s easy later on. Fish Eye was the perfect route, the perfect moment for me to try and I was motivated.

Onsight: So when you did Fish Eye, did you then think differently about yourself as a climber? Did you feel confident that you could push it further?

Daila Ojeda, Pati Pa Mi (8b), Siurana, Spain. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Daila Ojeda, Pati Pa Mi (8b), Siurana, Spain. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Daila: Yes, yes. When I did it I thought  I can do that, but it’s a new grade, like when I first climb 7a it was like oh I can do that, yeah now I can try harder routes. I felt super motivated and satisfied and proud of myself. You know you can do that and it motivated me and gave me confidence to try harder routes.

Onsight: What did you do to celebrate?

Daila: Nothing special, you know, but I remember going to dinner in Ponts, in the little village, with friends, having beer, nothing special but it was special at the same time.

Onsight: After Fish Eye you went on to do Mind Control (8c/+). Tell us about the process. Did the route come easy? Or was it a fight?

Daila Ojeda, En Gran Blau (8b+/c), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda, En Gran Blau (8b+/c), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila: I don’t think it’s much harder than Fish Eye, it’s harder but not much harder. Before I went to do Mind Control I was trying El Gran Blau, for me it was not hard in the moves, but solid, hard for short people, and it was psychological. I tried it a lot, I wanted to do this route and I fell many, many times at the top. I thought about not trying this route anymore. But I don’t like this idea, I like to finish a project. I’m a little bit black or white. But then I thought maybe now I think I am a bit stronger and I can try Mind Control and leave El Gran Blau for the moment, for my mind. But in my mind I never thought I am strong enough to do Mind Control, how I can do that, because it is harder than El Gran Blau and I haven’t done that. But I knew I can do El Gran Blau and I can come back and thought also that it was super good training for Mind Control. I did Mind Control faster than El Gran Blau. Then when I came back to try El Gran Blau I was more confident.

Onsight: Fish Eye and Mind Control are super classic modern day test-pieces which have become popular with other women (and men) to attempt. You were the first woman to climb both of these routes and, as I said earlier, you accents have been an inspiration to me to try these routes. How do you feel knowing that these routes have become popular routes for the strongest women to try in order to push their own limits?

Coco Carter, Daila Ojeda and Sasha DiGiulian sharing beta for Mind Control (8c/+), at Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Coco Carter, Daila Ojeda and Sasha DiGiulian sharing beta for Mind Control (8c/+), at Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila: Well I feel happy for that. I mean when you climb beautiful routes you feel like everybody has to try this!

Onsight: Who is your role model? Climber or otherwise?

Daila: People who don’t have fear, not just climbers, people who just try and live their lives in the present, they like what they do and they are happy. Yes many other people but mostly my father. He was a really positive person, he told me, you have to be happy, if you are in Gran Canaria studying or climbing you have to be happy, now you have the time. He say don’t worry about things just do it. So I like this role model.

Onsight: So what do you do for climbing training? Do you write a program? Do you train on plastic? Do you use a finger board, do you campus?

Daila: When I started climbing I trained in the climbing gym in Gran Canaria, There are not many climbing areas and I was studying and I was working and had no time so I just climbed in the gym. I went there to train, not specific training I went there just for bouldering, do whatever with my friends. After when I came here, to Catalunya, I was just climbing outside. I don’t know if this works for everybody because many times you go to the cliff and you don’t know if you will be strong, or you have to rest this day. You may arrive and say OK I don’t like this moment I can’t climb today, I am tired. But for me it is important to be motivated more than stronger physically. If I want to try this route, because I love it, I try because I feel good in the route, sometimes I feel stronger in my body but it doesn’t work for me. So I think this is slow for getting stronger but it’s better for motivation.

Daila Ojeda, Pestilence (7c+), Sector Big Ben, La Turbie, France. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Daila Ojeda, Pestilence (7c+), Sector Big Ben, La Turbie, France. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Onsight: Last year you were plagued by a finger tendon injury, how did you manage the ups and downs of not being able to climb for most of the year? What training did you do?

Daila: Yes I tore my pulley. They said maybe you can have surgery or rest. So I decided to rest. It was a bad time but a good time. I realized that I was not happy not climbing. But I discovered that I needed to be balanced, to have a good life without climbing. Now I can do many other things in my life to be happy not just climbing. I that moment I went to Gran Canaria to see my family often, I went to skiing, I traveled more and almost every day I went running, it was good for my mind and good for my body. And now after one year I am happy to come back climbing but not like there isn’t anything else in my life.  I am psyched for traveling to know other places, pushing my limits but also trying new areas, climbing not hard routes but different styles, different countries. I don’t want to forget why I start climbing.

Daila Ojeda, Star Gladiator (7c+), Castillon, France. Photo: Patrick Franza.

Daila Ojeda, Star Gladiator (7c+), Castillon, France. Photo: Patrick Franza.

Onsight: You must come to Australia.

Daila: Yes I would like to go there. Especially now I have completed one cycle of my life and now this is a new cycle, to travel with climbing.

Onsight: You have now relocated to Italy, where about in Italy did you go and why did you chose this particular spot?

Daila: Last summer I decided to go to Italy for a climbing holiday with my friends from Gran Canaria. It was nice for me to climb in another place, new routes, like when I first came to Catalunya. The people there are similar to the Spanish super open people. I met friends and I was traveling between Catalunya and Italy a lot, and I thought that I would live in Era Vella (our house in Catalunya) but when I went back there I realised that I don’t want to be here now. I have many important people and friends in Catalunya but not for living, I decided to go to Italy and change my life cycle and find a balance there, working, climbing, be more grounded than before. I feel good in my climbing and personal/sentimental life here so I am starting my new adventure in this amazing country!

Daila Ojeda, Pestilence (7c+), Sector Big Ben, La Turbie, France. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Daila Ojeda, Pestilence (7c+), Sector Big Ben, La Turbie, France. Photo: Colette McInerney.

Onsight: How does the climbing compare to Catalunya?

Daila: I just know few climbing places in Italy. I live close to France so I climb in both countries. I like the landscape, it has more mountains close, snow, you can do other things. I am psyched to know new places here!

Onsight: Have you been able to meet a positive climbing scene there?

Daila: Yes for sure where I live there is a nice climbing gym (Il Punto) the people there are super nice. There is a youth women’s team and I would like to coach them, they are psyched, I am psyched. Also there are a big climbing community here, Italian people are really psyched and motivated.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda, Mind Control (8c/+), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Onsight: What cultural differences are there in Italy compared to Spain? Do you speak Italian?

Daila: I try to speak Italian it is very similar to Spanish. I want to go to school also because in the future if I want to work there it’s important to know the language. It is a beautiful language and so I am psyched to learn. The best cultural thing in Italia for sure is the gastronomy; food and wine are super good here!

Onsight: You have a new project now at Andonno in Italy called Noi (8b+) it is described as ‘old school’. Tell us about this route.

Daila: Noi, it’s a super logic line, fisic moves and then one thin crack. When I came back from Brazil last year I hadn’t been climbing a lot so initially I didn’t want to try because its 8b+ and I was only climbing 7b in Brazil. But my friend, Barbara (Raudner) from Austria, she’s super psyched a real fanatic, she tried the route, Noi, and said venga Daila you have to try the moves. When you try the moves you get hooked, and I felt super good and I was very close to doing it but then we went for a little travel to Sicily. When I came back it was wet and cold. But now I will come back it’s dry again!!

Onsight: A climber of your calibre must have several financial sponsorships. How do you support your climbing lifestyle?

Daila: I feel very lucky because I have a lot of support from my sponsors, like prana, Scarpa now, Sterling ropes and Petzl who I have been with several years now. I have to say thanks to my sponsors otherwise it is not possible for me to do what I have been doing for many years now. Thank you to all!

Onsight: So you have recently signed on with Scarpa shoes, what is your favourite model?

Daila: I love Boostic! And now they have the new Booster S, this is super, super nice, it is comfortable and I feel a lot of precision. It’s a nice balance between being soft and precise. Now I can’t try any other shoes.

Onsight: Where next? What are your plans for this year?

Daila Ojeda, En Gran Blau (8b+/c), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila Ojeda, En Gran Blau (8b+/c), Oliana, Spain. Photo: Simon Carter.

Daila: I never know my future plans but I see the next short term plan is going to Italy and to make my life there. After I want to go to Catalunya, Sicily and make a summer trip to USA. Maybe also Cuba?

Onsight: Where is your favourite place to climb in the world?

Daila: Now Oliana. But there are so many places that I haven’t been.

Onsight: Many thanks for your time today Daila.

—————-

Daila is sponsored by: Scarpa, Sterling Rope, Petzl , prAna, Climbskin, Margullo Canarias.

Thanks for reading our blog. To get exclusive content and to stay up to date, be sure to subscribe to Simon’s email newsletter –> here.

Chloé Minoret, Le Denti (7c+), Goudes, Les Calanques.

Les Calanques, France ~ gallery

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Two things:

I’m sending out another email newsletter today. I’m psyched about these and have had a great response from them. Many thanks to everyone who has subscribed. If you haven’t already, and would like to get an exclusive look at some of my best recent work, and much else besides, then please subscribe –> here. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

And I’ve just added a photo gallery of the beautiful Les Calanques which overlooks the Mediterranean in France. After putting that together, I’m frothing for a holiday there! See the gallery –> here.

Thanks for visiting my site! More soon.

~ Simon

Chloé Minoret, Le Denti (7c+), Goudes, Les Calanques.

Barbara Zangerl, End of Silence (8b+) 11 pitches, Berchtesgaden Alps, Germany. Photo: Hannes Maier.

Barbara Zangerl ~ interview

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Barbara Zangerl ~ interviewed by Monique Forestier. Photos as credited.

Austria’s Barbara Zangerl (25) initially made her name in competition bouldering winning the Italian Melloblocco five times. On rock she achieved the first female ascent of Pura Vida (V12/V13) at Magic Wood in Switzerland back in 2008. Soon after she was forced to stop bouldering due to a back injury and turned her energy towards roped climbing. It seems that the shift in disciplines has allowed Barbara to excel even further. Last year she completed the highly venerated “Alpine Trilogy”, comprised of, End of Silence, Silbergeier and Des Kaisers neue Kleider. Respected for their boldness, these enduring multi-pitch routes are in alpine style and have long run-outs, all three routes were established in 1994 and given the grade of 8b+. I met Barbara at Oliana (Feb 2014) and was excited to ask her some questions about her climbing achievements and future plans.

Barbara Zangerl, Delicatessen, 120m (8b), Corsica. Photo: Klaus Dell'Orto.

Barbara Zangerl, Delicatessen, 120m (8b), Corsica. Photo: Klaus Dell’Orto.

Read More

Benno Wagner, leading pitch 13 (crux) of Manara-Potsiny (8a), 600m (18 pitches) on Tsaranoro Be, Tsaranoro, Madagascar.

Tsaranoro Madagascar ~ gallery and beta

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Visiting, and trying to climb on, the massive granite domes of the Tsaranoro Massive in the Southern highlands of Madagascar, was without doubt one of the most memorable climbing trips I’ve ever done.

So I’m delighted to present a new feature gallery on Tsaranoro. And words by Monique Forestier to help get you inspired — plus some beta to help get you started on your adventure, should you ever be keen. But even if this is a place that you’ll never visit, it sure is worth knowing about. Biggest quality walls in the Southern Hemisphere and all. And the lemurs!

Be sure to check out the gallery here –> www.onsight.com.au/gallery/madagascar-tsaranoro

Benno Wagner, pitch 10 of Manara-Potsiny (8a), 600m (18 pitches) on Tsaranoro Be, Tsaranoro, Madagascar.

Daniel Fisher on the opening moves of Attack Mode/White Ladder at Nowra, Australia.

Daniel Fisher ~ interview

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The first time I saw Daniel Fisher climbing was in the 2012 Australian Nationals, lead competition, when he put on an impressive display, blitzed the field, and took the title. It was obvious that he was one of Australia’s best up and coming new generation climbers. But then things went a bit quiet (at least to me), until recently, when at the end of January Daniel made the second ascent of White Ladder at Nowra – Australia’s first grade 34 route — which was established some 10 years ago and had gone without a repeat ascent until now (it’s discussed in our interview with Chris Webb Parsons here).

Given that Daniel is one of only a handful of Aussie climbers to crank that hard, I thought it could be interesting to find out what makes him tick, chew the fat and get some tips. So we put some questions to him and found out just what might be his “special sauce”…

Daniel Fisher on the opening moves of Attack Mode/White Ladder at Nowra, Australia.

Daniel Fisher on the opening moves of Attack Mode (32)/White Ladder (34) at Nowra, Australia.

Onsight Firstly tell us a bit about Read More

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains.

Goddam slackers!

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Goddam Slackers! Don’t they know I have work to do? But that’s right, “I’m a photographer”. And what better “excuse” to “slack off” for a bit — and get out and capture some of the sweet slack-line action that I’d been hearing about. This was a little get together of like-minded slackers — and it was right here in the Blue Mountains.

Of course, slack-lining is easy-peasey. Set that tape up just one foot above the ground, and I too have no trouble walking it like a boss for all of at least 0.57 seconds. But no. We’re talking about the long and high pant-pooping version of slacklining here — highlining.

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains.

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, in the Blue Mountains.

The first time I saw high-lining Read More

Evan Stevens, The Siege of Thermopylae (6c+), sector Spartacus, Kalymnos, Greece, with Telendos Island in the background.

Kalymnos Greece ~ gallery and beta

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Over the last 20 years I’ve been lucky to have photographed at dozens of climbing areas around the world. Keep your eye on this web site as we will be regularly releasing new photo galleries here. Along with my photos, there will be some information and beta about each area.

First up, lets take a tour of Kalymnos in Greece – one of the world’s great climbing holiday destinations. See the gallery –> here.

To stay in touch, and get bonuses (including computer wallpapers for images like this one below), be sure to sign up for our newsletter –> here.

Evan Stevens, The Siege of Thermopylae (6c+), sector Spartacus, Kalymnos, Greece, with Telendos Island in the background.

Evan Stevens, The Siege of Thermopylae (6c+), sector Spartacus, Kalymnos, Greece, with Telendos Island in the background.

The photo is of Steve Moon climbing Pole Dancer (22) at the end of Cape Raoul, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia.

Rock and Ice cover

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Had a nice surprise when opening my Post Office box on Friday. There staring up at me was the latest Rock and Ice Magazine – and with my photo on the cover! Had to look twice. Wasn’t expecting that. Was I dreaming? So I unwrapped it and had a closer look. Yes, it is for real, that cover is glued on there good and proper. Perfect reproduction and several shots of mine running inside too. Stoked!

I know, it’s probably funny, that after 20 years in the game I can still get excited about a cover — but I think that’s good – yeah? But Rock and Ice is not just any magazine. They have an awesome team who really know what  they are doing and it’s no surprise to see the magazine is going great-guns. I’ve been a contributor for years and am always proud to get my work in there. As always, thank you Rock and Ice for publishing my work!

The photo is of Steve Moon climbing Pole Dancer (22) at the end of Cape Raoul, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia.

The photo is of Steve Moon climbing Pole Dancer (22) at the end of Cape Raoul, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia.

Lee Cujes making the first ascent of License to Climb Harder (7c), on The Face -- one of 2153 limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

Memorial Maria Luisa

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The Memorial Maria Luisa Photography Competition seemed like a good cause so I entered a few shots. I’m happy they both ended up with Highly Commended awards in the climbing category. Sweet!

See all the winning photos on their web site here.

Lee Cujes making the first ascent of License to Climb Harder (7c), on The Face -- one of 2153 limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

Lee Cujes making the first ascent of License to Climb Harder (7c), on The Face — one of 2153 limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

Doug McConnell leading, with Dean Rollins belaying, on The Ewbank Route (aka The Freed Route), which they freed at grade 27 in January 2009, on the 65 metre Totem Pole, at Cape Hauy, Tasmania, Australia.

Doug McConnell leading, with Dean Rollins belaying, on The Ewbank Route (aka The Freed Route), which they freed at grade 27 in January 2009, on the 65 metre Totem Pole, at Cape Hauy, Tasmania, Australia.

035 D0270

Is the future of hard Australian climbing set in (Elphin)stone?

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It’s a rhetorical question really — but we do think it is about time to unveil Elphinstone.

So what is this “Elphinstone” that we speak of? Well first, let’s be clear, we are not talking about the town of Elphinstone in Victoria, the County of Elphinstone in Queensland nor the reef of Elphinstone in the Red Sea. No, none of those — but Google Elphinstone and that’s mostly what you’ll find. Here we’re talking about the mega new (and mega hard) sports crag of Elphinstone (Elephant Stone) in the Blue Mountains!

Maybe you saw some “better than Taipan (Wall)” hype on Facebook but chances are you’ve probably not read too much about this place as yet. In typical Blue Mountains style, initial discovery and development was kept rather quiet, understandably. Word kind of just seeped out. But the Elephant is out of the bag now, so to speak. In fact, all of the currently available crag beta is now available on The Crag website here. The first two sentences there claim, and say, a lot:

This crag will prove to be the citadel of hard climbing in the Mountains. Pitches are generally around 30-35m, uncharacteristically sustained and pumpy, on bullet proof rock.

So let’s take a look at Elphinstone, it’s also an excuse for me to show you some new pics. Without further ado, may I present to you… (drum roll please)… ELPHINSTONE!!!

035 D0334-unveiled

The Main Wall. Way steeper than it looks and the height is deceptive; it’s about 30-metres up to the grey rock.

Looking from Cahills Lookout in Katoomba, Elphinstone is easily visible on the Radiata Plateau (which starts near Explorer’s Tree) to the north. So it is likely that climbers had gazed at the wall and at least considered the possibilities in the past. It wasn’t until Read More