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 By: Jens Larssen  | Date: 2008-11-14  | Category: Interviews    | Comment  
By Gerhard Schaar

Super Dooper Goo, 8a (c) Darren Trew
August 1914, 8a, Centennial Glen
Climbing above Mt.Vinson 4.895m
Jarmilla, you are one of the only two woman in Australia who has climbed 8b+, Staring at the sea in Blue Mountains. Tell me about this challenge, the process for you to achieve this outstanding goal.

 It took me three weeks, and it really suited me, as it is a long and sustained endurance route. It was the only route left on that wall for me. It is a link up, and I have done the individual sections already. All that was missing was a small section in the middle. That gave me some confidence. But at the beginning I kept falling at the first crux. But I knew once I do these moves, I could do the route. I felt that I was ready for that grade, having done four 8b's before. It was about going there and just try again.


You have not always climbed that hard. Actually you have a complete different background. Tell me about your interesting personal history. You are originally from Slovakia?

That is right, I come from the mountains there, they are called the “Tatra”. There I used to ski alpine race at a competition level. Further I did a lot of mountaineering, like I climbed 1996 I did an ascent of Pumori (7145m) in the Khumbu Region. I also did a lot of stuff in NZL and Antarctica.


And when did you come to Australia then?

 In late 1996 I came to Australia to study English in Sydney.


Your friends told me, that after a few years of ordinary climbing, you became very ambitious. What was driving you at that time, and what did you do to improve your climbing level?

 In 2004 I was climbing with Marc Baker, who was one of the strongest climbers in the late 90ies. He inspired me to try harder routes. I liked the challenge of trying harder, push my limits. 2005 I did my first 7c+, one year later I did a 8a+ and my first 8b in 2007.


I beneftited a lot from practicing with Marc and then later with Garth Miller. His guidance was very important, and it definitely helped me a lot to progress.


Do you think anyone could raise his climbing level, if he/she were just willing too?

 My personal climbing history is pretty long, and sometimes people think you just have to practice a lot and then you can climb hard within half a year. They tend to forget that I personally f. ex. Have a long history of doing sports, and did many years of climbing, where my body adopted to the forces and impacts. So when I started to train harder there was a really good basis.


And yes of course, if you put a lot of sensible hard work in it and dedication, then you can climb as hard as you like. Anyone can climb anything.


So I can do Action Directe if I wanted to?

 For sure. It is all about time, preparation and dedication.


Is it harder for women to progress on a personal scale than it is for men?

 No, I think it is the same. Gender does not make any difference.


So is 8c your next goal and have you already taken a look at any potential routes?

 Actually I have two main goals for the near future. First it is to climb “Punks in the gym”, which is  and has never been done by a woman. Then the grade 8c is stuck in my mind of course. I had a look at “Mechanical animals”, which is here in the Blue Mountains. It would again be a link up, so have already done almost all parts of it, just a five meter section would be new. It is a thirty meter power endurance, very reachy and pretty crimpy. So it is my style.


What about overseas trips. Would that be possible with your job as a nurse?

My work allows me to climb also during the week. Some weeks I work only one or two days at a nurse in a nearby hospital. I am somehow a full time climber actually. I am thinking of going to Europe right now. I would like to spend a few weeks there in fall, to spent some time in Osp and Spain. And of course visit my home country Slovakia.


What would your goals be? 

To onsight as many routes as possible.


No hard stuff for the records? 

No, I do not want to be stuck with one route.


Other climbers describe you as very self centred, even merely egoistic. Is that maybe an undesired side effect of being so focused, the price you have to pay?


If you want to achieve certain goals, that is probably really the price you have to pay. I am not going to the crag to socialize, but to climb. Personally I try to fit my climbing into the plans of my climbing partners. So I can not understand why people would have that opinion about me.

(Five guys from 8a is staying in the house of Jarmilla at the moment and we did ask Jarmilla if she did want to change and or take away this question as it is kind of negative but she just said, - No problem.

I have seldom met a so friendly and open minded climber and for me it is just sad that if you are a top climber, envy, seems to come automatically.

This girl has no sponsors and are using a more conservative ethics than normally. If she would have been living in Europe she would most probably be famous with a lot of sponsors.


Her ambition for 2009 is 8c and the summit of K2 and I guess this will just speed up the rumour especially if she actually only will do 8b+ and 8 000 meters. My good, this girl is fantastic!

Comment by Jens Larssen, founder of 8a)


How did the Blue Mountains climbing scene react to your achievements. What were the reactions from other female and male climbers?

I hardly get any recognition.


Other Australian top climbers have a hard time getting substantial support from sponsors. What is your situation?

I do not get any sponsorship at all. But I also haven’t really tried. There is not really a point in it, if I think of how much I would save, I rather work.


Can you tell me your favourite crags here in the Blueis?

Diamond Falls because of its great rock and beautiful lines, and its steepness. And Boronia Point of the similar features and it is even steeper than Diamond Falls.


Jarmilla,you are an 8a.nu member, why? 

It is a great way to be motivated, and to compare your achievements worldwide.


So are the grades a certain important part for you?

Yes, but it is about my personal quest to see how hard I can climb. What is my potential. I think this is why many people climb and there is nothing bad about that.


What do you think is the role that this website has in the climbing community “down under”, and why is it so successful all around the world?

Many of the top climbers in Australia have a scorecard and it is a part of the “healthy” competition amongst them. For me it is a source of information what is going on worldwide.