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 By: Jens Larssen  | Date: 2012-09-17  | Category: Interviews    | Comment  
(c) Keith Ladzinski
FA of Life of Fritz, 8A in Joe's Valley
Travelling the last five months
Nalle Hukkataival was #5 in the World Championships 2005, which also was his debut on the global competition arena. In 2007 he won the Arco Rock master and in 2007 he was #2 in the European Championship. Midways in 2009 he stopped actively competing and he has since been globetrotting mainly focusing on putting up FA's. He has actively been fighting grade inflation with straight forward thoughts that he shares
on his blog, which is covered of nice pictures and short stories.

How has your dedication in climbing developed since you started to climb?
Like most people, at first I just climbed on anything and everything. After a couple of years of climbing I started trying hard test pieces to feel my limits, first locally, and then around the world on different styles and types of rock. With enough experience you develop a pretty good understanding of what you're capable of when you put your energy into something. First ascents in that sense are the true challenge because often you don't know if it's even possible, as opposed to something that's been climbed before. I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to travel and develop areas around the world that people will hopefully visit in the future.

Why did you stop doing World Cups?
Plastic climbing has never really been that motivating to me. In fact, in my early years, I got so tired of climbing on plastic that I actually quit climbing for a year and a half. This was before I tried rock climbing. I like doing more relaxed competitions here and there, but sitting in isolation for hours on end is one of my least favorite things in climbing.

What do you see in your future horizon?
At the moment I'm very psyched to focus on a single project that could be the next step in difficulty. I know this is the standard answer that you'd get from most anybody, but for the past months my objective has been somewhat different. I just got back from a 5-month road trip to Australia and South Africa and even though I did many hard first ascents and repeats, the process was very different. We were out in the mountains almost every day, rain on sunshine, hiking, looking for new areas, rapping down, brushing problems, developing new areas, building landings... It all takes so much time and energy that focusing on one specific project that's absolutely at your limit is very tricky in this situation.

What about start using the rope and try to bolt some nice lines and go for a 9a?
I've done quite a bit of route climbing over the last years actually, but I haven't been that motivated to really push myself on that front until recently. Climbing in Australia and mainly Taipan wall really opened my eyes to what route climbing can be at it's best; 100% natural perfect rock, interesting movement high off the ground and run out! Just like bouldering but for 45 meters! Often route climbing tends to be very static and basic and in many places manufactured holds are unfortunately common which kills my motivation completely. In the Grampians this is not the case at all! I can't wait to get back on one amazing project at Taipan wall, which I got really close to sending on my last day there!

What are your up-to-date thoughts on grades?
Personally, I'd prefer not to even have to think about grades, but in this current trend where media places such importance on the number affiliated with a climb, professional climbers in particular need to play along. Bouldering grades, in their current state, are quite meaningless to me. Some of the hardest things that I've ever climbed don't have an impressive grade. If the focus was more on the quality of the climbs and the experience itself, we'd be much better off in my opinion.

8a would like to focus more on quality and less about grades, but how should it be done?
Personally I would much rather see a photo of an impressive new 7A than read about someone climbing another contrived 8B+ lowball. Obviously the quality of a climb is a very subjective matter, but same goes for the top-end grades. I've been playing with an idea where the first ascentionist couldn't propose a grade. They might for example say that this could be the hardest thing I've ever climbed, but no grade would be published before repetitors would propose one. This could somewhat eliminate the effect of sponsorship incentive on grade inflation, but it's a big concept to get into here. The bottom line is, grades are opinions and opinions differ.