Martina Demmel interview

5 December 2022

Martina Demmel onsighted Pata pa mi 8b (a+) in 2019 after having climbed for less than three years. The next year she made it to the semifinal in her debut World Cup. In 2021, she onsighted roughly 160 routes 7c to 8b+ and became the first-ever female climber to win the 8a annual global ranking game. This year she started off in a cast, having broken her foot and in the summer she focused on the World Cup. Also this year the 21-year-old began a sport police schooling program. Her impressive resume also now includes a second 9a, which she carried out last week. (c) Felix Bub

We hear flexibility is one of your strengths?
Regarding flexibility, I'm on the lucky side which means I've always been very flexible and therefore, could do both splits without any training but since I started climbing, I enjoy doing some mobilisation/stretching for about 5mins in total each morning and evening; that's all😉... I also developed a pretty frontal static climbing style where I use a lot of high feet and 🐸 positions where the flexibility definitely helps me find a way to solve sequences with a lower level of power🧩... but that's nothing surprising I guess😜.

Do you think being flexible helps with onsighting?
Maybe, but I guess that's (onsighting) rather because of the different mindset and the fact that you have to move very intuitive what comes after more & more experience; that helps in making the right decisions quicker and more often🦎💭 While onsight climbing, I'm experiencing the purest form of flow as there's no time to think about something else what makes this so special that it feels like unpacking a present: anything can await you at any point🎁🎉😁

Can you tell us more about your police schooling program?
Since the middle of September, I'm on police school to become a Bavarian Police officer after 5 years of education👮‍♀️. It's a rather unknown program for all kinds of professional sports to allow national team members (criteria to enter the program, should be on WC level) to pursue their sports career but to also have a safe job afterward. Basically, our school time is over the double length (instead of 2,5 it's 5 years) to have enough time for training & comps. School is always from September to the end of January but we've got the luxury to be supported financially the whole time, that's why it's my job now to prepare the best possible for the comps and to move the priority away from rocks😉.

Is the Olympics one of your goals?
Paris isn't my goal as I'm only focusing on Lead the next time (bouldering only to feel more comfortable in unstable positions) & because I've actually never been attracted by the Olympics in general but maybe this changes by LA, who knows😜🙃... I'm definitely psyched to get more consistency into my WC performances and to leave the stage with a hopefully satisfying battle no matter the placement🔥😊.

How often are you able to climb outdoors?
Luckily, there's still a bit of time to head out to the crags around my home where I really need to keep up my mental well-being🦎🌞. And it seems that having school taking over a big part of my daily life now, it plays out surprisingly well in my climbing as I'm appreciating the rare time & simple things much more🦋😁 (expected to be rather stressed by forcing things in these short windows😅). Not to forget here, I'm very glad to have gotten a place at police school after trying to get in there for 2 years🙏😊 (Laser-OP for my eyes delayed everything.)

My plans for winter still have to be discussed with my coach but I'm hoping to join a few friends in Margalef in late February but the trip definitely won't be as long as the previous years😜🙈.

What does a normal week look like for you?
So normally during fall/winter, we've got police school from 7 am to 3 pm (some days start later/end earlier to get more time for training) only within this sports concept. Afterward, there's training with the German team in gyms around Munich. My routine has turned into climbing indoors on 3 afternoons during the week (no specific training yet just trying what feels out of my comfort zone💃) + a lot of stability training for my shoulder as the right one is pretty unstable🦍 and rock climbing on the weekends around home🌞... and a lot of studying in the evenings for school📚. Felt pretty strange in the beginning to have such a structure again after 3 years of mostly intuitive living but I'm enjoying it more than expected (feels amazing to be "productive" except for the lack of sleep😅).

How has the change from an onsight lifestyle to a much more structured life been?
At first, those changes felt pretty overwhelming by getting thrown into a totally new world/surroundings (for comps, police school) but I'm generally keen for new challenges that bring the necessary motivation to adapt to those situations. Most of all, I was looking forward to having something besides climbing to focus on and hopefully put off some self-made pressure on the wall (partly it's working😜💭).

Just to mention it, I still enjoy onsighting on rock probably the most but it simply isn't possible all the time/everywhere because around my home, there are mostly the really challenging routes left but that's a good reason to commit to projecting something finally🙃🦎🚀...


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