INTERVIEW: Cristian Brenna

Cristian Brenna, 60 kb
In the interview linked below, world class Italian climber Cristian Brenna shares some opinions about Jerry Moffat, what makes Adam Ondra special and why there don't seem to be any strong female climbers coming out of Italy - "I don't know why. Maybe they are too busy shopping..."

Cristian also has some thoughts on climbing and the Olympics, why Rockmaster has gone downhill and how he thinks American climbers have more fun.

He also talks about the climbing scene in Italy, his life now as a father and mountain guide, and has some advice for young competitive climbers in the modern world.

Two men are climbing the Gelbe Mauer, the challenging 'Yellow wall' of the Cima Piccola di Lavaredo in the Dolomites: Rock and Ice Managing Editor Andrew Bisharat and top Italian climber Cristian Brenna. After topping out the route, Cristian and Andrew go back to the shelter, order up some giant beers and continue their conversation.

Click here to read the full interview on the CAMP website. Excerpts below.

Do you think it's possible to have a job and be competitive in the World Cup?

No. Also, you can't be competitive in the World Cup unless you spend all of your time training. Last year, Adam Ondra was really disappointed with his third place finish. He told me, "F**k, I spent two months training only on plastic just for this competition!" And I told him, "Adam ... Ramonet started training on plastic in January!" You can't compete unless you are that dedicated, even if you're the best climber like Adam.

I don't really hear of any strong female climbers coming out of Italy. Is this true?

Yes, but I don't know why. Maybe they are too busy shopping.

Cristian Brenna atop Cima Grande
© Ricky Felderer

Cristian Brenner, 59 kb
Cristian Brenner
© Ricky Felderer
What do you think you have learned from competition that has been most beneficial?

Competition taught me to be decisive. Make a decision and go. Choose the sequence and do it. This is beneficial in sport climbing and also the in the mountains. You have to decide fast in the mountains, and in competition, too. But, in addition to being decisive, you also be very flexible in case you decide wrong. Maybe you see the route, but maybe when you are on the route you understand you've made the wrong decision, and you have to turn to a new idea immediately. I have to be open-minded enough to change. In life you have many situations where this is useful.

Adam is interesting because he has won World Cups and is obviously pushing the limits on real rock. Why aren't other comp climbers pushing it outside?

Adam spends most of his time climbing outside. Most competition climbers spend all of their time inside training. But look at Ramonet. When he finishes the World Cup season, he can also climb 9a+ in four or five tries just like Adam. But for many, I think after the World Cup season is over, they're too mentally and physically drained to do anything with their fitness outdoors.

I think you have to be really, really motivated to do well in competition. For some climbers, competition is not really important. Maybe in the Europe the mentality is more focused on competition, while in the U.S. they are more focused on being out there and having fun. When I see American climbers such as Dave Graham, they have a lot of talent for climbing outside but are not focused on competition. It's different in Europe.

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