I first met Maurizio on a BMC International Meet at Plas y Brenin a few years ago. It struck me at the time that whilst I was having a great time at the crag - enjoying a week off work, Maurizio was having a great time at the crag - enjoying a week of work! He wrote about the meet in a subsequent issue of Vertical. I caught up with him again, to see if his job really is just jetting off around the world and getting paid to climb...
Name: Maurizio Oviglia
Job Title: Mountaineering Journalist, New Route Climber.
Relevant Qualifications: I'm a qualified graphic designer. I'm also an Alpinism and Free-Climbing Instructor (CAI, Italian Alpine club)
Salary: About €1000 to €2000 per month
Perks and holidays/time off:
I have no time off as such, I'm always thinking about work. The only time off I get is when I go on a trip... without a computer!
Describe your job:
I'm an editor of Vertical Magazine. I propose new articles, contact the climbers, check the text and the translations, edit the Italian articles sent to us. I also continue to promote Sardinian climbing: I establish new routes/develop new crags (about 100 new routes from last year), and I write and design brochures to encourage tourists to come to these places to climb. I am also the Director of the UP Yearbook, born from an idea that Erik Svab and I had in 1999, Now we are at the 5th issue. I also write guidebooks... and I work on the web - whew!
How did you get this job? How long did it take? Any hardships? Did
you always want it or did it just happen?
When I finished college, in the eighties, I first worked in Turin in a factory, although I'd trained as a graphic designer. By that time I was already an experienced Alpinist with some pretty good ascents - including many new routes, to my name. In Italy at that time there was military service, and I came to Sardinia to do mine when I was 22. I fell in love with Sardinia and decided to make my home there. Meeting my future wife Cecilia had something to do with it, as did being able to climb a lot of new routes. Around this time I did my first freelance promotional work, and a couple of years later I decided pack in my work for a publisher and to work freelance in publicity. I have continued to work for myself ever since.
What attracted you to the job in the first place?
I simply do what I like doing!
How long have you been in the job now? How long do you see yourself
I don't know how long I will continue, not because I want to change, but in today's world, with constant crises, it's hard to be certain about things. It could all change tomorrow.
Describe your average day at work? And the average week?
I divide my days. Three or four days per week I work at my PC, from six in the morning to ten at night. The other days I go to the crag and I climb or work, gathering information for my guidebooks. With the travel, it's pretty tiring.
Is it how you/other people imagine it to be?
In Italy it's impossible to live solely from climbing, not even the most famous climber, Manolo, manages to do that. So the mix of things I do (climber/putting up new routes/journalist) is a good compromise and some climbers are a bit jealous of me.
The best day? The worst day?
The best? When I write a good article on my last route and I receive compliments. The worst? There's lots of bitching and criticism, in part due to a bit of envy...
Do you 'love' your job?
Yes, I love my job.
If a teenager said to you 'I want to be a climbing journalist, like you' – what
would you say? Recommend it? Warn them off? Laugh?!
It's not an easy way to earn a living. A lot of young people want to live just through climbing... but the only thing they know how to do is climb! So it's very hard... even if you climb 9a it doesn't mean you'll get a reasonable wage.
Any friends through work?
I'm essentially a one-man-band. There are people who occasionally help me, but often I'm working alone.
Any amazing stories?
My daughter was asked, on her first day of school, what her Dad did. She didn't know what to say. After a bit of a pause, she said, “He plays on the computer!”
And finally - What's your dream job? Why?
I can't imagine any other job for me. Maybe when I'm 60 I'd like to just write.
Special thanks to Peter Herold for the translation (www.peteranne.it)
Maurizio is the Director of the annual climbing magazine UP. UP covers all styles of climbing throughout Europe and is an excellent resource for European climbers. Particularly inspiring are the in depth interviews and the comprehensive annual round-ups of all the hardest climbing activity.
UP is available in an English language version and is published by the Italian guidebook company Versante Sud. It is distributed in the UK by Cordee.