There is no need to introduce Martin Stráník (18) as a successful climber. He has ascent boulder “Zlatý Drak” 8B recently. Last year he succeeded in The World Championship of bouldering in Marbella and came the second.
Later that year he turned up the sixth at The World Cup in Brno and also became the Champion of the Czech Republic at bouldering. He is excellent at bouldering as well as at climbing, for example 8b/b+ OS and after a few attempts he can do 8c.
Name: Martin Stráník
Nickname: Noo noo
Weight/Height: 75/ 177
Place of living: Brno
Climb since: 1996
Favourite climbing style: Bouldering
Date of birth: 1990Where and when did you start climbing?
The first time it was in Adrsbach when I was 5. My dad (the founder of the routes Utopie Xa-b and Pár kopečků navíc Xb at the climbing area of Křížový vrch) was trying to get us on some of the rocks. Two years later there was a new climbing wall built in my town Choceň so I took climbing a bit more seriously when the first competitions came...
Your brother Štěpán is your partner who you go climbing the most often. How do you get on with him concerning the fact that you are together quite often and you are a bit better at climbing? Do you motivate each other?
The time when we didn't get on that well is over. It was me who was envious of him for being better, for taking part in European Cups, doing trainings. On the other hand, it was a good motivation for me. Nowadays we encourage each other.
You attend the sports grammar school – do you have more time for climbing? Do your classmates know that you do climbing at the top level?
They sort of know. However, they don't ask as we don't talk about such things at school. We are rather interested in something else, which is normal for our age I guess. Even though I have to say they don't regard climbing as popular as football or tennis.
It seems to me you have improved a lot after moving to Brno. Do you have more opportunities for climbing there?
It definitely helped me a lot. There is a great bunch of people here who I can practice with, especially with Mráza or Adam. Besides that, in Brno one can climb different routes or boulders and combine them.
How often do you climb outdoor during the week?
As long as it doesn't get dark that early, I don't have much for school and there is a chance I go once a week to Kras. I either go with Ondras' or with my brother.
What's your training like? How often and how many hours do you train?
We go three times during the week and at the weekend we either go climbing outdoor or there is a competition. Mostly we practice at bouldering wall for one and half hour or two, in a group of two or three. I train with my brother or Adam the most often and sometimes with Mráza. The training with Mráza is the most effective as we boulder at the same level and he has plenty of experience and great technique. Therefore, I try to make the most of it.
Is there anything special you do at the trainings? Does anybody help you with the training?
Not really. My brother, Kuba Valčík and I used to do pull-ups, press-ups or sit-ups. However, we don't enjoy it anymore. Nowadays we only climb. At the moment we are trying to train with a weight waistcoat (5 kg) so that we will see whether it works or not.
You have been bouldering outdoor more often this year. Together with your brother you have started to explore the climbing area Bor where at the beginning of August you managed to ascend the most difficult boulder Zlatý Drak 8B you have ever done. How long did it take you?
The truth is climbing in that area is just fantastic. Moreover, there were and still are plenty of new opportunities. Together with Štěpán we cleaned up one boulder then another one and since we have enjoyed it there. We have known about Zlatý Drak for two years. That time it seemed to me unrealistic. This year I came back and made up the way a bit differently this time. Finally, after four days of practising I sent it. According to the rating system the difficulty is 8B, which is only for guidance. I would compare it to a boulder 8A+ that I climbed in Switzerland and it was much faster. Now I only have to do SDS which is of 7C+ difficulty up to the beginning of the route Drak.
I can see you are very enthusiastic about climbing, you are fit enough. Are you planning even more difficult ascents in the near future?
I hope so even though I'm taking the leaving exam this year. Therefore, I will have to study first of all. I really want to try boulders such as Dreamtime SD 8B+ (Cresciano, Switzerland), Mandala 8A+ (Bishop, USA), Memento 8C+ (which should be of 8B+ difficulty now, Silvretta, Austria), or something in Fontáč (hopefully this winter).
What's the fascination about bouldering for you? Do you enjoy exploring new routes?
It's the fact that you are finished faster and if so you don't need to hang in the harness, carry the quick runners and when you want to have a break you can always lie down. Another thing is that you use all your body when bouldering so that after one day I'm always exhausted. Exploring new routes is good fun and sending them is even better.
What should such boulder be like for you to be satisfied? What kind of boulder do you enjoy most?
An ideal boulder should be about 5 metres high, slightly overhanging, each move should be hard but possible. The holds should be positive features such as edges. Towards the end there could be a jump to a jug.
Are there any potentialities in Bor climbing area for further progress?
The new possibilities for climbing are running short but still there are some. Most of the area belongs to Poland and climbing there is forbidden, which is a pity. It could easily be the world famous area then. My brother and I focused on boulders which looked difficult at the first sight. Now we are going to add some easier boulders that aren't cleaned up. We are also planning a couple of routes of 8B-C difficulty. These are just the plans as Graham or Sharma need to come here first of all and it's not going to happen that soon.
After the great place at The World Cup of bouldering last year you were planning to take part in as many competitions as possible this year and to attack the first positions. You have been the 11th in Hall, the 39th in Grindelwald and the 11th in Vail so far. Are you satisfied with these results. Have you found out what to improve to be even better?
I definitely need to improve my technique and flexibility which is my weak point. The two competitions I took part in last year was about the strength and that's my strong point. I'm the most satisfied with the results from Vail for a great number of rivals such as Sharma, Woods, Robinson, Landman ... who don't usually turn up at the World Cups.
What are the usual boulders at the World Cups like? Do you try to look for the similar ones outdoor?
I can't exactly say what they are like. In my opinion they always try to build a route so that you need a combination of good technique, strength and strength in fingers... Of course it isn't always like that. For example, this year in the USA (Vail) it was about strength whereas in Switzerland (Grindelwald) it was rather technique.
Would you like to practice climbing as a full time job as Mráza does, which means just trainings, competitions and nothing else?
Not really. Maybe if I were as good as him, I would ...I would rather like to have an ordinary life, to have a job and a kind wife, to go climbing at the weekends and sometimes to compete. However, this is far away yet.
This year you have ascent a range of routes – four times 8c, a couple of 8b+ (one of them OS). What are your next plans with the climbing?
First of all, I would like to finish my project “Pohádkové sny” 8c (I think it’s rather 8c+) in Kras. Apart from that I don’t have any particular aims. I always try to ascend such boulders about which I know I can do them even though it takes me the whole day practising. It means everything depends on my current shape. Next year we are planning to visit south of France twice so we will see. Once I would like to focus on 9a but it will need loads of training for sure.
What kind of routes do you prefer?
I prefer the overhanging ones and kind of bouldering. I don't care about the length of the route as long as there are places for a rest after the short parts.
You combine climbing and bouldering on purpose. Is it important for you to be an all-round climber or do you intend to focus on only one discipline in future?
Its not on purpose. I used to do only climbing for a long time and later I came across bouldering more and more often, especially in Bor. At the moment I’m quite fed up with climbing which means we probably will go bouldering more often. However, I don’t want to give up climbing completely as I regard rope climbing as the king’s discipline. Moreover, I would like to hold the position of being the best in our country.
What are your favourite climbing areas in Europe?
I haven’t explored many bouldering areas yet. The most I like Bor, Cresciano and Modřin wasn’t bad too. Rodellar, Tarn and of course Osp belong to my favourites out of the difficult areas.
What about big walls or speed climbing, aren't they attractive for you?
I’m not interested in either of them. I would like to visit Mallorca and DWS next year or to try some difficult solo. I like to overcome both the rock and myself.
What about first ascents in sandstone area or in Kras?
There aren’t many possible new ascents left in Kras, particularly to make a nice route there. I intend to explore the sandstone areas more and more often in the near future so maybe then... Both Štěpán and Majzlík are trying to persuade me already now to go there.
Do you have any motto for climbing?
Climb as long as I can.
Fontainebleau part 2
Videjko z Boru (pískovcová boulderingová oblast - polická pánev)