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Bootcamp: Babsi Zangerl

Friday, November 11, 2016
Global Athlete Babsi Zangerl has unwavering climbing focus. She is calm, collected and crushes. Training with women was a new experience for her. Through BD Bootcamp she found value in the motivation of others and learned to listen to her body more than anything else. This is her story.
Video: Louder Than 11, Words: Babsi Zangerl

Why did you commit to spending three weeks away from home training in a climbing gym?

For me it was cool to go on my first training camp with other girls! I committed to this project because I knew with Daila and Colette that we would have a lot of fun together.  It’s also easier when everybody is there just for training together. When you feel less motivated or too tired to go for another training session, there was always somebody who was motivated and we pushed each other to try hard. Training with Colette and Daila was a new experience—compared to training with boys, our bodies are more similar which makes it easier to share the same training.

What did you gain or learn from three weeks at Project Bootcamp?

I learned that it is really important for me to train with other climbers. I am less motivated if I go to the gym alone. I also learned how to follow a strict schedule, to listen to my body more than to anybody else, and that I am able to do two hard sessions a day.

Image: Jon Glassberg

What would you tell other climbers who are trying to improve their climbing?

I think it is important to get into a climbing community to share the experience, indoors or outdoors, with a few others. When I started climbing the most important thing was that I had somebody who took me to all the crags around my home and showed me what climbing really is. Or just to have a good bouldering/rope climbing partner that pushes you helps to make a better and stronger climber.

Did you have a specific weakness that you wanted to improve? If so, did you improve that weakness?

For me, the endurance training part was new, and my endurance improved within a short time.

Would you do this again? What would you change next time?

Yes, I would do this again—with the same team. It was a lot of fun and we shared a great experience together. It was really important that we had a physio with us who we could talk to about preventing injuries. I think I will follow a similar training schedule this winter—for me it was a good to have the structured training plan and I will add a lot of these exercises to my training. It would be cool to have other girls around to train with to keep the stoke high!

Image: Colette McInerney

What did you learn about yourself through this process?

I learned that I have to take more care about my warm-up exercises and to listen to my body more than what anybody else is telling me.

What project were you training for during your time at Bootcamp?

I climbed the route Dirty Harry (8b+/5.14a) 5 years ago, and the 8c+(5.14c) extension of this route, Harry’s Dirty Brother, was originally an open project that Jacopo and I were trying on and off for two years. Harry’s Dirty Brother has two really hard boulders and the route is a real endurance test piece. It is about 35 meters long, and the hardest part is the last moves. Jacopo sent the route last autumn for its first ascent. I also got really close on the route that November, but I was always falling off the last hard move. I only had three tries a day and after I was totally done. I had to do every move perfectly—not staying too long on the bad resting positions on the lower part of the route, and I had to climb really fast as well. It was also a mental game because sometimes I really felt weak on the first part, and then it was hard to focus and give everything regardless if I fell off in the middle of the route or at the end. That was really motivating to see the progress. To feel from day to day less and less pumped on the route and reaching new high points. I have never spent so much time on a sport route before in my life, and I think it is the hardest sport climb I have done so far, as it took me about 20 days to send.

Image: Elias Holzknecht

Even though you were there for only three weeks, were you able to tap into Mesa Rim’s community?

At the Mesa Rim gym there is a very motivated climbing community around, especially compared to Austria where you find no one in the gym when the weather is good outside or in the summer. So the training vibe at Mesa Rim was totally a different one compared to where I live. And it was cool to meet other girls there—like Rosie and Olivia who were stoked to train with us and joined our sessions! To see motivated climbers around helps to focus just on indoor training for a while, especially if you are an outdoor climber.

—Babsi Zangerl