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Ice Climbing stars to coach youth at championship
17 Nov 2009
Final preparations are underway for the inaugural UIAA European Ice Climbing Youth Championship. The event in Saas Grund, Switzerland, will include a competition on January 16, 2010 followed by a unique opportunity for the young athletes to learn from the sport’s elite on the “Coaching with the Stars” day on January 17 (application form). Former World Cup champions, Ines Papert and Urs Odermatt, will be in Saas Grund to pass on their knowledge and “tricks of the trade”. Papert will also give a talk on January 17 in the neighbouring resort of Saas Fee. In the following interview, the former women’s champion tells the UIAA why there is no gain without pain.
Why have you decided to support the European Ice Climbing Youth Championship?
Ines Papert: I didn’t receive any support when I was a competitor, and so it was often difficult to organise my preparation and decide how I should train. I would like to see the youth of today receive more support – and that will be my contribution in Saas Grund. I’d like to pass on the lessons I’ve learned to the motivated youth.
What will be your main message to the participants?
I.P.: Training isn’t very exciting until it starts “to hurt.” I was taught that by my climbing friend, Hari Berger (Ice Climbing World Champion, died in accident, winter 2006). And despite the pain it really is a lot of fun. I can only motivate myself to the limit when I train with friends. I will describe my personal training programme, and put its elements into practice with the participants. I’m looking forward to it.
As an Ice Climber what do you enjoy most about competing in a World Cup event?
I.P.: Looking forward to seeing the other athletes, but also the party. Of course, the climbing is itself a main attraction – and the best part is winning:-)
Ice Climbing is still a relatively unknown sport. How do you see the future of the sport?
I.P.: My experience shows that it’s not enough to be a good climber at competitions to get noticed by the media. Of course titles are highly valued by the public but we could do a better job marketing ourselves, calling attention to climbing feats and the achievement of exceptional routes. That would generate a lot more publicity. The Ice Climbing World Cup has given me a solid base for a passion that I can now live out to the fullest – climbing in natural surroundings. I’ve come to appreciate both.
(In February 2008, Ines Papert became the first women to climb Switzerland's 'Flying Circus M10', one of the legendary mixed routes, exactly 10 years after the first ascent by Robert Jasper.)