Vojta Trojan has climbed many routes of 9a difficulty. Find out what it's like to "allow yourself to climb difficult lines and read more in the interview what you will not heard in the documentary.
You have to want to do it and at the same time allow yourself you can be successful and able TO climb such difficult routes...
Vojta, what kind of person are you and who are you in your bare essence?
It probably won't surprise anyone that I like sports. In general, I look for challenges in my life and climbing and I like to push and overcome myself. I love the state of being fully present and focusing on the present moment. Most of the time, this is what sports and my job (route setting climbing routes) bring me.
How does your personality influence mental setup and decisions to "be successful and allow yourself climbing hard routes"?
I'm a very goal-oriented person and when I do something, I want to do it the best way I can. I've never had to suffer in climbing or training to accomplish what I set out, because it always made sense simply to do it…
I find that people sometimes feel like they have to sacrifice a lot to achieve something. I mean, when you're looking at it from the outside, it often looks that way, but if you enjoy it and if it gives you a purpose, it just doesn't feel that way. You could say it's kind of happening by itself. Even though the process of climbing hard routes, sometimes doesn't go completely smoothly, that's part of the process.
What's the difference between 9a climbers and the ones who climb routes up to 9b/9c?
A certain amount of talent linked with unlimited time to train and project those hard routes. For example, I can imagine climbing 9b myself, but it would take so much time spent on that one exact route, which would also be probably somewhere far from home, so I don't want to do it anymore. If it's your job and you're a "full-time athlete" you can afford this
Do external factors such as "expectations" have a big influence on you? Do you “create pressure” on yourself in climbing hard routes?
Generally, I have no problem with pressure. I explained to myself a long time ago that I do it for the process itself that fulfils me and not for the result or outcome. That climbing route still be there tomorrow, plus it's nice to have a reason to go back somewhere for your unfinished project (he smiles)
Do you have any specific rituals before sharp attempts?
I often have a problem with my cold hands, so I warm my hands over the gas stove – even several times in a row and just wait until my hands are at a reasonable temperature. Then it works also to wiggle your arms to drive a blood flow into your fingertips. When the route is more endurance, sometimes I do various breathing exercises – one or two rounds of Wim Hof techniques just before my sharp attempt.
During the “rest days” I visualize the route lying on the ground and try to imitate individual climbing moves, feeling my breath and how am I gonna feel during a climb. I do the route in my head with everything in my mind even gasping, feeling the pump in my forearms and so on. I can say that I feel the same when I climb the route...
Your tips how to stay in shape when you have just a limited amount of time?
Training maximum strength, high intensity and short climbing intervals, after the long break. Moon Board, Kilter Board, spray wall, campus and finger-boarding too. Especially the “limit bouldering” means climbing as hard as possible (even just a few moves) at the very limit of personal strength. I don't have any time to train endurance or power endurance, so I am trying to catch up at least this way and then somehow climb it out on the rocks.
When I am able to train 2-3 times a week, the only thing that makes a sense is campus or MoonBoard to keep my explosiveness, power and finger strength
Training 3x times a week: what to choose? Campus, MoonBoard, hang-board or spray wall?
It always depends on your climbing level and what you want to achieve. In 90% of all the cases, climbing works itself. Try similar climbs and techniques similar to what you want to be good at. But it's more complicated and would be a longer separate story...
What is your lifestyle and how do your eating habits affect your performance?
I'm trying to eat reasonably healthy and I'm watching my protein intake. I eat oatmeal with Greek yoghurt for breakfast and then I eat a lot of eggs and sometimes meat, but I try to eat less of it and prefer only good quality sources. Otherwise, I eat an awful lot of sweets – cookies, cakes, etc. I probably couldn't survive without it anymore, but I'm lucky enough to be able to afford it due to my high energy expenditure (both at work and in everything else I do).
I also drink a lot of coffee, which I would say has a very positive effect on how am I functioning. I pretty much drink coffee all day long as long as I still have some physical activity to do! (he laughs) I drink it mainly for the caffeine content and exclusively without milk and sugar, but I also like to have a good filter coffee in a coffee house. I usually drink about one to five of the cups per day.
What do you miss the most in climbing compared to skateboarding or snowboarding?
I don't know how to climb “just for fun” anymore. It's all very performance-oriented for me. That doesn't mean I do not enjoy it, but there's just almost always an intention to achieve something.
When I go skateboarding, it's all about having fun and that's where it ends. There has to be a balance and I am not able to tell you what's more important for me. Obviously, I enjoy climbing hard routes, but it's not just the pure pleasure of the movement anymore, but rather the whole process is a challenge itself.
How is Luky “behind the camera” and how did you enjoy working with him?
Haha, Lukas is great! And he's got an eye for nice climbing shots! I hope this isn't the last thing we do together. I'm looking forward to the next one! (he smiles)
Thank you so much for the interview, Vojta!
"Jak se lezou 9áčka?" in English "How to climb a 9a routes"? is a documentary movie about the second-best Czech rock climber – Vojta Trojan, who has already climbed more than ten routes of the French 9a classification. What is it like for Vojta to climb these routes at his maximum limit? Where does he get a motivation? How does he train? What are his future goals?
All of this you'll see in the 30-minute documentary, which mostly takes place in Margalef (Spain). But you'll also visit Vojta's Czech hometown – Liberec or even see footage of Germany's world-famous sport-climbing spot Frankenjura, where Vojta climbed Wolfgang Gülich's legendary route – Action Directe (Fr. 9a).
Together with Vojta and a cameraman Lukáš Černý, you will take a look into the famous Spanish destination Margalef, where Vojta tries the route "El Viva in HD" 8c+/9a, which he says is a "mega-good line" and one of the best routes he has ever climbed in his lifetime! You will learn why Vojta chose this line and also how "numbers are important" and what the climbing classification means to him. Whether he is happier with a route of higher difficulty or whether it doesn't matter so much...
The next line you will see is the "El Potro" 8c+, route in the El Laboratori sector, again – Margalef, Spain. However, you will also go back in time to the German sports climbing area Frankenjura, where Vojta "threw chalk into the pond" in October 2022 and tried to climb the legendary Action Direct route, also of a 9a difficulty.
The route you do not climb for a number, but because it's simply good
You can also enjoy Vojta's thoughts on "how to be successful" and what it is like to "mentally allow yourself to climb such difficult routes". In the movie, you will also learn about Vojta's life journey and his climbing history that led up to climbing these hardest routes.
How many of these 9-pointers does he have on his credit? How many people in the Czech Republic have climbed this level of difficulty? How does he stand compared to other world's elite climbers?
At the end of the documentary, you'll be relocated to Vojta's hometown and his home training wall BoulderPoint, where Vojta works as a route setter, but also trains here sometimes. You'll see Vojta's training on campus, but then you'll move and check out grandfather's "Garage". A place where Vojta with his friends worked for a whole month, threw out all the junk and created their great training facility aka "boulder gym".
So where to train for 9a's routes? Better in the pro-climbing gym or this grandpa's garage? How to approach training when you don't have too much time? Better to crush the campus, MoonBoard or hang on the crimp? Expect all of this and more in this exciting climbing documentary feature!
For those who stick it out until the very end, there is a bonus in the form of deeper topics like: how does Vojta cope with his failure? What is more important: physical or mental readiness when climbing difficult routes? And of course Vojta's visions, plans and goals for the future: will he send a 9b or perhaps a 9b+ route one day? Check it out yourself!