Where were you born?
Where are you living now?
How long you been climbing?
How did you start climbing?
A school friend of mine, Anthony Hall, invited me to climb on Table Mountain. My first route was 22 and I climbed it in hiking shoes. A whole new world opened up to me that day.
What was the first crag you went to?
The Hole, Muizenberg
What did you study / what work do you do?
I am currently studying Postgraduate Psychology through UNISA. I work as a Personal Trainer and Sport Model.
What do you want to do when you’re big?
I am planning on specializing in Sports Psychology and Counselling in Private Practise.
What routes have you opened and are you opening any new routes at present?
On the sport climbing side I’ve opened a handful of lines and bolted a dozen new projects for the season. I am currently bouldering and enjoying the simple freestyle approach. I have opened a number of high ball boulders in Llandudno.
Spotless Mind 8a+
Alien Race 7b
Wide Open 7b
Children of the Sky 8a
Free o’clock 7b
What training do you do and how often?
I train at CityROCK in Observatory. I vary my training according to my levels of motivation. I train campus board, bachar ladder, interval routes as well as cardio and general conditioning exercises.
Do you train specifically for routes?
If I hit a wall on a route and can’t break through I’ll focus on more specific skills training in the gym. Move simulation training usually works. A big part of my training is on the psychological aspect of climbing. I focus on visualization, mental rehearsal and relaxation training.
Biggest epic that you’ve had?
Solo climbing Cogmans Buttress. This was for me the most mentally challenging climbing I’ve done. I was blusted by high speed winds and attacked by starlings on the final pitch. I managed to frighten the birds off with stones that I collected on one of the ledges.
Who is your most favourite climbing partner and why?
Olaf De Wet and Max Martini. These guys epitomize the spirit of climbing. We have grown close through the trips we have made together and I value the pureness they bring to the sport.
Would you say you’re climbing the hardest ever in your life?
Yes. Although I am not as physically strong as I have been, I am mentally stronger than in my previous years of climbing and climbing with more flow than before.
Do you Trad climb? Yes
Do you boulder? Yes
Have you aid climbed? Yes
You’ve been doing quite a bit more Trad climbing of late, if you have to choose between trad and sport – which one would you go for and why?
A difficult question to answer but I was introduced to climbing in the Sporting method. The emphasis on gymnastics of movement in sport climbing appeals to me. I enjoy problem solving and pushing my envelope of movement ability.
You recently sent the Love Project at Llandudno, when did you first come across the route and how long did it take for you to send it?
I found the line 4 weeks ago with my friend Silas. We had just opened a classic 7b called Wide Open. From there I spotted the entrance to the cave and I was blown away to see a 12 meter roof problem with solid features. It took me half a day to brush, chalk and clean up the line, another day to suss the moves and I sent on my third attempt.
What gets you psyched?
Being in nature.
What projects are you currently working on (Boulder / Sport / Trad)?
I am working on new sport and boulder projects around the country.
The New Definition (Llandudno)
Soul Mandate (Llandudno)
Living Large (Cederberg)
Eternal Love (Peers Cave)
Jumanji (Paarl Rock)
Nature’s Way (Montagu)
Above and Beyond (Waterval Boven)
Do you have a 5 year (climbing) plan?
To climb everything I can and to travel as much as possible to new places.
Are you an MCSA member?
Yes, although I think my subs are due
Have you had any serious climbing injuries from climbing?
Broken heel from an impact fall off a high ball.
Do you warm up – how long and what sort of warming up do you do?
Yes, this depends on the intensity of the route. The biggest part of warming up for me is relaxing before the climb and clearing my mind of expectancy.
Do you follow a diet?
No, although I am mindful of what I eat. I try to eat as healthy as possible and prefer to cook my own food than buy take-outs.
What is your favourite meal?
Top 3 routes?
Three Degrees of Seperation (9a+ Ceuse) I’m looking forward to putting this together when I get back to France in the near future.
Satans Temple (8a+ Waterval Boven South Africa) An incredible line near the Waterfall in Boven.
The Activist (8a Montagu)
Top 3 climbing areas?
What are the top 3 international climbing destinations that you would choose to visit?
What is your Hardest onsight? What enabled you to onsight the route (what was different about it)?
8A+ Bubble, Mine, CT. I didn’t expect anything and it just happened. I had no pressure to onsight the route and is seemed easy at the time.
Tea or Coffee? Coffee and Spechloos
Do you do any other sports?
Cycling and Trail Running
What do you do on a rest day?
Read, swim and philosophize with my friends.
Do you have a nickname? Matty
Aspirations for 2012?
To complete my studies and climb as much as possible.
Describe your perfect day?
Opening new lines with my friends and exploring new places.
Can you do a 1 arm pull up? Yes.
Last year you placed two bolts on Table Mountain which created a bit of stir. Going back in time and knowing the reaction it caused, would you do it over?
No comments Justin, but I am happy to talk to you about this when I am in Montagu.
You’ve been doing quite a bit of soloing recently, some of it on seriously hard sport climbs. How did you get into soloing?
Soloing routes came as a natural progression for me. I was staying on a farm in Montagu and I didn’t always have a climbing partner. I would cycle my bike to the crags and climb routes alone, soaking up the sun and moving free.
What is the difference to you between soloing something easy like Jacobs ladder and a hard route like Daze of Thunder?
These two routes are very different in nature but in both cases I prepare for the routes by understanding what the line requires. I break my solos down into sections and listen to myself and the rock. The conditions on day are also a big variable to consider. I try to put my ego aside. Soloing for the freedom of movement and for the experience itself.
When you get to the top of a route that you’ve soloed (where you cannot top out), how do you get down?
I have down climbed before but on really hard routes that close out I always wear a harness and have a rope at the chains to rap off with.
What is the attraction to soloing for you and how does it compare to climbing with a rope?
Freedom of motion. Soloing is the purest form of climbing for me. In the solo space the usual concerns of everday life don’t exist. Up on the wall its nature and me and the connection between. It’s a separate reality to everyday life that has always brought me greater clarity– to live present.
Are there any routes where you say ‘No, I’m never going to solo that’?
Yes. If I don’t feel that I can climb the route 100% of the time I will not solo it. I stack the odds in my favour and avoid uncalculated risks.
Have you ever backed off a route?
What is your list of Routes + grades that you’ve soloed?
Cool Like That (29) x2
Point Break (29)
Daze of Thunder (28) x2
African Soul (26)
Fleur De Mer (24)
Eddy of Bovidence (24)
The Rave (24)
Another Day in Paradise (21)
The Activist (30)
How important is opening new lines to you ?
Opening new lines gives me inspiration. The process of finding the route, bolting the line, chalking and brushing, sussing the moves, making the links and climbing it with flow is of great appeal to me. It’s a great moment when the picture is completed, from searching for the line to climbing it with flow and grace.
When did you start Slacklining?
5 years ago.
Do you feel that Slacklining helps your climbing?
Is there anything that you can’t do on a slackline?
Plenty. I slackline for relaxation rather than for pushing tricks. I can’t afford to injure myself and so I play safe on the line. Climbing is more important to me than lining.
Where have you climbed overseas?
What routes have you sent – Grade 31 and above?
Route by the River 31
Satans Temple 31
Vorpal Sword 31
Who Needs Lucky Cows 31
Not For Sale 32
Mamma Africa 31
Up For Grabs 31
Short Circuit 31
Strange Days 31
Mr Incredible 31
Have you gotten round to completing your ‘24 routes in 24 hours challenge’?
I am currently focussed on bouldering but I am sure the motivation will return for this challenge. It’s a personal endurance challenge that I set myself that I will complete when the time is right.
What are your top 3 climbs
At present my top three climbs are boulder problems at Llandudno. The Love Project, Telepathy and Zero Gravity. These climb aren’t the most difficult in the world but the location of these lines makes the experience of climbing surreal.
A big thanks to my sponsor Robert Breyer at CityROCK. I am sponsored by Evolve and Blue Water Climbing Gear. I climb in Pontas shoes. They are perfect for me, comfortable and light. I use the dominator rope 9.4 which is durable, weightless and easy to handle.