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Clinton Martinengo Interview

Clinton interview
Clinton climbing at one of the recent NBL Comps
Clinton climbing at one of the recent NBL Comps Photo Margherita Introna

Its been a while since we’ve heard anything about you, tell us what you’ve been doing for the past year?

I spent the whole of last year working on the stadium in Durban.
I got to visit the Wave Cave in June.  I’ve done hardly any climbing.  Five months prior to that as I was working 6 days a week and then would go climbing for just one day.

You went to Spain at the end of last year, for how long where you there, who did you go over with and what did you get up to?
Well, I finished up in Durban and left for Spain on the 1st of December (2009), I got back to SA on the 1st of February (2010).
Simon Lowe and I went over together and then Mathieu Schneuwly and Andrew Scott (both Durban guys) joined us.

What did you think of the climbing in Spain?
It was pretty awesome.  It took a while to get into, as all my climbing before then had been at the Wave Cave.
Getting used to the small crimps took a bit of time.

What is the best time of year to climb in Spain?
It all depends where you go, if you went to Rodellar its more suited to the summer time. We went to Siurana for the first two weeks, then Simon and I drove from Barcelona down to Malaga and along the coast of Costa Blanca stopping off at various crags along the way.  I had really want wanted to go to El Chorro (which is a Winter climbing area); unfortunately Europe was having a bad winter with lots of rain and snow, so it didn’t happen.

You had your mind set on the route ‘Anabolica’ in Spain, why did you want to climb this route so much?
It’s the iconic 8a of Siruanna , I was always under the impressions that JuzH had flashed many years back, although since speaking to him I found out that he had just redpointed it.
I had also previously been on the route back in 1998.

You onisghted an 8a over there called El Padre Orillos, tell me about it?
It is 15 or 16 bolts long, slightly overhanging by about 20 degrees, the middle gets tricky with some grips that you need to pinch onto and the top half was the redpoint crux for me because I was so pumped!

Do you think that climbing in Spain made you a better climber?
I think Simon made me a better climber!
His mission on the trip was to onsight as much as possible which got me physced and motivated, but generally the whole experience was good and I flashed / onsighted more routes than ever before.

What was the highlight of the trip?
For me, onsighting 8a and the very last day when I did the Extension to Shark Attack (8b).
I had been working it for 3 days, Simon was working a route nearby… the atmosphere was really awesome which made for such a good finish to the trip!

Are you climbing stronger?
I haven’t really been climbing for a while, besides one schlocky day at Montagu.  From a mental perspective I would say yes.

Clinton Martinengo Interview
Clinton tightening a bolt on the Stadium – Photo by Mark Johnston / Skysite

Do you think the break did you good?

It’s been especially good for my body, I’ve really needed a break since I getting back from my States trip last year, both mentally and physically.

In September last year you sent pretty much all the hard routes at the Wave Cave including Eros 8b+, is this the hardest route you’ve done?
Definitely the hardest route, Thanatos (the extension to Barricade) is harder and I had worked hard and managed to get past the crux move. But then the group I was climbing with got mugged and I don’t think I will ever go back to do it.

Do you find Limestone easier to climb on and is the rock easier to read?
I think to a large extent yes, when you climbing on pockets I find you can work out the sequence better. Also routes that have a lot of traffic on them, you can see black smear marks for your feet which gives the moves away.

With all this banter about Yellowwood ethics in the community, do you think a bolt(s) should be added if there is danger of someone hurting themselves?
Yes, a single bolt should be placed if needed, but no more sport routes should be bolted up there.

What are you plans for the following year?
6 months working in Mumbai, India and then go exploring. I want to check out the Himalayas too. Just walking, no climbing. I also want to visit Hampi, possibly Thailand.
Hector Pringle is going in that part of the world later in the year so I might join him on a trip.

What will you be doing in India?
I’m going to working/installing a roof on stadium that they are building for Commonwealth games, very similar to the work I did in Durban.

Who are you climbing sponsors?
Evolv, Blue Water and First Ascent

How long have you been climbing?
18 years

Click here to see more pictures of Clinton in the Gallery

Clinton interview
Clinton doing his best gorilla impersonation
Clinton Interview
Clinton taking the 216 meter leap at the Bloukrans bridge


  1. I think Ningo meant to call the route at the Wave Cave Thanatos (not Sanitors) – still to be repeated.

  2. Clinton tell us where you get that awesome fighting spirit from? I want some!!!!

  3. Hi Streaky, thanks for heads up, that was my typo not Clinton’s

  4. Clinton your great

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