Dizzying heights - not a thing with bouldering. But precisely because of the manageable fall height, the unsecured climbing sport is a real challenge for body and mind. Technique, skill and creativity are required, not excessive daring. To master the treacherous passages, you need not least brains paired with the right instinct - your own skills are tested again and again.
In the meantime, bouldering has developed from a sometimes ridiculed fringe sport to a real trend. Newcomers and experienced hobby athletes flock to the bouldering halls. There have also been some changes in the competitive sport. For example, the official World Climbing Cup of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) is becoming increasingly important. The top athletes have become real stars in the ever-growing bouldering scene.
In 2008, he won the German championships in difficulty climbing in his very first year in the adult class. In 2014, he came third at the World Bouldering Championships in Munich and also won the overall World Cup. A year later, the European championship title and a second place in the overall World Cup followed.
Boulderer Jan Hojer can boast a whole list of international titles and is not considered an absolute star of the bouldering scene for nothing. For his competitions, the Cologne native trains at least three hours a day and, in addition to targeted fitness and strength training, tries to excel both indoors and on natural rock: "In bouldering, you're strongest when you're young; in ten years, I won't be as good. I would have been sorry to waste the time and miss the chance to experience such a peak in my life," Hojer explains to the German Alpine Club's magazine "Panorama".
The women's world is also represented in the bouldering scene with some top athletes. At the tender age of 16, Juliane Wurm already became the youngest German champion of all time in the field of climbing. In the course of her career so far, 15 more titles at German championships followed, so that the boulderer can also claim the title of Germany's most successful bouldering athlete.
Wurm is also at the forefront on an international level. In 2014, for example, she not only won the world bouldering title at the 2014 World Climbing Championships, but also took the title at the European Bouldering Championships in Innsbruck the following year.
And what does the record holder love about bouldering? "In bouldering, the moves are more athletic and coordinative and it's often more playful than rope climbing. In training, I like the fact that bouldering is more varied and it doesn't get boring so quickly!", Wurm revealed in an interview with the online magazine "Am Fels".
At the age of 13, Czech-born Adam Ondra was already among the world's best in sport climbing and bouldering. In his first World Cup participation in the men's class in 2009, the now 27-year-old was able to claim the runner-up title in lead climbing right away. A year later, he won the overall World Cup and finally crowned his performance in 2014 with the World Championship title in bouldering and lead climbing.
In addition to competitive climbing, Ondra is always drawn to the outdoors, where he was able to conquer some of the world's hardest climbing routes at a young age, such as "La Rambla" and "La Dura Dura" - both in Catalonia.
Where does the Czech get the energy to master such devilish routes? "Everybody has animal instincts - I don't mean to scream like mad, but to be completely concentrated, totally absorbed in what you are doing, so that time seems to stand still. But few people can find that animal in themselves - children can do it much better. They play. I play when I climb," Ondra reveals to klettern.de.
Austria is also a bouldering powerhouse. Women's power is provided by 32-year-old Anna Stöhr, who won the World Youth Championships in Bulgaria at the age of 15. In addition to numerous other national and international titles, the bouldering world championship titles in 2007 and 2011 are among Stöhr's greatest successes.
The sports and English student can also be found on the rock. Her most outstanding achievement was conquering the route "The Riverbed" in Switzerland with a difficulty of 8b: "During the competition period, I tend to be indoors. During the rest of the year I am almost exclusively on the rock! Unfortunately, I can't reveal my secret areas here, because I prefer it quiet when bouldering", Stör reveals in the interview with "Am fels.de".
Alexander Megos is one of the best rock climbers and boulderers in the world, and with his ambition and discipline he became the first climber to climb a 9a rated route on-sight - on his first attempt. Overnight, this made him famous and he has continued to climb relentlessly ever since. Megos has since climbed the hardest routes on the climbing scene, putting him at the top of the world. In 2013, he climbed, among other things, the hardest bouldering route with the so-called "Wheelchair" and the hardest route in Australia with R.E.D of difficulty 9a. He also qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.