climbing is life


Chasing Piligrims (Redbull Creepers)

in englishна русском


I was invited to the event which reminded me the story of Hemingway «The Dangerous Summer». Bullfighting, blood, fear in people's eyes, joyful voices and desperate lightning movements of Torrero, euphoric fighting for life.

So what am I saying?

I am one of the participants of deep water solo event, which is held in the famous by bullfight Spanish city, Pamplona. Nearby in Puente la Reina, there is legendary bridge, in which long time ago Pilgrims walked.

This bridge will be in our hands, and underfoot is a shallow river, which was differently accepting flying without prejudice to the people. And who is 'flying'? – Yes, they are not just athletes, they are wonderful actors waiting for the roar of the audience that does not push them away. Charismatic, each with its own style and different attitude. Years of experience can be seen by calm look in stressful conditions. You can almost touch the outgoing force, it so evident when a group of such athletes gathered together in one place for a common goal.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов


CWIF Sheffield

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Couple of month ago on the training Dutch coach Wouter came to me. He said that after Climbing Works competition in Sheffield (UK) joint training with Slovenian climbing team will be organized. The plan was to stay for 5 more days after the comps and have a good training session.  Offer was very tempting and I’ve decided to go if getting UK visa will not bring me much troubles. I wrote to organizers asked for invitation letter. The replied with another offer: if I will compete for their team they will help me with costs. It will be foolish to reject this offer, so I added this event to my calendar.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

Competitions started. I’ve been in Sheffield already and I knew what to expect from climbing gym. Qualification is in festival format. All competitors were divided into two groups, I was in first. But I arrived to Sheffield only at 2am previous night and I didn’t get much sleep, organizers kindly moved me to the second group. In total there are 30 problems, not that many. There are no power problems, the most difficult ones are on balance on slopers. Basically, nothing difficult, probably route settlers have decided to keep our powers for next rounds.

Semifinals and finals are next day. I was climbing well but problems were not difficult. In total I spent 2 extra attempts and was worrying a bit about it.  For the final you should be concentrated, and this is something I forgot. Problems are great but I took it too serious.

Of course I was not happy with the result, but I didn’t plan to get upset either. I should be ready for the coming season!

The most interesting part came in two days. Famous route-setters prepared for us a lot of problems. We were divided into groups and tackled the problems for the five hours. That was incredible! Great marathon where your desire to climb overcomes pain and tiredness.

In two days we will have same marathon full of fighting and joy.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

 Big thanks to Graeme, Wouter, Simon (Slovenia), Persi (route-setter) and many others!

Kiev. My impression.

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Week ago I travelled to Kiev. Probably many of you would like to know what did I see there in ONE day))) Of course I didn’t get what is happening there and I’m totally concentrated on other things. I was focused on future master class, long talk takes a lot of energy and I need to be prepared for that. For this event was chosen not the best day, I knew that. But I couldn’t come in any other day since next day I had competition in UK.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

This master class was one of pleasant cases when I was tired to talk before public was tired to listen. Of course I’m not able to share all my knowledge about climbing in details in such a short time. And once heard, what to do with it? You can’t improve endlessly. Time is going, everything changes, you need to change methods and approach to trainings. That is why once knowing the secret you can’t be strong forever.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

I give a lot of information to audience and feel emptying after that. But I’m sure that I will be filled with fresh thoughts and energy which will be sent to me by people who know me and will know me.

Now more people know me and certainly they will support me in difficult moments of my competitions.

Big thanks to friendly and responsive audience from Kiev.

Thanks to Redbull Ukraine for invitation.

Helsinki. Emotions.

in englishна русском


Hello everyone!

Might be that I dreamed about meeting like that. It happened the other way around than I dreamed. They found me themselves. Probably I’m just lucky))

Some time ago I received email saying something like: “Hi, I’m Henna. Do you want to come to Helsinki for couple of days? Will be fun!” Why not, decided I. At the end, I participated in competitions coinciding with the opening of the new climbing gym Boulderkeskus in Helsinki. After the comps I gave a talk where I said about my life, trainings and a bit about everything. Also I showed couple of exercises. I’m very glad, that was my first performance like that in English.

Huge spacious climbing gym with lots of facilities. The length of the overhang of one of the modules is incredible. You can easily train lead here even though it is a boulder gym. Impressions from the climbing gym are very positive. I’m a bit envy, I would happily train there for the competitions ((

Rustam Gelmanov, Jernej Kruder

Boulderkeskus is the place where I could spend all day long.

Thanks to Jernej Kruder for the problems. He knows the difficult problems for me)))

Thanks to incredibly wonderful people Henna and Jarmo. World rests on such people.

Impressions El Capitan The Nose 2012

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It's been an year since I've been in Yosemite national park for the first time. I found one note that I made after the trip. Finally it is online.  Let me know what do you think.

You can ask, was I afraid to try myself in trad?

Of course! I was afraid, extremely afraid. I couldn’t even imagine, what it is! But I was sure that once starting it everything will be fine.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

For me there were a lot of difficulties, I’m a boulder climber, I’m used to fall right and left. On these rocks everything is different. Even atmosphere was making it clear: “my friend”, you are making something different here, forget the old rules. You can’t fall here! That’s a fact! There is no point to argue with that! If you are going to climb here and climb for long time, you should forget about falling. This is not what I’m used to, I never fixed myself securely, I always run while I have power and I want to.

View from The Nose El Capitan

I was afraid of placing anchors, but not for long. After couple of days fear grew to respect and later I got some understanding of what is happening. At the beginning I was playing with camalots, I was putting them so badly into the crack that I was angry and wasn’t going to fall down.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

We were climbing as much as we could and as long as we could. But it is not the most important. We were choosing routees with the most difficult and most unusual styles. Clean lines for hands I loved from the beginning.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

Long time ago when I just started to climb, I watched the movie “Masters of stone 5”. I don’t remember anything but how Steph Davis free-sloing the route. I couldn’t even imagine that one day I will try this route as well. You will not believe, but I even was afraid to dream about it. Seriously! One route from the movie I even climbed! The route was not difficult but I enjoyed every move.


Arco Rockmaster 2013

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One week after European Championship in Eindhoven I went to Arco Rocmaster. Here are news and emotions from bouldering competitions in Arco.

First of all I want to thank you all! So many people helped me to reach this result.

Winning was like elixir, which made me calmer and all my thought became brighter. Right after announcement of the winners I hugged my love, there cannot be better support in life!

Winning is like a drug, athletes can’t survive without next competition, which can bring a lot of joy.

From the side public can’t see what climbers are thinking about. This might be interesting for anyone. It is impossible to tell everything, you need to live climber’s life. Climbers want to share their feelings, how they train with only one thought in mind: I’m the best, I’m the strongest, I can do anything!

When you don’t want to train, you need trainer. He understands you, you give him energy, in his mind he climbs with you during the training. Sometimes I observe astonishing picture: how my trainer jumps like helping me, when I do long jump. I’m sure if I will climb as the one who climbs in the trainer’s mind, I will be invincible.

But after the training you are falling into the dark, everything becomes again pointless.

Continuously you are moving to the next starts. Often you regret that you could do more and you again forgot about one important exercise. I always have a goal to make every exercise consciously, be in the exercise, not just look from the side, as often happens with other climbers.

Actually I’m not making more training than other climbers, but every training I do purposefully, I’m in the action. And of course not everything is as I would like it to be.

Playing sport is very interesting. When sport becomes your life you are playing life! The more honestly and with love you are playing, the closer you are to harmony.

And finally about boulders…. Otherwise it will be boring for you 🙂

Morning. We came to try the problems. Very early, 8 am. For climbers it is too early.

Ehh, I need to climb. Without warming up I started with problems. I just couldn’t get up earlier. We are trying the problems very lazy, watching each other, we were with 12 people. Everyone is upset with so many crimpers. Even I feel that they are too many. I’m glad but concerned that problems might be changed.

Warmed up on the first problem (it was announced first after), made flash… not bad.

Started with second problem (again, it was announced to be the second later)… I’m a bit slow, but finished it after few attempts.

Spent a lot of attempts on the last problem, I had a feeling that it will be last and winners will be decided after this one. Finish looks impossible. I went away for the third problem. Balance and jump from very uncomfortable position. I can’t make the jump, tried it several times but it became only worse. I told to trainer that I will not do the jump now but will do it on the competitions. He agreed. I waited for the announcement of the problems numbers and left. Finish is in three hours. I chose first starting number, I like to start first.

Start! I’m cheerful and confident!

I made public feel nervous with climbing first problem from the second attempt even though I flashed it this morning.

Guys are leaving sport ground…. We are left with 5 on the third problem. I’m worried. But route settlers changed the problem a bit so guys can’t do one part. I put myself together and jumped from the second attempt as I planned it, I’m very happy)))

Final. Three persons left and the problem, which I almost can finish. Miracle! I almost did it from the second attempt, it was ALMOST real. And I become a winner.

Here is the video from finals.

And short interview.

Fingers are still in pain after the crimpers.

Thanks to everyone!

More about bouldering competitions you can find here.

ECB Eindhoven 2013. AFTER

in englishна русском


Just a week ago I was competing in last World cup in Munich. Today lets speak about the most important competition of  this season, European championship bouldering.

From the very beginning I should apologize because I disappointed many of you. Among others, my wife, my trainer and lots of Dutch funs expected the most from me. Here I’m at home.

Before the start, I felt like a superstar and was thinking only about finals. To get into finals should not be difficult with these competitors.

BUT. I forgot that this is a game and you should play honestly and emotionally. There is no place for predictions. We are fighting on the edge of our abilities; if you are calm you will never be able to do that. You have to be aggressive and furious.

I choose wrong tactics… Everyone says sport is sport! I don’t agree with that. I made mistakes and I could avoid them, there is no chance here.

I will not feed you with promises about future competitions. Now I need your support as never before. I love this sport!

Munich 2013. Afterword.

in englishна русском


You might read already how I was preparing for this start. The same as you, I was curious how I will perform on this start.

I made a lot of effort to be sure that there is no one stronger and luckier than me. I was training in self persuasion and of course physically every day. Everything was going well. There was not enough time for me to prepare in a proper way. There was only one chance – faith in victory. I’ve met some troubles there as well.

Of course I’m not happy with the result. But I was told by trainer: with so many mistakes be on podium – not that bad.

Get to finals was not that difficult. I don’t remember anything special besides the fact that couple of strong climbers didn’t make it to finals. This is sport.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

Finals! Tension is in the air. Someone behaves very calm, but it is just for show, he has chaos and panic in his head. Someone panics just for show and tries to keep cool.

Where is the golden mean of calmness and concentration?

The answer is always different because it changes with time. You even should not try to find the answer.

Observation of the problems. Vanity. Someone is making sounds easily understandable by intonations. Everyone is looking for a problems in the routs and trying to solve it.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам ГельмановSometimes I have a thought: why don’t I just stay in the comfortable couch with cup of juice on a Saturday night as all normal people? Instead, I’m trying my luck and trying to prove something to someone.

When time comes to climb, you feel yourself at home. This is your place, every motion brings you pleasure. The more difficult the move, the more interest you have in the fight. All problems are staying behind; you are coming to the other world, where every second on a mat is very important. Feels like all word is about climbing and you are part of big climbing family.

I forgot to write about climbing..

First problem made me feel like I’m beginner, I started to feel anxiety. Leaving it all behind I started with the second problem. It was going good but not for long. I made a silly mistake. Just one second can bring a lot of unpleasant consequences. I didn’t manage to start second problem again and lost my victory.


Third problem was not scary, but the second problem was still in my mind. It wasn’t perfect, but I pulled myself together and made beautiful jump on the third problem.

The fourth problem. I know I need to finish it from the first attempt. I lost control of the right thumb and fell down on the mat. One second later I started new attempt, I felt a lot of strength. Easy I finished this problem as it was supposed to be.


Third place

Huge thanks to my loving wife and trainer.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

More about bouldering competitions you can find here.

Training secrets

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How should I write about it without revealing all the training secrets?

You understand that how important is training, lots of nuances. Secret technologies to raise your power, secret technics of coming to an other state.


I knew that! There are no limits of naivety.

There are no secrets! Not at all! Everything is very easy that most of the people can’t believe that.

One day I realized, I need a trainer. I need a person who will control me, urge me, believe in me and force you to make voluntary attempts again and again. A person who sees the border between: it is possible if you keep trying and it is impossible, at least now, no matter how much you try.

As the fates decree, I found such a person. I don’t need to explain anything to him, I only share emotions.

“How do you train? Where is the secret?” – You can ask.

A lot of training. At first sight, it is just simple training: sportsmen is doing attempt after attempt, falls down, sometimes writhing with pain, keeps silent and making new attempt. Trainer is beside him, calm and attentive. He has this look that you are not at any importance there. Sometimes he shows new routes, depends on how fast you can finish it. In general, trainer is relaxing while you puffing over the rout and getting stuck on one movement. Oh yes, sometimes he is laughing when you fell yourself as a hog on ice.

“Why am I telling you all this stuff?”

Because from the side you will never notice what is going on and you will not be able to repeat it at home. You will miss the main thing, the state of the sportsmen and trainer. There is certain relation between them; trainer feels you like you are part of him. You also feel the trainer, but usually you don’t have time to think about it, you need to climb hard. Trainer doesn't let you to relax for free, only if he would want it. Everything in the room is soaked with the feeling, that you can do anything, that you are told to, you just have to do it. Mechanism of self-excited system is working. You came with at least weak intention, trainer cultivates your intention, infects you with self confidence. Therefore, you are becoming stronger and trainer is confident in you even more. In this way you can reach incredible level without feeling yourself tired and exhausted!

Of course, it is difficult to believe in it, you just need to try.

Thanks to Roman. He is going to broaden my true limits.

Climbing festival Luch in St. Petersburg 2013

in englishна русском


At the beginning of July I participated in climbing festival Luch 2013 in St. Petersburg. It's been a while since I've been in Russia and I already forgot how it feels. Public was very cheerful! Thanks a lot! I had very nice few days!!!
I will try to write it poetic. Enjoy!

Before coming to St. Petersburg, I was not climbing already for three weeks. I was totally occupied by organization of Salewa Rock Show in Asia (Seoul, Korea and Beijing, China). During those three weeks I felt like a real super star! Very warm Asian public, extremely friendly people and lots of new impressions from unfamiliar for me cultures.

The main point is that I didn’t have enough time to train properly. I knew that I have no other choice as win in St. Petersburg. First, public will not understand that, second, sponsors J Haha.. and wife will punish))))))))

I had to figure out the way to train: bottles with water instead of dumbbells, doorposts and any other places in hotels where I could hang instead of climbing gym. At least I didn’t have problems with stretching, you can do it everywhere.

I had a plan to fly from China to Eindhoven and next day fly to St. Petersburg.  But sponsors changed my flight from China to one day earlier. Therefore, I could train a bit and spend one more day with Tanya. I even will not mention how rare we see each other.

Everything goes fine; I arrived to St. Petersburg and immediately got the feeling that I will have rest there. Next day I had Master class for media. It is a bit boring for me, reporters don’t know much about bouldering and you need to have patience to speak with them.

The festival started. 300 people will compete in qualification. I choose first group to have cleaner grips and start fighting problem after problem. Here comes surprise: one problem is very difficult. I know that it meant for me, but I can’t do anything, I didn’t climb for a while. This problem stimulated me and I remembered that I need to be impudent.

Semifinals and finals were as in fairytale! Lots of people, all together they support climbers. I spoke with so many people in breaks and after start so my throat was dry every 20 minutes.

When public is that supportive, you try to satisfy and entertain them. I always liked it. Maybe only at the beginning I was afraid of big crowd, but as soon as I understood that it can be helpful, I started to use this support.

Maybe never I was so impudent on the problems, difficult to explain. The once who saw it will tell you in details.

Thank you my dear public!

P.S.: This box on the photo is my prize 🙂

More about bouldering competitions you can find here.

WC Toronto and Vail 2013

in englishна русском


Here are my impressions from boulder world cups in Toronto and Vail, 2013. Please leave your comments.

How should I start?.. There is something that you shouldn’t know: this is how I was training before Canada and USA. Otherwise you will fell pity for me.

After couple of days of hard trainings with the best trainer in the world (yes, his name is Roman, he is from Slovenia), I felt way better. How else can it be? He puts his whole soul into me. I remember that time with smile. It was like in stone quarry: dust, sweat. Everything is as in a fog…

Finally I had to go over the ocean to collect the medals. I asked Dutch climbing team to join for the trips to Canada and America. Since then I felt myself almost like in the Dutch team. I arrived to Toronto earlier than Vera and Wouter, so I met them in the airport. We took the car and went to the small city Hamilton.

I was excited about next day way more than about competitions: we planned to go to Niagara Falls, which are better to see from the Canadian side. Day was full of happiness and fun. Falls are amazingly beautiful! The water is fresh and falls down so slowly and softly, it attracts you to jump there, maybe mostly because of the warm weather.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

The day of competitions came. Climbing gym is located in very strange place, but everything turned out to be better than we expected. The only thing that influenced the results is the heat and stuffiness. At the end of qualification the weather became cooler and guys were climbing better (yes, it happens as well). Without much effort I’m in semifinal. Vera is also in semifinals; she is very happy and infects me with this happiness. You became one team when you are happy for each other. But there is very tough next day, everyone should be prepared. Competition becomes more difficult, you have to put more effort than is necessary for a route to calm your mind and fell secure. I know this is not the most right way!

Fight and again fight, public is extremely supportive, I bear and do what I can. And I’m in the final! I felt relief, already couple of competitions were not going well for me. I already started to feel myself wrong. You know this feeling, when couple of times you made a mistake and you don’t want to try again? Because then you will have to explain to everyone that your mistake was just an accident. I decided to behave as real American: don’t give up and try again and again. Maybe you know that initiative is encouraged in USA.

With this optimism I came to the final, but I already forgot how to compete in finals: made lots of silly mistakes. After finals I made 5 pull ups on each hand, there was no fatigue at all. Here are my conclusions: I left battlefield with intention for revenge.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

And again, public was aggressively supportive. Sometimes athletes were fallen down under this pressure. Sean was very good! But the most supportive for me were words from Wouter: “Davai davai Rustam!” He was saying it with strong accent and very positive intention.

New training started right after the competitions. I came to the hotel and made small training. Next day we were already in Vail. At morning we went to Boulder for the nice training before the next world cup. Crowd, long routs, talking…

Already from the first day in USA I lost my dream about cabriolet. We rented very modern cabriolet: it was windy and uncomfortable, especially for passengers.

Couple more training days, Vail is very nice and hospitable. I should remind you that Vail is located in mountains; you feel the height especially while training. Not enough of oxygen, you may feel dizzy. I was prepared for that, it is my 4th time in Vail! I was training endurance; that should help.

Let skip unimportant parts: qualification and semis. Finals! I’m ready as never. I always remember Russian fairy tale, when strong man wanted to put stake into earth so he can put it upside down. I was feeling the same way. I thought, if I couldn't do the route, no one will be able to do it. Apparently it was exactly like that.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

Dutch team and me went to the real American adventure next day: horse riding over the rocks and hills. Since then I like horses much more. We went to do some shooting in the second part of the day and my dream came true. I was shooting from big and heavy revolver, as in cowboy’s movies.

Thanks to Vera and Wouter for such nice adventure. Thanks to public for support!

Who else should I thank? Of course Roman! More than 50% of the result – his work. And 30% of my power was added by Dmitriy’s presence.

At the end, I’m not that strong 🙂 But that was enough to leave with silver medal and be ahead from other by 2 routs. Notice, it is final!

More about competitions you can read here.

Interview with Dutch climbing magazine

In December on my way from USA to Asia I spent 1 day in Eindhoven. Besides packing I had 2 appointments: interview with Bart van Raaij from the Dutch climbing magazine Block  and photoshoot with Bram Berkien. Photos from the photoshoot were printed together with interview.

Rustam Gelmanov, Рустам Гельманов

• What makes you happy?

Eating ice-cream every now and then! You must not force yourself to do anything. If you do, it will go wrong. Every day I try, where possible, 'to live in the moment '. If I’m completely in the 'now', and I’m not thinking about the past or the future, then at that moment there are no problems. And I derive a great deal of strength from that feeling. It’s also important that you see that the way to a result is what matters and that the result itself is far less important. In the end there’s very little difference between winning and losing.

This interview was published in Dutch, you can read the English translation is below. Hope you will enjoy it.