Angy Eiter is an Austrian professional climber.
Zushan Hashmi: How did you get involved in the sport?
Angy Either: I started climbing at the age of 11 in a sports-related school.
When did you decide to turn professional and take it seriously?
It happened by chance, to be honest, because I won several competitions and it was inevitable that I follow a pro-climbing career.
Did you have the necessary support systems around you? If so, who were they?
At school, we had two sessions of climbing training per week. The climbing gym in Imst was known to be one of the best at that time. Additionally, the climbing scene was set up quite well with engaged trainers.
You dominated the lead circuit competitively for a significant period of time. What would you say is the highlight of your indoor career, if there was one?
My first international victory at the Rock Master 2003, the victory at the European Championship 2010 in my home region, Imst, after the bad shoulder injury and my last World Championship victory in Paris in 2012.
What’s interesting is that you had started climbing outdoors regularly well after you had won several Golds at the World Cups, why did it take you so long to get out and do this?
I couldn’t combine competitions and outdoor climbing, because I attended an economic-based education and had a lot of meeting with press and sponsors.
My schedule was tough and didn’t leave time for other interests.
And a handful of years later, in 2017, you became the world’s first female to climb a 9b route, the La Planta de Shiva, could you tell me a little bit about that?
Actually, I didn’t focus on climbing a route of that level. It happened spontaneously when I climbed the first pitch of La Planta de Shiva. My husband, Bernie, encouraged me to try out the whole route.
As you started climbing more outdoors, your competitive career reduced, do you think this was a natural progression, or were you more interested in climbing outdoors?
I follow bolted routes, not really traditional routes, where I have to put the gear in the rock by myself.
The Injuries eventually accumulated (shoulder surgery, elbow inflammation, back pain etc.) and I wanted to spend more time climbing outside with my husband before injuries eventually become even worse.
And how was this transition in terms of skill transfer and using the abilities you had from competitive climbing, outdoors?
The competitions provided me with discipline and focus, skills I need for the hard route outdoor.
Would you say this has been the toughest route that you have climbed to date?
La Planta de Shiva was by far the hardest route I have ever tried and climbed.
What sort of training goes into it for you?
I follow my internal needs now and I don’t focus on training plans anymore.
Once a year, I do strength exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and functional training on rings, for instance, for about 4-6 weeks. Primarily, I focus on climbing in gyms or rock and try the routes which my next climbing trip requires.
How has the sport changed in Austria, from when you started?
For athletes, competition, training and administrative work became much more professional. Media attraction and financial support increased.
Concerning the public, climbing gyms are often used as an alternative to fitness gyms and the number of people starting climbing in- or outdoors has increased.
What do you think of the current Austrian climbers? Who are some of the best in your opinion?
We have plenty of strong athletes in Austria and a great climber community. Therefore, I don’t want to mention single athletes.
What do you say to young women and athletes who want to get involved in the sport?
Get a taste of climbing first with a climbing instructor, and then go slowly step by step.
What do you have coming up in the future, once we are all back outdoors and climbing regularly?
I want to climb different routes in different countries whatever I feel like.