Performance and Competition Climber
Thank you to Ajda, for letting us interview her during the Battle of Britain 2018 at the Depot in Manchester on 20th October.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ajda Remškar, Slovenian but have been UK-based for a few years now. I used to compete for the youth team, but that was quite a long time ago. I’m currently an Edinburgh Uni student. I just graduated with my bachelor in maths and I’m now doing a masters in artificial intelligence. I’m a performance athlete for the university and I try to compete as much as possible.
What was your first climbing experience?
I did it as an extra-curricular activity. It was part of my local climbing club, like a kids club in primary school. I think I was around 10 years old. They ran it twice a week for a couple of months to see if you liked it and then you could join the local club with a group of similar level primaries and a coach.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
I didn’t really, it just sort of happened. I used to do gymnastics for 8 years and I did enjoy it but it didn’t seem like the group I was in was really progressing as we kept getting new members. I was just trying a new sport and I think it worked well coming from the gymnastics background. I’m really enjoying the problem solving aspect of it and the diversity of movement; the fact that every boulder problem or route is a new challenge and you get to contort your body into the craziest positions. I’ve been doing bouldering and lead so it adds even more variety to it. For me the main thing that got me sucked into climbing was the social aspect, climbing with a group of people about the same level and pushing each other.
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
I think I’d have to say Santa Linya, the cave in Spain. I had an absolutely amazing week there last year which was my best climbing week so far. Just an amazing area that seemed to suit me quite well with athletic climbing and for the first time felt like I was climbing at my limit on rock. I managed two of my hardest climbs there. Yeah, I was very psyched for that.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
It’ll have to be that week. I did two 8b sport routes, each of them taking me 2 days and 6 attempts each, so it was really quick, and 2 grades harder than what I’ previously climbed. It came out of nowhere as well, seeing I’d only been training for a bouldering comp the week before.
Competition wise I did a contest that’s running parallel to Adidas Rockstars and I ended up winning that last year, so that was just a surreal experience being there amongst the professional, invited athletes. This comp is always incredibly well-run, and I consider it a privilege being able to attend events like that.
What are your ambitions?
I want to climb 8c, I set myself that goal a couple of months ago. I want to do a lot more outdoor climbing, I’ve got quite good at climbing indoors and it was kind of frustrating going outdoors because it felt like I was starting from the beginning and didn’t feel like I could climb as well as I do inside. I think I need a lot of mileage to improve my grades and I want to travel, I want to visit different crags. In terms of indoor climbing I want to do the international university competitions, the ones I’m still allowed to do while I’m still a student and as many comps as I can like this [Battle of Britain 2018] that I can get to. They’re so much fun, I really enjoy the atmosphere.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
Lead, closely followed by boulder (Laughs). I love the continuity of lead climbing, just the fact that you can keep going. The feeling of getting pumped and feeling like you’ve given it everything, you just can’t get it in bouldering. Obviously there are satisfying moves, I love when you stick a jump or a co-ordination move you’ve tried a million times – it’s really satisfying but it’s not quite the same.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
I think at the moment it’d have to be avocado. I only discovered avocado when moving to the UK and I’ve loved eating everything with it. Most hated, hmm, not a fan of celery.
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
Well, as a family we’ve been doing quite a lot of cycling, skiing, outdoorsy stuff in general. In the winter I love going on ski trips and I used to love playing volleyball, but then I sort of gave that up because I was too scared to injure my fingers. But I think it’s great fun.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
I’ve been recently trying to live something along the lines of “Make things happen”. I think I can do what I want to do not the things that life was going to let me do. Get into things that you enjoy, it’s your life you can do it your way.
For more information about Ajda, check out her Instagram feed.
Images courtesy of Ajda, copyright of Mike Mullins and The Depot Climbing, Manchester.