“The water digs nice holds in it because it’s so soft.” An interview with a seven-year-old sandstone climber

25. 01. 2021, Michal Sylla

What is your name?
My name is Viktor. And I’m seven years old.

Viki, how long have you been climbing?
Since I was about four years old.

Do you know what it means when someone “bails from a route”?
That means you just could not finish the route.

They say you have bailed from a route recently. How did it happen?
Well, it happened to me because I came there and chose that route, because it was sort of the easiest one that was around there. And then I started climbing, and I was climbing and climbing… until I got to that spot which was simply the hardest. I had enough energy, I was climbing slowly, and then when I got to that spot it was just too hard for me. So I had to abseil down but I told myself that I had to try it again.

Did you give it another go?
Well, dad told me that we were going for a swim, so we went for a swim. It was in Austria, the sun was shining, so I climbed on my dad’s back and dad was swimming with me, and I was kicking my feet. But then I went down and something happened but I didn’t notice. Because when dad got me out of the water, I saw that my little finger was bleeding. “Dad, I’m bleeding from my little finger,” I called. I had two little cuts by shells – we found out. So then I couldn’t wear my climbing shoes anymore, and we had to go home and we saw some sowbread and houseleek growing along the way.

Where was it?
I don’t remember exactly, somewhere near Traunsee, around, how should I put it… for example 26 kilometers from the town.

And do you know the grade of that route?
Hmmm, wait, yeah, 3b. It was simply the easiest route which was there. There were three same routes, you see, so I just picked one.

Who lead the route?
My mum.

Have you ever climbed a route that you liked a lot?
I climbed a route on the “Mumie” tower and then another one that I liked a lot. There was a book up there and dad wrote there: “Viktor and mommy and daddy.”

Where was it?
Somewhere, yeees, how should I… Sand rocks. Sandstone. Near Sněžník. Yeah, in Tisá! And I climbed a chimney route there, it was quite easy, and the chimney was just terribly good. I climbed it in a bit of a weird way. At first, I tried leaning my back against one side with my feet on the other one, but I couldn’t reach there and I would have fallen. So I had to put my hands and feet like this in between the walls and I had to make small steps but then I made it to the top and it was just so good.

Where do you like climbing most: on sandstone or in the mountains?
On sandstone or in the mountains? Definitely on sandstone because sandstone is just so washable by water, that the water digs good holds into it, because it’s so soft – and then I can climb up there and really enjoy it. But in the Alps, I like that I could walk among cows and there was a giant bull… But now you have to excuse me I have to run now and catch a butterfly.

Viktor on tower Krtek (Mole), Ostrov, the Czech Republic (f: Michal „Sysel“ Sylla)

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