Sterling Athletes Team

Sílvia Vidal

Athlete Bio

Born in Barcelona, Catalonia in 1970, Sílvia discovered climbing when she was 24-years old, and from that moment onward life was full of surprises.

She quickly became intrigued with big wall climbing, and passionately enjoys spending multiple days moving up, and living on some of the biggest walls in the world. She is especially driven by solo ascents; thriving upon the solitude, silence, and the challenges that she finds on the wall and within the process. Alone, high up on remote walls she lives comfortably on her portaledge, calling it: "A house with a great panoramic view."

Sílvia has climbed in many of the world's most remote regions, repeating difficult routes or completing first ascents in the Himalayan range (India and Pakistan), Mali (West Africa), Baffin Island (Canada), Yosemite Valley (USA), and many others. She is always searching for big walls, but includes international travel as a big part of her adventures.

SHORT TERM CLIMBING GOALS: Baffin Island expedition

SHORT TERM PERSONAL GOALS: Convey the calm and the patience that Big Wall climbing gives to me into my day by day life. When I'm not in the mountains, when I'm in town, and other kind of situations surrounded me, be able to maintain those qualities.

LONG TERM CLIMBING GOALS:  Keep having climbing goals 

LONG TERM PERSONAL GOALS:  Maintain friendships 

Favorite Climbing Areas: Montserrat (Catalonia) and Picu Urriellu-Naranjo de Bulnes (Spain) 

Best day of climbing: As I'm not a sport climber, and as the activities I do are done in many days, I cannot talk about one single special day. Luckily there are many great days.

Your favorite climb: Almost all the expeditions I've done are my favorite climb. For one or another reason. Each one has something different that makes it special.

Why do you like Sterling Rope? semi static ropes; the variety of colors that make things easier in a big wall, where there are lots of ropes everywhere

This last summer, Youri Cappis (from Switzerland but living in Catalonia) and I went to the East face from Huascaran Norte (Cordillera Blanca, Peru).  This last years I've been climbing some solo ascents and sometimes also with climbing partners, but this time it was something different. And it was a different experience because it was the first time that I've been in a wall ascent with someone that has no idea about big wall climbing. Youri use to climb (sport and some traditional climbing) but he had never been in really high altitude and the first time he had use ice axes was at 17th pitch. There! Also no idea about jumars, portaledge... So, it was a different experience. Really positive and sometimes hard. He wanted to come to help as much as he could and also to enjoy and experiment what means to live in a wall during days, in height and without any connection with "civilization". We didn't have radio or phone with us, and nobody at the Base camp. From 23rd July to 9th August, after 7 days carrying up all the stuff, acclimatizing and fixing the first 200 meters of the route, we moved onto the wall, and spent there 18 days, no descending. This had been a really bad season in Peru, although we had some sunny moments, almost always we had lot of fog and some snow. That's why we called the route "Entre boires" (in Catalan means more or less "Inside the fog"). There was an intense cold that froze our water bottles, and that caused some troubles with our feet, hands and nose. So, during several days, Youri was resting at the portaledge when I was climbing (soloing) the pitches. During all the activity he helped with the gear carries, cleaning some pitches and helping during the haulbags hoist and rappels. And I really appreciate it. The intention was to climb the wall (a rock triangle) and then continue to the top. But it was not possible to reach the summit because of the weather, the ice conditions and basically because it was too difficult to return to the portaledge. Not so difficult to go up but to rap down. Because we were climbing in capsule style and we must return to Wall Camp 3 to descent with the haulbags, the same route. And the way to the top was a labyrinth.

I didn't thought it was a good idea to keep going. So... It took us two days and a half to rap down the route. Because of the traverses, the ice sections and the roofs.  About the route: There's a first part with many roofs that we should avoid or climb through. The middle part, with snow and ice until 80º, was very laborious when hosting and rappelling with haulbags. And there is a final wall very overhanging and with very changeable rock quality; really good or really bad. But here the route's way is very direct. The access to the wall is pretty dangerous because of the avalanches from the serac in between the two Huascaranes.  But the route is pretty safe because of the big roofs and the overhangs. Last day a small condor came to the Base Camp (5.200m.) it was like a present for our goodbye from the mountains.  

The last book you read? The collector of worlds (Iliya Troyanow)

 Your favorite book/story?  The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel) 

Your favorite bands? Not a concrete one

List 5 favorite movies? I don't have a movie list. 

Your favorite types of music?  Spanish music

Other sports/activities you like to do? (Other than climb) Before starting to climb I used to practice all kind of sports (I studied PE -Physical Education-, at the University) and before it I was practicing athletics (since I was 7 years old). Then, when I "discovered" climbing (I was 23) I quit everything else...Anyway, I enjoy all kind of sports in relation with nature. I practice ski.

What do you feel is you best accomplishment (other than climbing)?  To try to live without a routine 

Your favorite beverages? Tea, all kind and anytime 

One favorite personal quote?  "Why not?"

What do you want to do in the next 5 years?   Uff! I really don't know what I want to do in the next 5 days...

Where do you want to be 5 years from now?  I want to be still here!

Visit Sílvia's web page.

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