It’s All About The Climb – Abhishek MehtaMay 5, 2017
Hello to all my friends. I am Abhishek Mehta, 22 years old lives in Delhi but originally from Khawa village in Himachal Pradesh. I have spent 9 long years in the field of climbing and still continuing. I am basically a speed climber but i enjoy doing lead and bouldering too. ( In climbing, we have three categories i.e lead, speed and bouldering).
I have always wanted to do challenging things which puts human into some kind of limit and say now you couldn’t do this. And Climbing is exactly what i have been dreamt of. It’s a unique sport. You climb really big rocks, boulders which is hard to even imagine. You challenge your inner strength in every single move while doing climbing and climbing makes you strong from head to toe.
The journey all started when I was in Primary 7, there was an artificial climbing wall built in my school playground. I used to sit near the wall on a daily basis and that was the time when I thought about giving it a try and entered in the world of climbing. I used to practice for about one hour daily and then went to play cricket with my friends. After some time I lost interest in cricket and spent more time on the climbing wall.
In 9 years of my journey, I have seen a lot. These are the important phase of my life. How to survive in your tough time, how to handle the bad and worse, and in your good time how can you get the best. In 2010, when I joined IMF (Indian Mountaineering Foundation), I was in class 10th and totally and completely devoted for climbing ( as I am today. Laughs) . But as we say life is not that easy. I didn’t had had money to go to IMF. Asking money from parents, I usually avoided. That time I used to work for some adventure company as a helper which earned me 250 rupees per day. With this I used to pay the monthly fees of IMF and daily travelling expense and other related expenses.
Slowly I started gaining experience and then I got the opportunity to give climbing training in India’s top schools. Somehow I started managing time for my climbing too. I have actually lot to tell but everything I can’t. But I never gave up in front of unfavourable situation which earned me experience of living my way.
I have been always wanted to be a sport climber. So for that I started playing competitions.
For three years, I didn’t even get past the semi-final round in competitions. In my fourth year, I joined the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and for two years in 2013 and 2014, I didn’t even get past state-level competitions. ( To participate in Nationals you have to qualify from the state competition). I practiced a lot and in 2015, I won the gold medal in speed. This was the turning point in my career to date.
After winning gold in Speed Climbing national competition held at IMF, 2016
© Kopal Goyal
Usually my climbing training session is like 5-6 hours where i do warmup, power endurance and i try few hard moves. After completing this i keep last one hour for my full body workout like shoulder, core, muscle training which helps me to perform in lead, speed and bouldering.
In starting days i had a coach and he was the one who helped me to know what climbing is. Today , i mostly do self-training, sometimes with senior climbers where i learn new techniques, play on tough routes. I do watch lots of climbing videos too. It helps me to improve my way of climbing.
While practicing on lead wall at IMF
© Kopal Goyal
Its very true that you have to practice a lot to maintain the position. Success is incomplete if you haven’t tasted failure in life. In 2016, i won the zonals and got selected to play in lead, speed and bouldering but in nationals i loose in every category. This was real shock for me because i practiced hard. Winning the competition was very important for me so that i could participate in world level competitions. I felt pain deep inside my heart, i wanted to stop at that time. But somehow i managed to move forward to finish some of my projects (to finish some hard routes of India).
I went to Hampi with my friends and then Badami ( both places in Karnataka). These places are like pilgrimage for climbers and people come from around the world to climb on these places). The feeling of getting into big walls, boulders and rocks is thrilling and exciting. One can just feel the rush inside. I get out on rock quite a lot, mostly after finishing national competitions, in the months of December through to February.
Different view from the top
© Kopal Goyal
And I finished Ganesha, Samsara and Badami Killer. These are India’s hardest routes till date and since I have never been to any other country outside of India, it was on top of my to do list to finish these route ad that to in my first ever visit to Badami. I am essentially a speed climber, but I have equal ability in bouldering and lead too. In bouldering I had climbed 8A and my best time in speed is 7.91 seconds on the international wall, so in lead I wanted to achieve a good level in India. This was the motivation for trying Ganesha and other routes. The climb has only seen seven ascents in total, of which the first three were made by climbers from other countries and four including me are from India.
On India’s hardest sport route
© Kopal Goyal
On the very first day when I saw Ganesha which is ( 8b +), I thought I could finish it on my first attempt, but when I saw that the distance of the second move was almost equal to my height I got into trouble and said to myself, no – this is something hard. Being short in height, I struggled a lot to finish this route. I tried it in different ways, it took me four days to get the second move. Other moves were also difficult because they were so reachy and I was getting pumped all the time. Then I thought to divide the route in two parts and did endurance training. Every day I used to come and do 5-6 attempts before and after the 6th clip. I went dynamically for almost all of the moves, even after the crux move. And finally I got the glory of finishing India’s hardest rout Ganesha.
After getting all the moves
© Kopal Goyal
I wish to climb in every part of the world and on the rocks which are meant to be climbed on! I am not good in financial condition to do so. This is the main limitation. Last year I was chosen to participate in the World Championships held in Paris by the IFSC, but for personal reasons I couldn’t participate.
But this is not the end, because I know that the longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you get it because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for.
High on Ganesha, India
© Kopal Goyal
My goal is to get a good World Ranking. I want to compete in every international competition, and especially to participate in the Asian Game and 2020 Olympics and to represent India. I want to achieve a lot in the field of climbing, motivate new generation.
I would like to thank to my family, my friends. Without them I might not have achieved this. They are my strength, keep motivating and never let me feel down.
https://youtu.be/QptN008LNIw ( link of the movie)
‘The filmmaker is Kopal Goyal. When doing Ganesha, it was just the two of us. No one else was there to belay me. So she handled both belaying me and shooting the film at the same time. She was running all the time to place the camera at different angles. At the crag, we struggled with monkeys too while shooting. Most of the areas were their places to sit and play. So sometimes Kopal placed her camera in a good angle and from the moment she put herself back to belay me. She really worked hard to get this on the floor.