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We interviewed Jesús Muñoz

Hi Chuchi! For us it's a pleasure to have this interview with you as we're sure our followers will be keen to hear more about you and your projects, thank you very much for your time and dedication.

Let's start!

Interview Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at 'Bindu' 8a
Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at "Bindu" 8a+

What does climbing mean to you and when did you start off in the sport? From when you began up to now, how would you describe your development?

I started climbing as an adolescent, when I was 16. My father was the one who introduced me to the scene and I did my first rock climbing outings with him. I started doing the sport more and more and that's how I discovered climbing was my biggest passion. Since then I haven't stopped travelling, either to discover new climbing areas or to go on enjoying the ones I already know.

Your name is Jesús but you call yourself “Chuchi” on social media. How did that happen and why?
A lot of people ask me that, but it's not a mystery... In Salamanca, and in other northern cities, it's quite common for people called Jesús to be nicknamed "Chuchi".

Interview Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at 'Helicoptes on Beaches' 8b
Jesús Muñoz at "Helicoptes on Beaches" 8b

When you're getting ready for a new project, do you do any kind of training beforehand? If so, what do you do?
As a general rule, I like training to improve in different styles although I have sometimes trained specifically for a particular route or bouldering climb.

Over the course of your career you've been involved in several disciplines. If you had to choose... routes or bouldering?  Why?
My early days were always tied to a rope but it's true that in the last few years I've focused more on bouldering, partly because in Salamanca, where I live, it's easier to practise this kind of climbing. I try to keep away from the stereotype of being a boulder or route specialist as I'm really just a climber who loves climbing, so I'd choose both.

Interview Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at 'Le petit morte' 8b
Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at "Le petit morte" 8b

You climbed “El Dorado” a few months ago. What was the experience like and how would you describe this route?
El Dorado is a route with few movements and although it could be classed as a bouldering route, it also demands strength and toughness to be able to wire the route. The particular feature of this route is that, from the first move to the final push there's no respite, so the difficulty lies in making one move after another until you get to the end without being too tired to have a real chance of wiring it non-stop. It was a climb in which I invested a lot of time as well as physical and mental effort. Once I'd done it I felt happy and satisfied, but I'm more proud of the journey I took to get there than the actual climb itself.  It was a steep learning curve.

Interview Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at 'Aurora Sit' 8bJesús Muñoz Vaquero at "Aurora Sit" 8b

A knee injury made you rethink your entire bouldering season, how do you cope with something like that? Have you managed to fully recover?
Luckily the injury wasn't severe. I tore my popliteus muscle doing a left heel hook on Soyuz, a boulder climb at Zarzalejo. The good thing is that it's gradually becoming less painful, but the thing was that all the boulders I was doing had the same technical move so I've had to look for new climbs that don't require heel hooks. A good example is the last boulder I did, “Fotofobia” 8B+, which doesn't involve any heel hooks.

Sometimes you use different shoes for your left or right foot, how important are the features on each design for the type of climbing you're doing?
The shoe I use depends on the type of climb I'm going to be doing. For overhangs, because you can't put so much weight on your feet, I like wearing a soft climbing shoe like Synergy, which is more sensitive as it doesn't have a midsole. But, for more vertical climbs or rock faces, I like a harder climbing shoe like the Satori or the Mutant. That's why, either because of the kind of climb, rock type or a more technical move like a heel or instep hook, I've sometimes used a different climbing shoe on each foot. In the end, climbing shoes are your main climbing tool and you have to know which ones to choose and why depending on the nature of the rock and the climb.

Which is your favourite climbing shoe? Why?
I couldn't choose just one, but if I had to pick a soft climbing shoe it would be the Synergy. I find them perfect for overhangs on limestone, sandstone and indoor climbing. As for a harder climbing shoe, I'd choose the Mutant, which together with the Satori is the one I use most on granite. I like how they both respond to edging. Their insteps and heels are the ones that best adjust to my feet.

In the YouTube video Hoyamoros Hard Boulders, you can see different styles and difficulties, but what's striking is the contained emotion of the final highball. Do you think that when you're putting it all on the line, it's not only pure difficulty (the grade) that counts, it's a question of style too?
That's right. I think the difficulty on a risky climb with no rope doesn't depend so much on what grade it's been given but on what style it is. Sometimes it's preferable to have higher difficulty but with a more physical style, rather than a lower grade climb that's less safe, like the final slab on Narsil. The edge there isn't physically difficult, but it does have greater psychological difficulty because you have to tread carefully and grip over the last few metres.

Interview Jesús Muñoz Vaquero at 'Narsil' 8bJesús Muñoz Vaquero at "Narsil" 8b+     


What do you think will happen with Hoyamoros?
It might seem unbelievable but Hoyamoros is currently for sale. I hope that some sort of public institution buys it before a private individual takes ownership of the area. We're mobilising the various communities who enjoy the area to get the support we need and we can get our message across strongly to the various public institutions, so we can get this glacial cirque to be a public rather than a private place.

I know you're involved with an indoor bouldering centre, what can you tell us?
I've been co-founder of a climbing centre called La Ola in Salamanca for around two years now. Over the last two years we've been able to organise events ranging from national competitions like the Spanish bouldering cup through to local events for the whole community. I'm very happy to have been able to give my home city a great resource where everyone can enjoy and get to know this amazing sport of climbing.

Lastly, what does it mean to you to be part of the BOREAL team?
I'm excited to belong and collaborate with a brand that cares about its athletes as much as it cares about its product development. I've been with you for more than seven years now and I hope to continue doing my bit for the brand for a few more.

Thank you very much for your time, we are sure that our followers have found everything you just told us in the interview to be very interesting.

See you soon!