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The Mountain Man

Interview for Gate - Magazine for English-laguage students A1-A2 level

Marek Holeček climbs all around the world. He has been to the Himalayas, where he stood 8,000 meters above sea level. He has also climbed in South America and even in the Antarctic. He loves mountains and will never stop exploring. He is a real mountain man!
Auburn Scallon (USA), Zuzana Sklenková (ČR)

Marek Holeček
Marek Holeček

How did you start climbing?

When I was four and a half years old, I climbed everywhere. Once, I fell from a tree onto my father’s car. My father wanted to teach me to climb safely, so we started climbing with ropes in the mountains. After that, I just continued doing it.

What did you learn about fear when climbing?

Fear is a healthy thing in life. It is best to listen to it, but it shouldn’t stop you. It is important to use it to your advantage.

Is mountain climbing a sport?

It is more of a lifestyle. Rock climbing is not a pure sport. You can’t measure it like cycling or bouldering or other sports. It mixes physical and psychological skills. Also, when I climb, I can’t just walk away from the mountain when I don’t like it. I have to get back down.

How do you find the mountains you want to climb?

I look at books and pictures, but not just climbing books. I went on my first expedition because I saw a photo of the Himalayas. We didn’t get to the top that time, but the trip helped me decide to start rock climbing.

Can you prepare yourself for bigger mountains in other countries by climbing in the Czech Republic?

Absolutely. You can practise climbing techniques and psychological strength on the beautiful sandstone walls in the Czech Republic. There are lots of them. It is also important to try some medium-height mountains, like the Alps, before you try the Himalayas.

What are the problems that climbers face in the big mountains?

The climate is very different. You get thirsty and lonely, and you can’t sleep very well when you want to. Plus, at high altitudes, climbers lose muscle: about 0.75 kilograms per day. After you get back, you need three months just to feel normal again.

Where are you going to climb next?

I am planning to climb Mount Darwin in South America, which is hard to reach. But I would also like to go to Baffin Island near Canada. And I always like going back to the Himalayas.

What advice can you give to teenagers who want to climb?

Do what you like to do. If it’s climbing, that’s great.


May 2013 Talung, the East Himalayas, 7,348 m 7 days of Alpine style plus vertical climbing

Zdeněk Hrubý
Mountaineer Zdeněk Hrubý (He climbed 8,000 m mountains. Sadly, he died in the Himalayas in the summer of 2014)

Alpine Style
Climbing in a small group and carrying your own food, tent and things that you need. As Marek Holeček said: “Basically you take a backpack and start climbing.”

Expedition
You use camps on the mountains as a starting point for your expedition. This style includes using ropes and the help of sherpas.

Equipment
There is a lot of equipment such as carabiners, ice axes, etc. But the most important thing is the person who climbs with you.

Gate December | 2014 11


Gate - Magazine for English-laguage students

Gate - Magazine for English-laguage students

Gate - Magazine for English-laguage students

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