As an introduction, I must say, that as a child I was very shy and had was without any self-confidence. As a result of this I had no good friends or, even worse, was often teased at school.
I am absolutely sure that it was through climbing that I developed into a different person and my personality changed.
This is a list of my 5 life lessons I gained through climbing:
Through my first victories that came at regional, then national and in the end international competitions, I finally got the confidence that I am good in something and with that followed the confidence of handling various situations and learning new things in life.
Competing in a sport climbing comp in 2002
Even as a member of the local youth team we did climbing trips and I understood that travelling is part of climbing. Through climbing you can visit the world!
As it happened, I was sometimes the only one from my region that qualified for international youth competitions, and at an age of 16, I travelled alone by train to reach the other athletes in the bigger cities.
I started travelling with friends to different climbing areas all over Europe and then I started to participate at Ice climbing World Cups, which led to more and more travelling.
Thanks to my coach, my friends and my partner, I learned many tips and tricks you need; from the cooking of coffee on a camping gas stove to applying for Visas at foreign embassies, changing flights in the biggest airports and finding my way to the most remote of places.
Angelika with best friend Barbara during route preview at an ice climbing world cup competition
At school I didn’t have good friends and was terrorized by the thought of what other people were thinking about me!
When I started climbing, suddenly there were many other kids that shared my passion, and with whom I would train, travel, compete and have lots of fun.
I understood that in life I wouldn’t be friends with every single person I was going to meet, but there was no need for that. Through climbing I made friends all over the World and climbing gave me friendships that will last a lifetime.
Obviously, there haven’t been only victories in my career – there have also been many failures.
Competitions that went bad or routes I couldn’t climb. There have been moments where I cried heavily and was disappointed with myself or with that situation that caused the failure. But my passion for climbing and the will of going on and becoming better was always stronger than the disappointment.
I learned that in the beginning of every failure there was the desperation, then there would come the anger and then the will of trying again and after that comes back the happiness, remembering all the positive and so looking forward to another chance of giving my best.
As a child, my favourite sentence was: ‘I’m not able to do this’. I simply had no confidence in myself in learning something new.
When I started to train and to work on my weaknesses in climbing, I saw that by trying hard, by training, by investing time and effort I became better. This gave me the confidence of accepting new challenges with a positive mind.
Climbing gave me freedom, both physically and mentally
I hope that by sharing my 5 life lessons that it helps or inspires someone to give climbing a go. If you are like me it might hit a passion point and it might just change your life.