Interview: Tom Bolger
Home: La Bisbal De Falset (Catalonia, Spain)
Sponsors: Tenaya, Fixe, Looking For Wild, Mushroom Pads, Climbskin Spain, Korona Boards, Beta Climbing, BlakPad
Image (Left): Tom and girlfriend Gabi with dog Elle
Adam Lincoln (@alincoln79) caught up with friend and athlete Tom Bolger. Whilst Tom keeps his climbing achievements on the quiet side, he’s well-known for his impressive ticklist, with 7 ascents graded 9 or higher in the past year alone.
So you’ve been a resident in Spain for a long time now. How do you find the lifestyle compared to the UK?
The lifestyle in Spain suits me perfect. There’s a huge climbing culture here and a great scene.
You’ve had a few injuries over the years, but seem to be sorted now. What does your training generally look like?
Cheers bud for reminding me! Yeah, man, I’ve had tonnes of injuries and made tonnes of mistakes but I’ve learnt from them and I’m in a better place now to know what works for me. More psyched than ever with 25 years climbing under my belt. Training-wise lots of one arm finger-boarding and one armed pull ups.
What does your top end tick list look like over the last year? Lots back home wont be aware of what an impressive list of 9’s you have accumulated.
The last season without a doubt has been my best so far and I’m incredibly psyched to have been able to bolt and climb new 9as here in Margalef. In the last year I’ve managed these:
Mr perfecto Passat 9a FA
Gancho perfecto 9a+
Víctima perfecta 9a/+
Wild West 9a/+ FA
Frenesi 9a/+ FA
Wild público 9a
Mr big 9a FA
You’ve picked up some good sponsors of late, and it’s great to see you getting some support for your climbing. Do you feel being sponsored changes how you approach your climbing? For example, do you feel it pushes you more to achieve success?
I used to feel pressure from being sponsored but now my approach to it is a form of both physical and mental training. It has allowed me to see it in another light and honestly I now feel that it’s a positive element in my climbing and doesn’t affect me negatively.
You work offshore on the oil rigs the same as me. Do you feel this negatively affects your climbing? I for one don’t feel like getting the fingerboard out after a day’s graft in the North Sea!
Working offshore has given me a lot of good opportunities and a lifestyle that has allowed me to focus on climbing, but it’s true that being stuck on a rig unable to climb is definitely hard!
With this current run of form, do you think you can build on it with 9b and even 9b+. I know Perfecto Mundo is your perfect style. Or are you more motivated towards new routing and sweeping up older bolted projects.
I’ve been trying sections of Perfecto Mundo, and I’ve also bolted a new project which could be 9a or harder. The process of bolting new projects and climbing them is very rewarding.