Dream big and have fun

April 1, 2021 / Posted by Marmot Mountain Europe GmbH

Hey guys, my name is Hannes Puman and I am a climber from Sweden. I am currently spending all my time climbing and training or doing things that circle around climbing. Right now that’s exactly how I want it!

It all started when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I tried indoor climbing for the first time in my local climbing gym. I don’t really remember but my parents told me that the first year or so I was only climbing up and down the top rope walls on the same routes. My mother is still surprised how I didn’t get bored. I met a couple of climbers in my age and we started to climb together. We were three boys and one girl and we climbed, played and did a lot of rope-swings – we were just having fun. My buddies Max and Niklas had been climbing for a longer time than I had and they had already been competing for a while. They wanted me to go to a competition together with them but back then, I was not very interested. I was happy with the way it was – climbing in the gym and sometimes outside.

Somehow, I ended up going to competitions with them and our parents, we competed in regional, national and Nordic competitions. Traveling around Sweden and Scandinavia for climbing sure was fun!

Learning from my brother

I have one brother, Kalle. When we were young, he was also spending a lot of time doing sport. His choice of activity was a bit different; he was deep into the art of archery. He was quite talented and when he entered the Swedish Youth Championship as his first competition, he won it with ease. He competed for many years, broke many old Swedish records and got several medals in both World Youth Championships and European Youth Championships. I don’t think he ever got a bad result. As a younger brother you of course compare yourself with your older sibling. Since I am 2 years younger than Kalle it was not easy for me to keep up with personal development and life in general. Neither was it easy to match his great performances as an athlete. But I was determined I would try. You could clearly see his dedication and that he was putting a lot of effort to improve his skills. I could learn many things from him even though he was competing in a completely different sport. I remember it as he was always on the grind, shooting every day, making small changes on his bow, always training and always winning. I am privileged to have been growing up with Kalle, who showed me the way and what was possible.

Climbing into the world elite

When I became 13 years I was allowed to travel to Edinburgh in Scotland and take part in my first European Youth Cup with the Swedish Junior team. At the time I had already won the Swedish Championship and the Nordic Championship for juniors in both lead and bouldering. I figured this was a natural next step in competitions and expected to do alright. I was completely wrong and ended up among the last. My conclusion from this competition was that I was terrible comparing to these amazing climbers. There was only one obvious thing to do and that was to become better. I was dedicated to get stronger and improve my climbing skills and the current coaches of the Swedish junior team, Nicki Horak and Timo Kero helped me to plan my training.

One year after this rough day I was back in Edinburgh. I was not sure what to expect. To my surprise I made it to my first final in a European Youth Cup, I was in the lead after the qualification and became the runner-up in the finals. The year after I even won the European Youth Championship and again one year after I won the World Youth Championship. These were really happy times!

Climbing is fun – no matter the age or the gender

At this time my training partners Max and Niklas had stopped climbing and I didn’t want my parents to belay me anymore so now I was mostly training with Katrin – another member of the junior team. Katrin has been one of the best training partners I have ever had, she is always supportive and no matter how long or what kind of session we were doing we always did it with full energy! I also got to climb outside with the old guys of the climbing club. We had a great time going on trips or finding, brushing and opening new lines around home. Despite our big difference in age, they would always let me join. They introduced a whole new world to me: outdoor climbing. And this made such an important impact on my climbing career and personal life.

A new Marmot from Sweden

After the happy times during my youth I became a senior in 2017 and that was also the year when I joined the Marmot family – so the happy times continued. But the difference of the proficiency levels is indeed huge. Luckily, I had already attended a couple of World Cups each year since I was 16 when you are officially allowed to compete with adults. I knew what was coming and the transition would be a good challenge!

When I finished high school I took one year off before starting to study at university. It was a wonderful year full of traveling, adventures, training and of course climbing. After that year I moved to Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden to start studying but most of all for the better climbing possibilities, both inside and outside. I started a master’s program in physics and chemistry.

Moving to a new city and combining full time studies, travelling around the world competing in the world cup, training and climbing outside was sometimes tiring. This first year was instructive, it gave me another perspective of life. I realized all these activities were at the expense of my climbing. I started to study at 50% which felt better and like a more balanced way of life. In my current situation I am rather free and my university (Chalmers University) supports me by letting me study at my own pace.

Passion and happiness

The road to my current situation has been frustrating at times and still can be. What has been the most challenging part is neither the climbing itself nor the motivation for training. I always look forward to climb and to train! To travel around the world with the economic budget of a student and unideal training facilities are a couple of obstacles I have been trying to overcome. As an individual it is not easy to create optimal training conditions. At times one can develop a feeling of hopelessness when you are competing against the best in the world and you can’t prepare as well as they can. For me it has been important to do the best out of the situation and focus on my opportunities. When you get caught up with negative thoughts it’s good to remember what matters the most. For me it’s happiness and climbing. My motivation comes from passion and love.

Earlier this summer I became a part of the Swedish Olympic Team. We have a close dialogue and they support me in a suitable way with training conditions, planning the training, training camps, physiotherapy, nutrition advice, economically and so on. Ever since I started climbing all I ever wanted was to climb. I truly feel grateful and happy to have this opportunity I have right now where I can live my dream with the support from the Olympic Team and Marmot. And I couldn’t wish for anything better.

Text & Photos:
Hannes Puman

Hannes Puman
April, 2021
The Send