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Q&A: The Willpower of Mar Álvarez

Mar Álvarez went to school for economics, audited accounts, and then gave it all up to chase her dream.

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Translated from Spanish to English by the author

training video on how to send 9a and hold a job. How does she do it? Sheer willpower.


Q&A with Mar Álvarez

You have a strong willpower and are dedicated to your passion.I feel like there is an untold story here!

Behind [a] person, there is always a motivation and a history. And my case is no exception.

For many years I did what was supposed to be correct and expected of me, even though that didn’t fulfill me. But a moment arrived that told me that that was not the path I wanted for myself, and I decided to change the things in my life that I didn’t like. I knew that it would not be easy, and that I could fail in the attempt, but I had to try.

Without doubt, it was a hard process because I had to fight a lot, but finally I achieved what I had proposed. This experience has taught me many things: one has to fight [for] what one believes and what they want, and really fight for them. And this is so applicable to climbing, as well as to life in general.

What have you had to sacrifice?

When you dedicate so many hours to something, it is of course at the expense of doing other things. In my case, I have many other hobbies that I have had to put to the side to center myself so much on climbing: horse riding, surfing, swimming, bicycling, motor biking, and helping the prevention of cruelty to animals are just some examples. And also, on account of climbing, I have sometimes abandoned doing more duties in my work, and therefore to make more money.

These small things are not important to me now, because what I obtain in exchange outweighs the sacrifice. Within some years, when I leave climbing and training at this level, I will have time to do all the other things that I love. The important thing is to enjoy what you do in the moment.

What has tested your limits?

In those hardest and most difficult moments there have been doubt. I have had to make decisions that no one else believed [in] and thought were wrong, and have had to fight against wind and tide to be able to carry them out.

It was not easy, because in those moments when you think you cannot do more and would like to throw in the towel, I had no one to motivate me to continue further, and would have to help myself alone from my own conviction and tenacity.

One of those decisions was to prepare myself to be a firefighter; without doubt, it has been the hardest experience on account of what I have had to spend.

What did you do before you a firefighter?

I studied [economics] at Administracion y Direction de Empresas and also [took] a course in account auditing. For some years I practiced as such, but it [wasn’t] fulfilling, so I left everything and prepared to be a firefighter (during this time of preparation, three years, I had to completely leave climbing). And now I work as a firefighter.

How To Climb 5.14d and Hold A Job