In a 2016 interview with 8a.nu, Sachi Amma described how his motives for climbing had changed. He didn’t just want to continue competing or climbing hard routes. Prior to that interview, he had already earned seven World Cup gold medals, bouldered up to V15 and sent one 9b (5.15b), Fight or Flight.
“I can not find any value to be a better person by comparing myself with other climbers… In my case, I had strong beliefs that I am the tiniest concept of myself. I needed to cover this weakness by doing amazing things (winning comps or climbing hard) but I noticed that you will never be satisfied by being better than the others. Because the essential problems are just covered and they are still there,” he said in the interview. Instead of seeking hard routes, Amma gave back to the climbing community in Japan. In 2018 he created Soul Mate (9b), Japan’s hardest route.
Amma is now 30-years-old and, despite his focus being on creating new lines, he’s continued to climb at the highest level. On March 25, he made the fourth ascent of Stoking the Fire (9b). Stoking the Fire is located in Santa Linya, Spain and was originally established by Chris Sharma in 2013. Amma spent 10 days working the route in late 2018 and then returned to Japan for a three-month training cycle. Upon returning to Santa Linya it took him 10 additional days to clip the chains.
Rock and Ice caught up with Amma to learn more about his current motivations and future plans. Check out the interview below!
Q&A with Sachi Amma
What made you want to try a hard, established line again? Why Stoking the Fire?
It started in a very natural way. I didn’t decide anything. I simply met the project and got into it. It may looks that I came back to the same thing (climbing hard) from outside. But it is completely different to me with all the discovery and learning I went through during the past a few years.
Last trip to Santa Linya in December of 2018, I was there to support my Japanese best friend’s dream of “sending 9a”. He was my coach when I was competing. So this trip was basically for all the support he gave me. I didn’t have any goals or ideas to climb something special. I checked Stoking the fire with little interest and it was a lot of fun! I slowly went into the route. At the end of the trip, I had very good try on the route. Then I decided to come back to climb it. (My friend also couldn’t finish his project so it was good to come back together!)
What was your mental and physical approach to projecting the route?
Physical side, I try to know what I need for the route. If you prepare well, it will help my climbing a lot! This time, I mainly trained for power endurance with boulder circuit or body tension and finger strength on rings and finger boards (campus boards too). Actually it was necessary to train my pure endurance more. This lack of preparation made all the story harder. But definitely the hard fight on Stoking is what I needed to experience.
Mental side, I didn’t do anything. Simply I kept observing my inner changes through all the process.Here is one interesting discovery. When I slowly got stronger in the gym, I could find in myself that my self-confidence in social situations (climbing gym, working, SNS or on rock) got stronger. I could feel the power to influence growing of the social situations. It was good to know that my self-confidence depends on my physical ability and my climbing performance. This confidence is very fragile. Once I get weak, it disappears. I can’t do anything when I get old.
What are your takeaways?
I learned that there is no issue in climbing hard, style or grade itself. Everything is starting on my side. This is just little difference of point of view but big to me.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I will try trad climbing this summer. I am planning to go to Squamish this summer. So I will climb a lot in Mt.Mizugaki and Ogawa next May, June and July.
What are your long term plans?
I would like to keep seeking deeper in this way. It is for myself but the theme I am facing is connected to everyone.