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Interview with Jacopo Larcher, Professional Rock Climber

Since the first day of his career, Jacopo Larcher is not afraid to move out his comfort zone and is looking for more challenging routes. I talked with Jacopo Larcher about his career and I asked his opinions and experiences about the importance of individual sponsorship in rock climbing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Paolo Sartori

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Paolo Sartori


by Meryem Aksoy

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Jacopo Larcher was born in 1989. South Tyrol, where he was born and grew, is the start point of his vertical career which has begun while Jacopo was at the age of ten. At the beginning of his career, he decided to dedicate himself to the competitions and after his success at the 2010 Italian National Championship, he has turned his way to the outdoor climbing. Since then, whether it is Multi-pitch, Big Wall, Tradclimbing or Sportclimbing, he has been climbing on hard routes such as Odyssee - Eiger, The Path - Lake Louise, and La Rambla - Siurana. I had the chance to interview Jacopo Larcher and I asked to learn about his career and his opinions on the importance of individual sponsorship in rock climbing.

Jacopo, you have been climbing since you were 10 years old. How did you discover the climbing passion that takes you to the rocks? Who or what encouraged you?

I started climbing in a gym in my hometown when I was 10 years old. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the mountains with my parents, but I had never climbed before. One day a friend asked my father if I wanted to take part in a climbing course for kids… and I immediately accepted. It was love at first sight!

I don’t think anyone has ever pushed me, but over the year I’ve met a lot of people who have helped me and supported my passion.

Jacopo Larcher

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Paolo Sartori

Could you tell us about yourself? Who is Jacopo Larcher?

Jacopo is a shy person, who always needs to move and do something. He loves to travel with his van, to be outside in the mountains and to drink coffee. When he doesn’t climb he likes to ski, run and play around with his camera. He grew up in South Tyrol, but he moved to Austria when he was 19 years old, where he still lives.

You are describing each your climbings as an Adventure. How do you decide to start a new adventure?

I wouldn’t call each climb an adventure, but the most memorable yes. I love climbing and I always need to do something, so it’s normal for me to start a new adventure every time I finished one :) I just follow my motivation.

What was your biggest achievement?

I always say my biggest achievement is the moment in which I decided to follow my passion. Climbing-wise is probably free climbing “Magic Mushroom” on El Capitan (Yosemite).

Jacopo Larcher

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Francois Lebeau

What are your favorite and dream routes?

My favorite routes are probably “Magic Mushroom” (Yosemite), “Delicatessen” (Corsica), “Bookcake” (Cadarese) and “Specchio di Sara” (Marmolada)… but it’s hard to make a list, as every route is somehow special. At the moment my dream route is a project I’m working on in Cadarese (Italy).

What does climbing means for you?

For me climbing means freedom. It’s a way to discover the world and to express my self.

What is the best way to attract sponsors' attention?

I guess back in the days it was just about climbing hard. Nowadays it’s important to be able to communicate well what you do, being active on social media and fit in the image of a certain brand.

What contributions do sponsor brands provide climbers?

They mostly provide climbers gear and/or a financial support for the year or for some specific projects. They help the sponsored climbers to produce content and they increase their visibility through their channels.

Jacopo Larcher

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Francois Lebeau

What do sponsors expect and demand from climbers?

I guess first of all they expect them to work professionally. They should represent the image of the brand in the best way, inspire people with their content and achievements, be active on social media, take part in events, help developing new products with feedbacks and ideas, ...

In your career, when did you first attract sponsors' attention? How did you do this?

Back in the days when I was competing in the youth cups. I guess it was because of my climbing… there wasn’t IG at the time ;-)

Could you tell us about your sponsors and partners? What are the brands that you collaborate with?

My main sponsors are The North Face, Black Diamond, and LaSportiva. I’ve been working with these brands for many years and I especially appreciate the mutual trust and the policy of these brands. La Sportiva was my first sponsor: I’ve been part of their family for 15 years! I also collaborate with Vertical Life, FrictionLabs, and the Katadyn Group.

How many different platforms do you represent your sponsors throughout the year?

Besides my climbing, I represent my sponsors through slideshows, social media, web, and printed medias, events and trade shows.

Jacopo Larcher

Jacopo Larcher - Photo by Francois Lebeau

What are your expectations from your sponsors and partners?

I expect them to be fair with me, work professionally and maintain the right balance between events and personal projects.

What are you paying attention to when a new brand contacted you about sponsorship?

The policy and philosophy of the brand, their expectations, the products.

What are the main factors that affect the beginning and continuity of successful sponsorship?

Trust, clarity, professionalism, partnership.

Do you have any advice for climbers who want to pursue a professional career?

Don’t let the business take over your passion and always follow your line.

What do you think about social media? How did it affect the popularity of rock climbing?

I don’t think social media have increased the popularity of rock climbing. Climbing is getting more and more popular, but I guess that's due to the increase of the gyms; they have made our sport more accessible for the people. Social media have definitely changed the marketing strategies of the brands and the work of the athletes. They are very efficient platforms for sharing content and reach out to the people, both for the athletes and for the brands. The downside is probably the fact we always feel the need of posting something, even if the content isn’t great. Before athletes used to share just their main achievements (through videos, magazines, slideshows, …) and now they also have to share their daily life. Is that a good thing?

How can our readers follow you?

I guess the easiest way is to follow my IG account (@jacopolarcher). If they would like to know more about my self and what I’ve done, they can visit my website.

What is next for you?

I’m leaving for a trip to Yosemite on the 10th of November, where I would like to try to free climb the iconic “The Nose” on El Capitan together with my girlfriend. The last weeks I’d been working on a hard trad climbing project in Cadarese (Italy), but I had to postpone it until next season because of the bad weather.

Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?

Go, climb a rock!

Thank you Jacopo for this enjoyable interview.

For more information, please visit the website of Jacopo Larcher