Spartan minded folks uncover
the places they love most.
Who: Igor Alves + Fabricio Yamamoto // Work as: Consultant at WAES // Favorite place: Boulderhal Sterk in Utrecht
Flanked by Fightclub XL and some derelict old warehouses there shines a warm light through an open door. Cheery, nondescript music wafts through the outside air luring you in. Once inside you see walls covered in bouldering grips and people hanging of off them, finding their way to the top.
On the ground there are groups of people edging the climbers on. It ends in either cheers and applause or applause and sympathetic ‘aaah’s’. This is Boulderhal Sterk in Utrecht, where you can find WAES’ software engineers Igor Alves and Fabricio Yamamoto three times a week. And admittedly you can find more WAES’ers here, because the two Brazilians have gotten more of their colleagues enthused about bouldering.
Fabricio (27) already dipped his toes in the wonderful world of climbing in São Paulo, with lead climbing and a touch of bouldering. But once he relocated to Utrecht in November 2021, he soon picked up and is now adamant to grow and evolve in this particular sport. Igor (24), also from São Paulo, only climbed trees as a kid. Then a friend took him to Sterk and Igor was sold on the bouldering.
Getting in shape
Their goal is to come and boulder three times a week. Fabricio: “I want to get better at it and it’s good for getting in shape.” Igor adds: “It helps me to take my mind off work. I’m also a bit competitive, so it challenges me to try and get better, to do more difficult routes. It’s like solving a puzzle with your body. You have to find your way to the top and everyone takes a different route, even though we use the same colored grips.”
When comparing bouldering to software engineering, both Fabricio and Igor agree the latter is more tricky. “Maybe here you know how to do it, but you know you are not flexible or strong enough. Then you can train. A difficult route is something you try five or ten times. With software engineering that is more tricky. More attempts means more risk of failure”, says Igor.
The colors of the holds determine the difficulty of the route to the top. The two agree that the yellow routes are almost impossible. But they’re their common next goal. The white routes are the most difficult. Fabricio: “They’re a distant goal. Only people who have done this for years can do it. Upstairs you can train grips and feet positioning to get better. There is also a regular gym type room to improve fitness.”
The routes change every week. “On Monday you see many people come in to check out the new routes. And after you’re done you can have tosti’s here. They’re the best. The pizza is good here too, but the tosti’s just hit differently”, insists Igor.
The Boulderhal has become a favorite spot for the Brazilians. They were quick to ask more colleagues from WAES to join them. Dutch friends are harder to find. Bouldering is a good way in, but often contacts remain superficial.
Asked what they like most about bouldering, especially at Sterk, Igor and Fabricio are in agreement of two big bonuses. Fabricio: “I like the feeling of improvement. You go in one day and can’t climb a route. And then you come in the next day and you manage.”
Igor nods in agreement. “And when you’re done and tired, you sit here in the back area and just have conversations. And great tosti’s. And a couple of nice beers.”
This is an article from The Spartan, a magazine by WAES.
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