Charlie Boscoe have presented and commentated the live coverage of the International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cups since 2016. Now SKALOLAZ.PRO team proudly presenting an exclusive interview with the voice of IFSC livestream.
When you hear “Russia” what do you think about it?
Growing up in England, it's hard to find out much about Russia, and we tend to think of the Soviet stereotypes - military parades, Lada cars and ushanka hats, but now that I've been to Moscow a few times, and have friends who've explored the mountains of Russia, I know what a diverse place it really is. I would love to explore the country more in the future and check out the mountains in Siberia and Kamchatka.
Do you train as a climber now? In what gym?
To be honest, no! I've always loved the adventure of climbing but grades don't really interest me, and as a result, I don't have much motivation for training. I care more about the person I'm climbing with, the quality of the route, and the scenery around me than the grade, so I just climb at my level and I don't really care whether I could climb harder. I do a lot of circuit (Crossfit style) training and I hike, run and bike too so I feel pretty fit in general, but I don't train for rock climbing.
Do you like rock climbing? Where and when did you climb last time?
Of course! I was totally obsessed with climbing from the mid 2000s until the mid 10s and did a lot of rock, ice and alpine climbing in the UK and the Alps, and I also did some mountaineering in the Himalayas, Atlas mountains and the Andes too.
Who and how did invite you to work on IFSC events. Did you have some doubts before you said “Yes”?
I used to work at EpicTV so the IFSC was a logical step for me. They were not advertising for a new commentator but I just kept emailing and calling them until they gave me a job! I didn't really have any doubts but I was obviously nervous, and I still get nervous before every livestream. I think that's healthy - if you're nervous it shows you want to do a good job.
Do you take some gear with you (mic, headphones) when you go to the IFSC event?
I personally don't take anything except my laptop, but the livestream team take 11 boxes of equipment when we fly, and even more when we are in Europe. I don't know how most of it works, just the microphones and my commentary controls!
Do you have favorite partners for presentation and commenting on the World Cups? Who chooses them?
Well, Mike Langley is obviously my favourite because we've worked together for a few years now and we really function well together. If Mike is not there, I always enjoy working with an athlete because I always learn something from them about climbing.
Do you support someone special (maybe just in your mind) when you working on IFSC competitions?
I'm not sure what this question means! Sorry.
What is your favorite climbing discipline to comment? Why?
Speed. There is always something happening and it just feels fast and fun to commentate.
You travel a lot following the IFSC competitions. Is it hard to keep it up?
No, I like the travel. Between 2009 and 2013 I was leading mountaineering expeditions as a job and traveled a lot, so I'm used to it. I like moving around, always being in new places and amongst new people - it stops me from going stale. I hate jetlag and I don't like being away for more than a week, but if the trips are not too long, the travel is great. I love moving around the world, always eating different food, seeing different cultures - it's fun and I'm super lucky to do it.
Do you have friends among commentators in different countries?
Yes, it's always fun to see everyone when I arrive at an event because I generally only see each person once per year when we go to their event.
Which is your favorite World Cup event? In what country and town? Why?
Munich. I love the city, and the crowd is just crazy. Plus the venue is incredible.
Climbing is just a tip of the World Cup event iceberg. Tell something about that part of IFSC events that usually stay behind the scenes – the routesetting, construction work, media and communication. How many people needed to make the WC event?
A lot! There are so many people working behind the scenes at a World Cup that it's crazy. I just try to focus on my job and not get too stressed about what everyone else is doing! I guess one thing people don't realise about the broadcasts is how much work is required to set them up - every cable, camera, computer etc. has to be taken to the venue and then installed. It takes a couple of days to do all that, but obviously when people watch the livestream they just see the TV pictures, not all the work that went into installing the cameras, designing the graphics etc.
You have a lot of communication with the top climbers. Is it hard to make an interview on the competition, when all athletes are under pressure? Are the climbers mostly easy-going, or are they complex to talk with? Maybe you want to say about someone personally?
Generally the climbers are really good to deal with, and I think that because I've been at the IFSC for a while, they trust me. If I say an interview will take 2 minutes, it takes 2 minutes - I don't mess the climbers around and I think that makes them willing to work with me. Also, I pick my moments and only ask questions when it's appropriate - if someone is clearly stressed or emotional I leave them alone.
Did you ever try to climb boulders after the finals of World Cups? Is it possible at all (to test that boulders), or the holds have been removed after the end of the competition immediately?
Yes, I always try to attempt the final boulders, but I've never managed to top any of them!
What are you doing now, when there are not any competitions due to coronavirus? Maybe you find the time to do the things you've been putting off?
I have lots of other work - IFSC is less than half of my work - so I'm super busy with lots of other projects. I'd love to do an online course or try to teach myself a new skill but right now I have lots of work, and not much free time!
Is there anybody among top climbers who you want to talk with (to do an interview) and you did not do it yet for some reason?
Alex Honnold. I'm really lucky because I've interviewed virtually all of my climbing heroes but I've never interviewed Alex. I met him in Chamonix one year and tried to get him to do the co-commentary but sadly he was leaving town just before the livestream so he couldn't do it. That would have been awesome!
Some words about plans for 2020 that are not related to IFSС events and climbing at all?
Well, with coronavirus I guess none of us have any plans! I'll just try to work hard, stay fit and hope that we're free again soon!