Bubbling with enthusiasm, bright eyed, and lightly marked with his brushes with adventure Jun Vidal, climbing champion and Push Climbing Chief Instructor gives us the lowdown on life on the wall.
Hometown: Cebu city Philippines
Years climbing: 21 (since 1997)
Climbing level: 7C+ / 8A
What are the best places you've climbed?
Khun Ming, China – for me it's the great (natural) wall of China, I love it for its peace and calm. I would also say Chamonix in the French Alps where I worked for two months training and teaching – it's not just chilled, it's cold which makes it the opposite of my home in the Philippines.
How did you get into climbing?
Climbing runs in our family – my father, and all of my three brothers (I am the youngest) are all into competitive climbing. It's not just my work; for me it's a lifestyle. My dad started the first climbing community in the Philippines, my brother was the first Asian champion and when we were boys we didn't climb trees – our father introduced us to the wall aged six.
I love the fact that my family climbs together.
What's your climbing style?
When it comes to climbing, I have lots of inspiration. The most inspiring person to me is Yvon Chouinard. He's not just an old school dirt bag climber and businessman, but also an environmentalist who cares about preserving Mother Earth.
Any other hobbies?
Oh yes, I love radical sports, triathlon, longboarding, paragliding; and I've got the scars and broken arm to prove it [the broken arm came from motocross, not climbing]. I'll do just about anything as long as it doesn't involve snow – we don't have a lot of that back home.
What's your guilty pleasure?
I love my daughters, boy, and wife but sometimes I sneak off on my own to get a bit of peace and quiet on the wall.
What was your perfect day?
2004 in Singapore. It was a climbing competition and on the day I started feeling sick and it wasn't working for me but thought to myself 'just climb' and I did and at the end when the announced the winners I wasn't on the podium but then they called out my name and said that I had finished as number one in the Asian rankings. So that was my perfect day.
What's playing on your music system now?
Right now I'm listening to Ben Harper,
Who inspires you?
My eldest brother, Ramon Vidal – 52 and still climbing.
What inspires you at work?
My co-workers at Push Climbing, the way they pull together to help me. Pulling together is very much what climbing is about.
The atmosphere, the way that the instructors work with customers, with a safety instructor on duty at all times, as well as the personal instructors. This isn't a place where instructors stand around behind a counter. Safety is key, but in a relaxed way, this is somewhere people come to hang out for a beer. A lot of people come in on their own but leave with new friends.
It's safe, it's helpful, and it's friendly.