Michaela Izakovičová

Miška is from Slovakia but spends much of her year travelling to find the lines and projects that inspire her. You’re just as likely to run into her in Yosemite, Chamonix, or at Chulilla as you are on her local crags. One of the most motivated rock climbers you’ll meet she’s as comfortable on big walls as on sport routes...  

Sometimes I wish I started climbing when I was a kid, but who knows, maybe I wouldn't have liked it much if I did. What I know for sure is that I alway wanted to be an athlete. Not a competative athlete, who is under pressure most of the time and has to train for certain competitions. I wanted the freedom and joy of doing what I love full time. Climbing has given me all I’ve wanted and it has totally caught my heart.


I discovered climbing when I was 21 years old. I started outdoors and even though I was really weak, I could climb quite well from the very beginning. Thanks to climbing being such complex sport I could have gotten pretty far without any specific training. What I always loved about climbing is it’s very intense demand on focus and body awareness which forces us to live here-and-now. This is what makes me feel alive. I really value efficiency, not only in climbing but also in everyday life, and I like the challenge of doing everything as efficient as possible.


I do all types of climbing from limestone sport climbing to big-walls, sandstone boulders to granite walls in the Alps, cracks to tufas, and from slabs to overhangs. Literally everything one would call rock climbing. For me the most inspiring of all that are big-walls and impressive looking lines, like crack systems, corners, aretes or lines of tufas. I feel very lucky and priviledged to have tried it all.


The most amazing thing for me, is to be lying on portaledge in my sleeping-bag hundreds of meters above the ground watching stars and thinking about the climbing that is waiting for me on the next day.

The routes that mean the most:

Freerider - 5.13a, 1000m (PP), El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California (2018)

This route is so far my greatest climbing achievement, I climbed it together with my at that time boyfriend Ivo. It was our long-term goal and we both free-climbed all the pitches. It was first and so far the only Slovak free ascent of El Capitan.

Westie Face - 5.13a, 300m (PP), Leaning Tower, Yosemite Valley, California (2019)

Amazing and super steep route on Leaning Tower, the most overhanging multi-pitch I have ever climbed. I did it with my friend Max from Chile. We climbed it over two days and we both redpointed all pitches.

Brid Klina - 7c, 350m (RP), Aniča Kuk, National Park Paklenica, Croatia (2015)

My first hard multipitch, it was kind of a breaking point for me, because it showed me that I am able to climb on my limit even on the wall and go on 150%, which proved to be really helpful with all my ascents later on.

Super Dupont - 7b, 200m (OS) Aiguille du Midi, Mt. Blanc Massif, France (2017)

My so far hardest on-sight in the Alps. I did all pitches 6b+ and harder on lead. I value this ascent a lot because it is in high altitude on iconic south face of Aiguille du Midi and the route itself is really amazing.

Le guerre Sainte - 7b+, 450m (OS) North Nassrani Tower, Wadi Rum, Jordan (2018)

An amazing route in the exotic environment of the Jordan desert. Dark-red sandstone, very sustained climbing and beautiful views from the top.

Hoka Hey 7a+, 800m (OS, in one day) Kjerag, Norway (2018)

My biggest and most exhausting day of climbing. Kjerag is a beautiful granite wall right above the fjord Lysefjorden which is surrounded by up to 1000m walls from both sides. To climb the wall you have to take a boat from Lysebotn and sleep on the shore under the wall. In morning you pack all your things and leave it on the pier so the boat can take them back to the village the next day. Then you have to climb the wall with rest of your things and from the top you walk around 4-5 hours to the parking from which you can either walk 6km down to Lyseboten or take a bus. We started at 6:00 AM from the tent, climbed from 7:00 AM till 11 PM got lost on the way down and walked back to the road all night, slept one hour on the grass next to parking lot and took the first morning bus down to Lysebotn.

The Phoenix 5.13 (RP), Cascade Falls, Yosemite Valley, California (2018)

I am very happy about sending this legendary route. It is one of the world’s most famous cracks and world’s first 5.13 established by Ray Jardine in 1977. Even now The Phoenix belongs to hardest and most beautiful cracks in Yosemite.

Bonatti-Oggioni 6a, 400M (OS) + via Brouillard ridge to the top of Mont Blanc (2021)

My first real alpinism and in pure girls team with my friend Mária. Long and difficult approach, climbing with heavy backpack, bivy in 4470 meters above the sea level and summiting on the top of Mont Blanc.

Five things climbing has taught me:

Failure is part of the game.

Nobody likes failures, neither do I, but now I'm not afraid of them anymore. I know that experiencing failures in climbing and overcoming them is the best way to grow and get better. Our ego often forces us to climb routes that are not quite at our limit, routes we know we can climb. We really like the outcome and we mistakenly think that sending the route make us better climbers, but it's not exactly the truth. The falls and faliures are what make us stronger and better. I've had the opportunity to get to know many climbers over the years and I've found that the best athletes are those who aren't afraid to fail.

The 'never let go' approach is the one that pays of.

I am a fighting kind of a climber who can usually give much more than 100% and so far it has always paid off. I‘ve sent many routes feeling like I was falling on every second move, but I always told myself, just try one more move and one more and it often ended up by clipping the chain.

Self belief

Before I started climbing I didn’t believe in my myself. With climbing I realized quite early, that I will never be able to climb anything if I don‘t believe that I can. So I started to learn how to believe in my abilities, how to tell myself that I am capable of sending my project and it really works. Most of the time when I tell myself that I can climb something, I do.

Fear of falling is my biggest weakness

There are many routes I did not send because of my fear of falling. I am not very proud about it, but people who knew me when I started climbing know, how far I already got. I used to be super scared of falling, didn’t wanted to fall even on top rope and worked hard routes on top-rope at first. I worked really hard to learn how to deal with my fear and it is much better now, but I still see it as my biggest weakness in climbing.

The best climber is the one who is having the most fun

Having fun at the crag and laughing with friends even though I didn’t send my project? Yes, that is the best way to success and happiness. It makes projecting much more fun and makes me a person others like to climb with. Finding joy just in the possibility of being outside and climbing is really important for a good sending mindset.

The Latest from Miška

Miška Izakovičová on making the transition from rock climbing to alpinism on the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard.

 

 

 

When Miška Izakovičová first visited Yosemite in 2012 she’d been climbing for just 2 years. She arrived in the Valley a relative beginner who’d never placed her own gear or climbed cracks, let alone been big walling.

 

For some time, we had been thinking of climbing in the Jordan Desert on the red sandstone walls surrounding the village of Wadi Rum. Until now we did not make it there...

 

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