Short bio, few words that define you as an athlete and as a person:
My name is Danai Valsamidi and I am a climbing athlete from a small town in northern Greece called Xanthi. I started climbing at the age of 11, inspired by my older brother Matthaios and immediately fell in love with indoor climbing. Soon I started competing at the National Championships and from 2018 I am a member of the Greek national team. Since then, the road for International Competitions has opened. I participated in several competitions (world cup, european championships, university championship, balkan championships) with more frequency in the last 3 years, while I also started more consistent training. In 2021 I managed to win the gold medal at the Youth Balkan championship in Aydin, Turkey (lead). In 2023 I won my first gold medal in the women category in the National Championship (lead).
My first serious exposure to rock climbing happened during the quarantine at the end of 2020 when the gyms were closed. Followed by a 1.5 year break because of exams but in the middle of 2022 I started becoming addicted to rock climbing. Every day I was thinking about the next weekend in the rocks or planning the next big rock trip. Last year I climbed a lot of 7c-7c+ in Greece (Leonidio,Kyparissi, Ioannina) but also in other places around the world (Antalya, Frankenjura). I have also done some 7b+ on sight, something that I could have never imagined as a child. The dilemma between rock or sport climbing is something that only time will tell us. Now I am more passionate, committed and excited than ever, doing what I love!
When did you first start your discipline?
I started at the age of 11 but more consciously at the age of 18
What do you most enjoy about your sport?
I could write an essay on this question but I will concentrate on the 4 reasons I like it the most. First of all I love that it is a sport where you don’t actually compete with the others but only with the route, the problem and your own limits. In addition you can do it in nature, with nice and supportive people and I think the companionship between the climbers is the most wonderful thing. As a third reason I would include the link between climbing and travelling to find new crags, explore new places and meet other passionate athletes. Last but not least it is a mind game where you have to find solutions in the most creative way while overcoming your fears.
What are your hobbies, profession outside of your sport?
Right now I am studying Sports Science and at the same time I am working in the local gym of the Thessaloniki mountaineering and climbing club, as a coach for our new generation of climbers and athletes. In my free time I do aerial acrobatics, some swimming or hiking, hanging with friends, cooking, going to concerts, theatre or cinema and for sure planning the next climbing trip looking for the best crags, routes and places to visit.
Who or what inspires you?
Of course my team Climbears. Those 4 people have been my climbing buddies since the first day I touched a climbing hold. And till now they climb, cycle, run, and handstand with the same passion as the day we started.
Describe your perfect day:
Wake up in my bf ’s van (he is also a climber), go for some stretching in a nice view point, prepare a tasty breakfast, chill in the sun to enjoy our breakfast, get ready and leave for the crag. Climb there till the sun goes down. Return to our camp place, set a campfire to cook something and then fall asleep by looking at the stars. (I am a summer/spring person so I would prefer 17-22°C)
Achievements & future projects:
My biggest achievement till now is that I do things I love (climbing, travelling, competing). I am very proud of every competition I took part in, each one of them for another reason. In the youth European continental cup in 2022 in Graz and in the World university championship in Innsbruck the same year I was so close to making it to the semi-finals. And this year in the European Cup in Zilina I understood that with more training I am not that far from a great result. In rock climbing I am the kind of person who falls in love with almost every route it tries. But I really remember a 45m 7c+, in a great new secret crag in Ioannina, where I felt awe. And as a sport climber, the feeling i experienced
during my first real multi pitch climb, a 12 pitch climb in the German Alps is something i can never forget.
In the near future I am planning a one month rock trip to Antalya (again) because the winter there is soft and I would call it the climbers heaven (amazing crags, routes, food etc). My dream place to climb is Spain. I have seen so many routes in Siurana and other crags and I am sure that it will be one of my favourite places in the world. Moreover I feel ashamed that I still haven’t visited Kalymnos which is something I will change as soon as possible. I also expect to redpoint a 8a in 2023, and something more in 2024. Lastly I would love to participate in more competitions and events in the whole world, to meet other climbers and gain more experiences and inspiration to keep on climbing.