Last spring I went to Finland, where I had the chance to spend some time with the climber Anthony Gullsten, discovering what really means to be a professional climber in Scandinavia.
Son of a Vietnamese mother and a Finnish father, Andy grew up with passion for sports climbing, which led him to take part to his first World Cup stage at the age of 18. His inclination to the boulder, however, was consecrated only a few years later, when in 2012 he won the ninth edition of Melloblocco, the famous Italian bouldering festival.
His being so quiet and focus on his projects clashes with his propensity to continue living immersed in the chaos of the city, attend gyms, and be surrounded by people who are more or less interested in its climber nature. A combination that we can find also in the attachment to his roots and the constant desire to travel, moving away from its places in search of new vertical horizons. When he comes back home, full of new realities and stories to tell, Andy tries to translate his experiences into new "problems", expressing his creativity through the work of route setter. Imagining movements and drawing lines on the wall, as a painter would make on a white canvas, he shares with everyone what, maybe only his eyes have seen and his hands touched. "Because in every new line you face, there is always something to learn."
When he cannot travel, Andy alternates the activity in gyms with climbing outdoor, taking advantage of the possibilities that the peninsula offers in its most southern part where, off the coast, myriads of small islands dot the North Sea.
Among the blocks and gyms of Finland, we documented the life, workout and motivation behind Andy's completely low-profile figure, which still remains one of the strongest and most complete boulder climber in the world.