Magnus Midtbø is one of the world’s best sport climbers. He is also the first climber to reach 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Learn more about the Norwegian rock-climbing star.
Magnus Midtbø (33) started climbing in 2000, 11 years old, after his mother signed him up for a climbing course. One year later, he won the Norwegian Youth Championship, and in 2005, he won the World Youth Championship in Beijing, China.
Moving to Innsbruck
Midtbø moved to Innsbruck in 2007 after finishing high school. At the time, Innsbruck was a place where many top international climbers were training together for competitions, such as David Lama, Jakob Schubert and Anna Stöhr. In an interview, Midtbø described David Lama as the most talented person he had ever climbed with, a climber he looked up to at the time
Now, the climber from Bergen travels 250 days a year and competes in Southern Europe and Asia as well as in South America. “For me, it’s just about the desire to climb, about being as good as those I looked up to, and to disprove those who thought that no Norwegian could be as good at climbing,” says Midtbø.
In the series “Min Idrett” (My Sport) on NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation), viewers experienced him on the move around Europe with a mattress in the trunk of his van. He wanted to meet his idols and see how they lived and traveled from rock to boulder in their motorhomes. He says that these are some of his best memories.
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Midtbø garnered negative media attention in 2016 after publishing an Instagram picture of himself hanging off the Trolltunga rock formation, a popular tourist attraction in Norway. Midtbø suspended himself from the overhanging rock wearing a safety harness, but local police officers were concerned that the stunt might encourage people without proper protection to risk their lives.
Midtbø is one of only a handful of people to have redpointed 9a+ and onsighted 8c+ and after retiring from climbing competitions in 2017, the 11-times Norwegian champion started concentrating more seriously on running his own climbing walls and updating the YouTube channel he had started in 2011.
When he embarked on his very first vlog the same year, Midtbø stated simply “The idea is to make video blogs as often as we can, as long as there is something interesting going on… and then just go with the flow…”
On the 95th Vlog of Midtbø’s YouTube channel, he described his decision to retire as follows: “I still get motivated just by climbing. I think some people need a specific goal, but I’ve never felt like I needed one. It sounds really cheesy, I know. I just love climbing. I love being in the nature. I love the feeling of feeling free, but it is like that you know. I don’t know. I like the lifestyle, I like traveling, I like trying hard, and most of all, I like the feeling of feeling really fit, really strong, the feeling of being able to climb anything.” (Wikipedia)
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This year, the Norwegian rock-climbing star has become the first climber to surpass the 1 million subscriber mark on his Youtube channel. The news is astounding, particularly for those who remember the early days of sport climbing when pretty much everyone who climbed knew each other, but the million benchmark testaments the fact that over the last 30 years this sport has transformed beyond recognition and into global sensation.
The Norwegian Rock-Climbing Star, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Photo by Michael Meisl / Archivo Mariacher.