The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has an impressive mountainous terrain with excellent conditions for rock climbing. Lidija Mimova, president of the Sport Climbing Club "Extreme" from Skopje, is an enthusiast who is propagating rock climbing in her country and in the region.
As she told Southeast Europe: People and Culture, at first sport climbing wasn't accepted within the more numerous alpinist circles: "In this period an idea was developed: that the ascent itself is more important than reaching the top of the route. A few enthusiasts worked hard for this approach to be fully acknowledged within the alpinist circles. Contrary to the difficult beginnings, the interest for rock climbing today is now far greater, especially among the younger population".
Mimova started to climb in 2000 and has since, apart from her home country, successfully ascended in locations in Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia and France: "I have achieved a solid level in the rock climbing field so far and have a never-ending desire for improvement. In the past ten years I was also active in this area acting as Chairman of the Judicial Committee of the Rock Climbing Association and last year I've been elected as the President of the club Extreme".
"Extreme” was founded in 1993 with the main goal to promote and develop sport climbing. Mimova says that the ties of cooperation in the region were patiently built since then. "In spite of all the political disagreements between the countries of the region, the rock climbers have strengthened their cooperation by forming the East Europe Climbing League and organising competitions that are held in a different country each year. Also, joint visits to rock climbing locations is on the agenda at least once a year, sometimes even more frequently", says Mimova.
Some of the events of the East Europe Climbing League unfold in Macedonia, which is well known for its mountainous terrain. “There are locations that are well accessible, such as Matka, Demir Kapija, Ohird, Pilav Tepe, and each of all these locations is unique in its own way", says Mimova.
The country has its own system of rock climbing competitions, as the president of the club explained: "As a part of the national league, every town that has its own rock climbing club - Skopje, Štip, Strumica, Bitola, Ohrid - organises a competition on an annual basis. These are so called Republic Cups, segmented into various disciplines (leading, speed and boulder) which each competitive year are concluded with a National Championship”.
Mimova is thrilled that the younger generations have done impressively in competitions: "The youngsters won in all the competitions of the last years in the East Europe Climbing League. The juniors are not that far behind. The huge amount of day to day responsibilities doesn't leave enough time for a person to commit on rock climbing alone. Despite this, there are many dedicated, hardworking and enthusiastic individuals in Macedonia that achieve great results on a national as well as international level".