EXPOSED, the video storytelling by climber Larissa Arce is now online

A story of strength and determination to show that sometimes, in this life, it isn't necessary to be completely ready and totally prepared in order to face up to your fears, and prove your worth. Mexican climber Larissa Arce talks about herself in "Exposed", an exclusive video on the subject of climbing, other fairly vertical challenges, and Life.

EXPOSED, the video storytelling by climber Larissa Arce is now online


She describes herself as a very passionate person, who puts her all into everything she does. Curious by nature, she has always managed to find great life guides, be it the old lady who lives across the street from her house or a friend. Larissa began climbing near Namiquipa, a small village in northern Mexico, where she was born and grew up: in that area, climbing is not very popular but there are some really impressive big walls. Right from the start, she would spend day after day on the wall, experiencing incredible adventures: she immediately understood that, for her, climbing was a way to explore the environment all around her, offering her a refuge from a very harsh reality. Even today, at times of doubt, she feels the need to challenge herself on a big wall to remind herself what she's capable of.



In Mexico, some places are very dangerous; moreover, climbing is considered a privilege for women, who culturally have many responsibilities towards the family and various obligations imposed by society. All this meant that Larissa could not enjoy her hobby without some misgivings; it was as though she were doing something wrong, not staying 'in her place', not doing what others expect of her, being in some way guilty. In Mexico, she cannot climb in total freedom, the way she sees European climbers do. So, a year and a half ago, she decided to leave her country. A very difficult decision, requiring a lot of courage, taken for a number of reasons: to follow a great dream, that of being a climber, to feel free and truly herself, to start a new life, and to become part of the climbing community, living her passion to the full.

At first, Larissa was unsure of her exact destination. She knew she wanted to go to Spain and looked for somewhere offering ample opportunity to climb and train a lot. When she came to consider Margalef, she thought that, strategically, it was a fantastic location, due to its exceptional climate, suitable for climbing practically every day of the year, and also for its incredible rock walls. The shock of her move to Europe was very strong: the feeling of freedom was intense, and Larissa could finally enjoy herself in the mountains without feeling guilty. Margalef is indeed a  unique place, where the people are super welcoming, hospitable and warm, and make her feel at home. From here, Larissa, who has a degree in Advertising Marketing, works for the small Digital Marketing and Advertising company she has in Mexico, and also gives Spanish lessons. She stays in constant contact with her family, thanks to technology, and even if she is not physically present, she tries to maintain ties that are as close as possible.



Her video, Exposed, tells this story of strength and determination, and shows how, in life, sometimes you don't need to be completely ready and totally prepared to screw up your courage and face your fears, you don't need to wait for the 'right' moment to prove who you really are: otherwise, the chances are you would wait forever. No matter the context, the difficulties and the background you come from, you can still be free and have fun. The title of the video, Exposed, has a double-meaning: it refers both to the vertical exposure in climbing and the fear of exposure in real life, such as that experienced by Larissa when she decided to take a leap of faith and relocate to Europe, a step that scared her very much, as she feared the judgement of other people. Today, she believes that her decision has made her into a stronger person, one who is capable of overcoming her own fears. Larissa believes that life's difficult moments are an opportunity to take courage, and this spurs her on to find solutions to overcome problems. She says she loves fear: a special feeling that has taught her a lot in life, helping her understand what she is really capable of and who she really is.


Larissa, who was your climbing teacher?

There were two: The Giant , a big wall in Mexico, which allowed me to challenge myself, as a person and as a climber, and to put myself to the test, showing me who I am; and the outdoor community of climbers, who enabled me not to feel judged, supported me without expecting anything in return and gave me a 'safe space', where I could be fully myself.


Which climb was the one that made you feel the happiest?

After tackling the  Logical progression route, on The Giant,, I felt really happy at having managed to climb it! It was an incredible experience. I was in a state of sheer ecstasy. I felt I didn't put a foot wrong and I felt a deep connection with the face, where I spent three days. I found myself 400 metres above the ground, drinking my coffee in the portaledge, I felt completely out of this world, in another dimension.



How do you feel about the La Sportiva family?

That's a special question for me. As I already said, I was really scared about coming to live on a new continent, where I didn't know anyone and had no points of reference. And then, unexpectedly, I came across this big family that is La Sportiva, who told me: Hey, you are not alone! You are important to us and we will take care of you! I didn't understand what was behind this interest. After all, I was just an immigrant, I was nobody. It was a very special feeling, to be treated like that. I didn't feel alone anymore!


How do you see yourself in the future?

I hope I will not lose the enthusiasm that I always put into everything I do. I know that as I get older, I won't be climbing at today's level, but I want to stay motivated. I will look for longer routes, where endurance plays a bigger part. Furthermore, in Latin America we are still a long way from achieving gender equality. Many women still struggle because of our culture, which imposes many limits on us. We have so many duties to perform. I would like to tell the girls in my country that they are brave, that they can go to the mountains, feel free, live their passions, and be happy. I want to go to Chiapas, where I know there is a small community of women who climb, and help girls who find themselves in the same situation I was in at the beginning, for example by building a climbing gym where women can be supported and encouraged, without feeling unsafe or guilty. When someone listens to you and supports you, life is so much easier!


Who would Larissa Arce be, if she weren't a climber?

I would be a passionate musician, or an artisan, I love working with my hands! I would do something creative. I'm an inquisitive person and I really like to experiment. I love art and music: I have a piano, here in Margalef, called Rolando!



Text: Marta Manzoni

Photos: Matteo Pavana