Technical team

An interdisciplinary group made up of professionals and researchers from different fields of sport and climbing (performance, nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology), plus a team of competition outfitters.

Team members


Ekhiotz Alsasua


Addicted to climbing since he did it for the first time, 24 years ago. Although he was scared that time, the next day he already had a cagoule and he was already in a climbing wall from which he had to be removed to be able to close it. That’s how Ekhi conducts himself in everything he does: if he gets involved in something, he does it thoroughly. No middle ground.

That radical view of things is what makes him so restless, curious and creative and has led him to be one of the first climbing coaches in this country to analyze and observe performance improvement. Because Ekhi has that peculiar ability to detect everything that can be improved and, in addition, he works hard to find the way to do it.

After graduating in CAFyD and completing the Master’s Degree in High Performance Sports, Ekhi began to combine competition with personal training. And in 2018 he joined Sputnik as a training manager and one of the researchers of the Sputnik Research team.

Demanding of himself and others, he has the ability to observe and analyze people, especially if he perceives them when they climb. This allows him to take an x-ray of the climbers he trains and to detect their strengths and weaknesses in order to focus his efforts on the aspects that need to be improved.

His goals are to dedicate as much time as possible to climbing -both professionally and personally-, to continue living in Lleida -one of the best places in the world to climb, according to him- and to become one of the best climbing coaches in Spain. Ekhi is clear about what he wants and puts all his effort into achieving it.

Pedro Bergua


Pedro discovered climbing by chance in 2000 and since then he has done nothing but climb rocks. This coincided with the start of his studies in Sports Science, so climbing and training have always gone hand in hand in his case. Although he has done “some hard routes” -as he says- he has several 8c+ and 8c+/9a in his notebook, but he considers himself a climber of the bunch -of the stubborn bunch-.

When Pedro started climbing and training, specific climbing knowledge was not yet very developed. This fact, coupled with his insatiable curiosity – he always has to know the why of things – led to what has now become a way of life for him: studying climbing and discovering how to improve his climbing performance.

For Pedro there is no room for ambiguity: all climbing parameters must be measurable to evaluate a climber’s performance and, if they cannot be measured, Pedro starts researching to develop new gadgets capable of calibrating them in the future.

He has spent more than two decades researching, testing and trying to measure the load in climbing. He did it from a storage room full of lag bolts and strips where he developed the ideas that he has been confirming or discarding over time. His friend Ekhi Alsasua baptized that chiscón as Psicolab, it is not known whether because of the density of the ideas that were cooked there or because of its dimensions. Since he received his doctorate in 2016 – obviously his thesis could not have been on any other subject than climbing – he has published several studies in scientific journals.

He has also dedicated himself to personal training for climbers of all levels. Those who have trained with him say that he is a perfectionist and is always hungry to keep learning and improving. However, they also highlight his capacity for empathy and support in critical moments.

Rubén Martínez

Physiotherapist at Sputnik Salud

With a calm appearance, Ruben is restless by nature. If he is faced with a professional challenge, his attitude is to face it, always. Perhaps his unfinished business is learning to say no. He is also demanding of himself. He is also demanding with himself and although what he values most is his free time, it is common to see him busy in one of his projects.

According to his degree in Sciences of Physical Activity and Sport, in 2012, he began his studies in Physiotherapy to graduate in 2017. In the same year he joined Sputnik as a physiotherapist and in these years of experience he has become a great connoisseur of sport from a health point of view. Two years later he completed a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics and Sports Physiotherapy. Have we already mentioned that Ruben is restless and demanding?

He is also humble and committed, and those who know him say that working alongside him is easy: he is flexible, brings knowledge to the team and also a lot of togetherness. Eager to keep learning, he is perhaps more aware of all that he has yet to learn – hence his humility – than all that he already knows, but he is carving his own path to become a reference in the prevention and treatment of climbing injuries.

In both his professional and personal life, Rubén transmits confidence and serenity. He’s more about climbing than walking and loses his mind to throw himself with his snowboard down a slope full of powder. He shares his life and experiences with a furry companion named Bimbo and not long ago he was able to fulfill a childhood dream: to perform acrobatics on a flying trapeze.

Nacho Sánchez

Setter and professional climber

Nacho, together with Primo, is in charge of the competition setting at Sputnik, to equip the competition team during training camps and other events.

He started climbing 27 years ago and since he tried bouldering, he has not wanted to know anything else. In 2014 he began his career as an outfitter in national competitions. Since then he has gained a lot of skill both as a climber and as a routesetter in competition and indoor. And he has the virtue of being able to transfer all that experience to the style of his blocks: thoughtful, consistent and elegant. Because, it’s important to say, Nacho is a quiet guy -very quiet-, methodical and observant.

He likes to travel to try all kinds of rocks and styles, but if he had to choose, his favorite places to boulder are Rocklands, Ticino and Fontainebleau. To date, by far the hardest boulder he has chained is Con-lateral Damage (8c+) in Fortuna, Murcia, in 2022.

On rock, he can spend hours studying a block, waiting for the perfect temperature and humidity or for the right moment of activation, closer to a meditative attitude than to the usual shouting in climbing. Likewise, you may see him packing up his gear to return the next day if he feels conditions are not right for climbing. And had he counted the words he has uttered in a single day, perhaps one hand is enough.

Very sensitive to nature – one of his unconfessable pleasures is to watch for hours videos about the life of raccoons and otters – and with a capacity for sacrifice to achieve his dream goals, Nacho is also an industrial engineer and combines his work as a setter and professional climber with the design of new Sputniks.

José Luis Palao, Primo

Setter and professional climber

If you blurt out “José Luis!” no one might turn around to look at you because everyone usually calls the other head of Sputnik’s competition setting Primo. If not, you might recognize him by his unmistakable horn-rimmed glasses and his trademark gesture of pushing them up his nose with his index finger.

His childhood was marked by nature outings and climbing with his cousins. He started climbing at the age of 9 and by the age of 15 he had already climbed his first eighth grade route. Since then, climbing has been his life: he’s either climbing or he’s in the camper resting to climb the next day. And he doesn’t shy away from anything: he is passionate about slabs, overhangs, roofs, boulders, offwidht or cracks.

At the age of 15 he also began to equip his own lines on rock and today he has more than 150 lines all over the peninsula. Throughout his career he has chained 1,500 eighth grade routes and the highest grade reached to date is 9a+.

For many years he was dedicated to competition climbing and became part of the Spanish National Climbing Team. In 2016 he was proclaimed runner-up in Spain in bouldering and has several Spanish Cup medals, both in difficulty and in bouldering.

His experience as an outfitter has taken him halfway around the world: in 2022 he was official outfitter of the Chinese climbing team, he has equipped in climbing walls in Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria and has designed more than 40 national, regional or mock competitions for international athletes.

His closest people say of him that he is all heart and very friendly with his friends. His perseverance and humility make him a great partner.

Xeber Iruretagoiena


If there’s one thing he’s obsessed with, it’s pulleys. His commitment to research on climbing injuries has made him one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject. That’s why he continually travels to the United States and Canada to participate in courses and conferences on climbing injuries and musculoskeletal ultrasound.

He currently works at the Eskura Osasun Zentroa clinic in Guipuzcoa, and also as a teacher and researcher at the University of Deusto.

In addition to being a motivated climber, he is also a keen surfer. He is even coining a new modality called Basque Triathlon that includes running, climbing and surfing, always followed by a couple of beers afterwards.

Ander Etxabe

Readaptation specialist

Ander works together with Xeber at Eskura Osasun Zentroa, as a specialist in climbing injuries and rehabilitation. He arrived there after graduating in CAFyD and taking two Master’s degrees, one in Functional Assessment and Corrective Exercises and the other in Sports Nutrition Counseling.

Despite describing himself as a scattered person, Ander has one goal: to learn more about injuries in order to improve the rehabilitation process.

If you see him engrossed in his cell phone, it is possible that he is watching for the umpteenth time one of the climbing videos on YouTube to which he is hooked. It is not for nothing that one of his vices is to rate male and female climbers.

He climbs boulders, just boulders, and he surfs when he has no other choice.

Toni Curiel

Paraclimbing team trainer and professional climber

Toni started climbing without even knowing he was climbing. He climbed the mountains near his house to disconnect from a complicated reality and, every time he went out, he tried to climb a more difficult (or vertical) path. We could say that climbing changed his life.

At the age of 20 he started working as a technician at the King Kong climbing wall and one day a father asked him if he thought his blind son could attend classes with him and Toni said yes. The boy’s name was Guille Pelegrin and he and Toni still train together, within the para-climbing team that Toni directs.

If you scratch around you will discover that Toni loves to tease people and also lend his ears to a friend who needs it (rumor has it that he talks more about life and other transcendent topics than about climbing holds at the base of the boulder).

Andrea Argüello


How to replace pizza and Nutella with a healthy diet is Andrea’s biggest challenge as Team Nutritionist, making health and performance compatible. For her, competitive sport must also include a good level of health among athletes, and that is a challenge considering the high pressure to which climbers are exposed.

In her early twenties, when she was studying for a Master’s Degree in Nutrition in Barcelona, she went to visit Montserrat. He was contemplating the horizon from a lookout point – very idyllic – when suddenly two guys appeared under his feet, they had just climbed that wall with ropes and he immediately thought: “I want to do that”. That’s how she got hooked on climbing and today she also practices mountaineering, mountain trail and ski touring. It’s not easy to catch her at home on a weekend.

A self-confessed chocolate lover, Andrea seeks a balance, as Aristotle said, between her methodical character and her ability to be flexible and flow.

Miguel Santolaya

Sports psychologist

Miguel is in charge of taking care of the Team’s mental health. We don’t know if the Master’s Degree in Psychology of Physical Activity and Sport recommended it, but Miguel likes to use humor as part of the therapy.

What brought him to the mountains was mountaineering, but he realized that if he wanted to go higher, he had to learn to climb. So he fell into the nets and ended up getting hooked on climbing.

He started investigating climbing when there weren’t many people interested in the activity. And, despite having treated athletes in specialties such as fencing or soccer, as a psychologist he can say that there are certain elements involved in climbing that are not so present in other sports: a strong vocation, the management of risk and uncertainty, and a community component that is not easy to find in other disciplines.

Although he dreams of ice and high mountains, he is also in search of the perfect cupcake, good art and well-soundproofed restaurants, because if he is not able to listen to other people’s conversations, he may end up sitting at another table to lend a hand, which is why he likes to help.

Nacho también tuvo una época en la que se dedicó a la competición. Sus mejores resultados entonces fueron:

– 1º en el Campeonato de España en 2012 y 2013

– 1º en la Copa de España en 2013

– 2º en Tierra Boulder Battle (Estocolmo) 2012

– 9º en la prueba de Copa del Mundo de Viena 2012

En el 2014 inició su trayectoria como equipador en competiciones nacionales. Desde entonces ha ganado mucha destreza tanto como escalador como routesetter de competición y sala. Y tiene la virtud de poder trasladar toda esa experiencia al estilo de sus bloques: meditados, consistentes y elegantes. Porque, es importante decirlo, Nacho es un tipo tranquilo –muy tranquilo–, metódico y observador.

En roca puede estar horas estudiando un bloque, esperando la temperatura y humedad perfectas o a alcanzar el momento de activación adecuado, más cercano a la actitud meditativa que a los gritos habituales en la escalada. Así mismo, puedes verle recogiendo sus cosas para volver al día siguiente si considera que no se están dando las condiciones adecuadas para escalar. Y de haber contado las palabras que ha pronunciado en un solo día, quizás una sola mano sea suficiente.

Muy sensible a la naturaleza –uno de sus placeres inconfesables es mirar durante horas vídeos sobre la vida de mapaches y nutrias– y con capacidad de sacrificio para alcanzar sus objetivos soñados, Nacho es, además, ingeniero industrial y compagina su labor de setter y escalador profesional con el diseño de nuevos Sputniks.