Said Belhaj was born in Göteborg, Sweden in 1981. He started climbing in the early 90s, mainly on routes that he bolted, with gear that he made himself. A member of the Swedish national team from 1995 to 2005, he competed internationally for a decade, and won the Swedish National Championship in both bouldering and lead climbing several times.
Since 2001, Said has lived on the road to climb in nearly every discipline—bouldering, sport, trad, multi-pitch, ice. He has visited more than 50 countries on six continents, and has ticked 2,000 routes in the 8th grade, 10 routes in the 9th grade, and onsighted 8b+. In the past he has primarily focused on first ascents, putting up new routes in Sweden, Ireland, Morocco, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Montenegro, and Albania this past year alone.
“What I really like about climbing is the variety, the focus, the creativity, and travelling and connecting with different places, people, and cultures,” he says. “Grades are less important—I prefer to climb routes for their quality, beauty, and movement—but grades can be a fun game with yourself sometimes.”