Athletes Challenge Gravity, Heights and Themselves at Sport Climbing BC Provincial Championships

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Boulders Gym_Frog

Story and Photographs by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

March 31, 2013, Central Saanich, BC (ISN) – Over 60 young athletes battled the challenges of gravity and heights as they competed this past weekend in the first ever Sport Climbing BC Provincial Championships at The Boulders Climbing Gym at Stelly’s Secondary School in Central Saanich.

Imagine you are a track athlete and you are faced with a 15 metre (50 foot) distance race that in order to win, you must cover in a time of perhaps 10 seconds or better. Easy right? Now tilt that track on its end so that it is vertical and so you have to run essentially straight up the side of a building, with only a few strategically placed footholds and handholds to help your cause.

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Andrew Mostad (left) and Jeremy Moss (right) compete in the Speed Climbing competition (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

A somewhat daunting task, but it was one that faced a number of athletes competing in the “Speed Climbing” category at the Sport Climbing BC Provincial Championships this past weekend at The Boulders Gym in Central Saanich.

The “Speed” category features two identically prepared climbing walls, side-by-side, with handholds and footholds mapped out according to strict International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) standards. Two athletes compete at the same time, with the objective of getting to the top the fastest and striking a timing pad with their hand to stop the clock.

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Aidan Doyle (left) and Sara Hopkins (right) do their best to navigate the Speed Climing wall on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The World Record in the Speed Climbing event is an astonishing 5.88 seconds and is held by Evgenii Vaitcekhovskii, a Russian. Yes, 5.88 seconds – find it on YouTube and prepare to be amazed.

At Boulders on the weekend, while no new world records were set, the times posted were still very impressive, with the best time recorded by eventual Junior Male winner Robert Stewart-Patterson of Kamloops, who posted a time of 9.9 seconds in a qualifying heat (Watch video HERE) and then a time of 10.598 in the final.

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Kris Lee (left) and Robert Stewart-Patterson (right) were the fastest up the wall for the women and men respectively, winning gold in their categories (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Close behind was Youth A Male winner Tristen Gosselin, who posted a time of 10.3 seconds in a qualifier, and then won his final with a time of 11.16 seconds.

In the women’s category Kris Lee was the winner in the Open Female category with a time of 12.166 seconds, while Allison Stewart-Patterson won the Junior Female category with a time of 15.881 seconds.

The full list of all Speed Climbing winners can be found at the end of this article.

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Competitors Marie McCallum (left) and Carl Haynes (right) make thier way up the wall during the Difficulty Competition on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The “Difficulty Climbing” event is probably the sport climbing event that most of us can relate to. Athletes make their way slowly up the wall, navigating a pre-designed course of challenging holds and obstacles to reach the top of the route – a mere 18 metres or so (60 feet) from the floor. All routes are laid by expert course setters and are designed according to the age and skill level of the climbers.

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Climber Nina Chatham looks for a way around an obstacle during the Difficulty Climb on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Climbers have a 5-minute period prior to their climb to study the route together and will actually compare notes and give each other advice on what might work – something not often seen in the competitive sporting world.

While it is not a race per se, climbers do have a set period of time to complete the route – usually six to eight minutes depending on whether it is a qualifying heat or the finals – and they are scored according to the final height they reach on the route when their time expires or when they fall off the wall. Should they “top” the route, then their time will come into play should others also reach the top of the route.

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Breanna Matheson looks for her next move during the Youth A Female Difficulty competition on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The Difficulty Climbing event is also the one that is most challenging to the climbers as they must figure out a way to navigate the obstacles and holds to the best of their physical ability. What works for one climber may not necessarily work for another climber and all climbers must have extraordinary strength and flexibility and quick thinking and analytical skills to figure out the moves they need to make to succeed.

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Matthew Wellington prepares for his final move as he “tops” his route in the Junior Male Difficulty competition (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

And succeed they did, most notably Richmond’s Kris Lee who capped off the day on Sunday by winning the Open Female category, topping one of the more difficult routes in the gym, at one point balancing each toe precariously on the smallest of holds, in a full-on splits position, before pulling herself up to the next hold on the wall.

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Kris Lee makes a bold move en route to her win in the Difficulty finals on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Also enjoying a climb to the top was Delta’s Mika Hosoi, who made some impressive moves while winning the Youth B Female category and Nanaimo’s Elan Jonas-McRae whose moves to the top on the blue route made him a winner in the Junior Male and Open Male categories.

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Mikka Hosoi (left) and Elan Jonas-McRae were two climbers who completed their routes on Sunday to win their respective age categories (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

A full list of all Difficulty Climbing winners can be found at the end of the article.

The Sport Climbing BC Provincials is the first of three major events that will be held at the Boulders Climbing Gym this season. Recently named one of the top three climbing facilities in the world by the IFSC, Boulders will also be hosting the Canadian Nationals over the May long weekend and the IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships on August 15-19th.

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Tristen Gosselin would win the Youth A Male Difficulty competition after this climb on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

On hand for the Provincial award ceremonies today was Saanich North and the Islands MLA Murray Coell whose long-time support of the Boulders Climbing Gym continued, as he announced a $30,000 grant to the Gym for support in hosting of the 2013 Worlds. The Grant will kick-off fundraising efforts for the event, which will see a formal call for sponsors go out within the next week or two.

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Saanich North and the Islands MLA Murray Coell was on hand Sunday to present the awards, as well as to announce a $30,000 grant to the Boulders for their use in hosting the 2013 World Championships (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Fans who are interested in sport climbing are welcome to drop in to The Boulders Gym to learn more about the sport or to take part in a lesson or two. The Gym also operated a Sport Climbing Academy at Stelly’s High School and provides a range of community climbing programs for climbers of all skill levels.

For details, please visit http://www.climbtheboulders.com/ 

For All Photos From the Event Please Visit Christian J. Stewart’s Gallery at 

http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/p112772001

 

Sport Climbing BC Provincial Final Results

Speed Climbing

Youth A Male

  • 1. Tristen Gosselin – 11.64
  • 2. Magnus Einarsson – 17.413

Youth B Male

  • 1. Ben Hughes – 33.278

12/13 Male

  • 1. Aiden Doyle – 33.7
  • 2. Burke Jurjaks

Junior Male

  • 1. Robert Stewart-Patterson – 10.598
  • 2. Ian Branda – 14.931
  • 3. Ryder Hoy – 15.377

Advanced Male

  • 1. Andrew Mostad – 22.19
  • 2. Jeremy Moss

Open Male

  • 1. Kin Wah – 17.21

12/13 Female

  • 1. Sara Hopkins – 1:03.7

Youth B Female

  • 1. Elena Moss

Youth A Female

  • 1. Caitlin Wu

Junior Female

  • 1. Allison Stewart-Patterson – 15.881

Advance Female

  • 1. Claire Wagstaff – 45.424

Open Female

  • 1. Kris Lee – 12.166
  • 2. Christy Spurrell – 27.191

Difficulty Climbing

11 and Under Male

  • 1. Brennan Doyle
  • 2. Gavin Walker

12 and 13 Male

  • 1. Aiden Doyle
  • 2. Ben Ross
  • 3. Joseph Witwiky

Youth A Male

  • 1. Tristen Gosselin
  • 2. Roee Bouskila
  • 3. Nikita Taylor

Youth B Male

  • 1. Ben Hughes
  • 2. Kyle Murdoch
  • 3. Tosh Sherkat

Junior Male

  • 1. Elan Jonas-McRae
  • 2. Ryder Hoy
  • 3. Ian Branda

Advanced Male

  • 1. Andrew Mostad
  • 2. Jeremy Moss

Open Male

  • 1. Elan Jonas-McRae
  • 2. Ryder Hoy
  • 3. Ian Branda

11 and Under Female

  • 1. Stephanie Chow
  • 2. Sydney Hennessey
  • 3. Anastasia Castro

12 and 13 Female

  • 1. Sophie Buitendyk
  • 2. Jaimie Piercy
  • 3. Sara Hopkins

Youth A Female

  • 1. Caitlin Wu
  • 2. Hannah Block
  • 3. Taylor Forsyth

Youth B Female

  • 1. Mika Hosoi
  • 2. Julia Massullo
  • 3. Ayden McKitrick

Junior Female

  • 1. Alison Stewart-Patterson
  • 2. Rose Gallo

Advanced Female

  • 1. Claire Wagstaff
  • 2. Laura Siemens

Adult Recreational Female

  • 1. Gemma McQuitty

Open Female

  • 1. Kris Lee
  • 2. Alison Stewart-Patterson
  • 3. Caitlin Wu

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