Boulders Gym_Frog

Story by Christian J. Stewart (ISN), Photos by Christian J. Stewart and Doug Bain (ISN)

August 17, 2013, Central Saanich, BC (ISN)  – After a second day of qualifying in the Lead / Difficulty category, the 26 semi-finalists in each age category have been determined at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) 2013 World Youth Climbing Championships that are taking place at the Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich.

The qualifiers include nine Canadian climbers, the highest number of Canadian athletes to reach the World Youth semi-finals in the past five years.

Semi-finals will take place on Monday morning, August 19th beginning at 9:30 am, with finals to follow at 4:30 pm.  Key highlights in each age category are provided below:

Youth B Female
Four climbers sit tied for first place after qualifying in the Youth B Female category, including the USA’s Claire Buhrfeind and Margo Hayes.  Joining them are Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret and Japan’s Miwa Oba.  All four climbers topped their qualifying routes on both Friday and Saturday.  In addition to Buhrfeind and Hayes, the USA has three other climbers in the semis for this age group. Two Canadian climbers have qualified including Eva Thompson (24th) and Mika Hosoi (26th).

ISN-Climbing Day 2-130817-002
Swiss climber Michelle Hulliger nears the top of her climb in a Youth B qualifier Saturday (Photo: Douglas Bain/Island Sports News)

IMG 1741
Canada’s Mika Hosoi would climb well enough Saturday to sneak her way into the semi-finals in the 26th and final spot in the Youth B Female category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Youth B Male
In the Youth B Male category, the USA’s Kai Lightner would effortlessly top his morning route Saturday to assure himself a spot in the semi-final rounds, where he sits tied for first with Switzerland’s Sascha Lehmann, who also topped his route Saturday.  France’s Hugo Parmntier will give both a challenge, as he is firmly in third place.  Canadian climbers making the top 26 in Youth B Male include Lucas Yuchida (20th) and Kyle Murdoch (26th).

IMG 1458
The USA’s Kai Lightner salutes the crowd after successfully topping his qualifying route in the Youth B Male category on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Youth A Female
In the Female Youth A category, nothing changed from Friday’s results, as the three climbers who sat tied for first Friday, are tied for first after their second round Saturday, each having reached the top of their qualifying route for the second straight day. This includes Julia Chanourdie of France, Jessica Pilz of Austria and Anak Verhoven of Belgium.  Canadian Pia Graham was the top Canadian, finishing just out of the running in 27th place.

IMG 1635
Sweden’s Hannes Puman hangs on for dear life from the top of the Boulders Gym during his Youth A qualifying run on Saturday. Puman would advance to the semi-finals, sitting in second place (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News).

Youth A Male
It appears the Japanese will be tough to beat in Youth A Male, as Naoki Shimatani and Keiichiro Korenaga sit in first and second respectively heading into the semi-final rounds.  Shimatani topped his route Saturday to jump ahead of Korenaga in the standings.  Tied with Korenaga in second place are Austria’s Georg Parma and Sweden’s Hannes Puman, both of whom topped their routes Saturday.  Top Canadian was Nathan Smith who finished well back in 35th place.

IMG 1495
Austria’s Georg Parma would top his route in his qualifying climb Saturday, putting him safely into the semi-finals with a second place standing on Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Boulders Media)

Junior Female
After seeing five climbers reach the top Friday, the Junior Females were shut-out Saturday, as no climber was able to complete their route.  Coming closest was Austria’s Magdalena Rock, who with her excellent climb, sits in first place heading into semis.  Tied for second are France’s Manon Hily and Japan’s Aya Onoe.  Three Canadians placed in the top 26 including Iyma Lamarche (13th), Alyssa Weber (23rd) and Elise Sethna, who just sneaks in tied at 26th.9.

ISN-Climbing Day 2-130817-009
Magdalena Rock of Austria was the closest Junior Female to topping the route Saturday and sits in first place in the Junior Girls category for the effort (Photo: Douglas Bain / Island Sports News)

IMG 1671
Canada’s Alison Stewart-Patterson reaches for the next clip during her qualifying climb on Saturday.  Stewart-Patterson would miss out on qualifying for lead semi-finals, but will be favored in the Speed competition on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News).

Junior Male
In the Junior Male category, it appears that France’s Thomas Joannes and Slovenia’s Domen Skofic will battle it out for gold, as both climbers once again topped their routes to sit tied for first.  Russia’s Dmitry Fakiryanov also topped his route Saturday to move into third place.  Two Canadians have qualified, including Elan Jonas-McRae (15th) and Ryder Hoy (26th).  Junior National champion Marc Eveleigh finished just shy of qualification in 27th place.

ISN-Climbing Day 2-130817-003
Thomas Joannes from France en-route to topping his climb to tie for first place in the Junior Male category alongside Slovenia’s Domen Skofic(Photo: Douglas Bain/Island Sports News)

IMG 1801
Germany’s Sebastian Halenke moves up the wall during his qualifying climb in the Junior Male category Saturday.  Halenke would place 5th on Saturday, putting him in 6th place standing for Monday’s semi-finals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

On Sunday August 18th, Speed Climbing – where athletes make their way up a 15-metre wall in the quickest time possible –  will take the stage, with practice rounds beginning at 9:30 am and qualifying beginning at Noon.   The final rounds will begin at 4:30 pm and run until complete.   The world record in Speed is an astonishing 5.88 seconds (held by an adult) and it is anticipated that many young athletes here will break the 7 second mark.

IMG 1837
After 2 days of competition, this is what German climber Sebastian Halenke’s hand looks like, having left a little bit of skin up on the wall after his second climb on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Semi-finals (9:30 am) and finals (4:30 pm) in difficulty take place Monday, with the awards and closing ceremonies at 7:30 pm. 

In addition to the climbing competition, a marketplace is set up at the venue, featuring local foods and crafts for everyone in attendance.  This includes a special pancake breakfast offer from the Lion’s Club for $7.00.

Admission to the Speed event  Sunday is free, while there is a $5 admission for the semi-finals and finals on Monday.

If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, please come out to support these amazing athletes and learn more about the world of sport climbing. 

IMG 1626
Austria’s Laura Stockler would qualify for the Youth B Female semi-finals with a 10th place finish after her two qualifying climbs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

For more information please head to or to the Boulders Facebook page at

The Boulders Climbing Gym is adjacent to Stelly’s Secondary School in Central Saanich (1627 Stelly’s Cross Road).  Free parking is available at the school but will be limited. Additional parking will be available at Centennial Park or Brentwood Bay Elementary, both a ten minute walk from the school.

About the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC)
The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) was created in 2007 and is a non-governmental international association with a non-profit-making purpose of international interest. The principal purposes of the IFSC are the direction, regulation, promotion, development and furtherance of international climbing competitions (Lead, Speed and Boulder). The IFSC fosters links, networks, and friendly relations among its members, their climbers and officials. The IFSC is recognised by the IOC and is member of ARISF, SportAccord and IWGA. For more details, please visit the IFSC web page at

About the Boulders Climbing Gym
The Boulders Climbing Gym is a not-for-profit society, with the mandate of making climbing accessible for everyone, regardless of ability or ability to pay.  With over 13,000 square feet (1,208 square metres) of climbing space, The Boulders Climbing Gym is a community facility and a unique social enterprise, providing adaptive recreation and rehabilitation programs, youth recreational and competitive programs, as well as facilitating a climbing academy at Stelly’s Secondary School.  All instructors are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. See for more details.

Home of the 2013 IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships, August 15-19, 2013
Twitter: @bouldersclimb  Hash Tag: #wych2013