Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 24, 2014, Central Saanich, BC – The Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC) held a local Difficulty and Speed Competition at The Boulders Climbing Gym last Saturday and a number of local athletes came away with medals and record times to show for their efforts.
“If you build it, he will come,” is a classic line from the WP Kinsella classic “Shoeless Joe” and from the movie “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. In the case of The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich – who have built the only world-record certified 15-metre Speed Climbing wall in North America, and one of only six such certified Speed walls in the world – the “he” perhaps applies to champion Czech climber Libor Hroza, who came to the Boulders in December to train and who, last Saturday, set a new gym record of 6.038 seconds while winning the Open Male category at the Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC) local speed competition that was held at the facility.
Hroza’s time was impressive, as it was just 0.16 seconds off the world record of 5.88 seconds set by Russian climber Evgeniy Vaytsekhovskiy in 2012. It is also the second quickest time posted by Hroza during competition, his best being that of 5.99 seconds that earned him a first place finish at a Speed World Cup event in Arco, Italy in 2013.
Czech climber Libor Hroza heads up the wall during one of his Speed climbing runs at Saturday’s SCBC competition at The Boulders. Hroza would win the Open Male division and set a new gym record of 6.038 seconds in doing so (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News).
At just 26 years of age, Hroza is one of the top speed climbers in the world, currently ranked second behind Stanislav Kokorin of Russia. He had silver medal performances at 2013 Speed World Cup events in Chonqing, China, Perm, Russia and Mokpo, Korea and a third place finish at the 2013 Speed World Cup event in Ekaterinburg, Russia. He also won the 2013 European Speed Climbing Championships in Chamonix, France.
Perhaps even more impressive than Hroza’s time Saturday, is the influence he is having on other speed climbers that train at the Boulders. All Boulder’s climbers who competed Saturday posted personal best times during the competition and Boulder’s climbers swept gold in 13 of the 15 age categories in the Speed competition.
Boulder’s speed climber Robert Stewart-Patterson (left) talks with Czech climber Libor Hroza (right) prior to their Speed competition Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News).
This includes brother and sister duo Robert and Alison Stewart-Patterson of Kamloops. Robert won first in the Junior Male category and in the process, set his own personal best time and a new Canadian men’s record of 7.550 seconds, bettering his previous mark of 8.06. Alison was victorious in the Open Female category and set a new Canadian women’s record of 12.28 seconds with one of her climbs, bettering the mark of 13.38 she set at the 2013 IFSC World Youth Championships.
Alison Stewart-Patterson begins one of her climbs during the Speed competition at the Boulders Gym last Saturday. Stewart-Patterson set a new Canadian women’s record of 12.28 seconds while winning the Open Female Speed division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News).
Other Boulders climbers with first place Speed finishes included Brennan Doyle (Youth D Male), Sylvie Mayhill (Youth D Female), Aidan Doyle (Youth C Male), Elena Moss (Youth B Female), Aaron DiLallo (Youth A Male), Catherine Kavelaars (Youth A Female), Evelyna Trottier (Junior Female), Nate Corsi (Recreational Male), Athena Fowler (Recreational Female), and Jeremy Moss (Experienced Male).
Speed climber Catherine Kavelaars is all smiles after a successful climb in Saturday’s SCBC Speed competition at the Boulders Gym. Kavelaars would win the Youth A Female division (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Boulders climbers were also successful in the Difficulty categories at Saturday’s competition, taking gold in five categories. Leading the way was Nanaimo’s Elan Jonas-McRae who won the Junior Male category, topping both routes climbed during the competition.
Other Boulder’s climbers with first place finishes in Difficulty included Brennan Doyle (Youth D Male), Mathias Bell (Recreational Male), Alison Funk (Junior Female) and Marina Steele (Recreational Female).
Burnaby’s Zach Bennett looks for a clip during one of his climbs at the SCBC Difficulty competition Saturday at The Boulders Climbing Gym. Bennett would finish 5th in the Youth A Male category (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Silver medal finishes for Boulder’s climbers in Difficulty also went to Aidan Doyle (Youth C Male), Nate Corsi (Recreational Male), Christina Compton (Recreational Female) and Alison Stewart-Patterson (Open Female).
Saturday’s competition at The Boulders was the second of four sanctioned Difficulty and first of two sanctioned Speed competitions that will ultimately lead to the SCBC Provincials in both at The Boulders on April 5, 2014. Next up will be a Difficulty competition at the Richmond Oval on March 14th and a Difficulty and Speed competition at The Rock Wall in Maple Ridge on March 22nd.
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 www.climbtheboulders.com for more details.
About Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC)
The Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC) was established in 2012 to be the Provincial Sport Organization for competition climbing in British Columbia and to foster and promote the growth of competition climbing throughout the Province. Learn more at www.sportclimbingbc.ca.
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Twitter: @SportClimbingBC Hashtag: #scbc14