It is obvious from this year’s SANCF Youth Nationals that the sport of rock climbing is growing amongst the schools. If not based purely on the sheer numbers of kids then a measure of their quickly increasing abilities is a great indication of what this year has brought to the sport.
Upon arriving at Wonderwall on Saturday, 1st Oct, you would have been greeted with a climbing gym teeming with excited and nervous young climbers from all over the country, backed by their even more nervous and excited parents and coaches.
The competitors were tested with 2 qualifying routes on the 1st day at Wonderwall and a third qualifying route at The Barn on the 2nd day. At The Barn the kids were taken out of their comfort zone as they were challenged with the 12 new and bizarre volumes that were specially placed in the gym in time for this competition. The huge blue features were easily spotted on the freshly painted walls. Not to mention the deviousness of the routes that were set by climbers who have recently ventured overseas and broadened their bag of route setting tricks. The kids had to keep their wits about them to tackle these new obstacles. Fortunately, the young rock stars showed great spirit and determination and seemed to enjoy the routes all the way, buoyed by their cheering team mates below.
Before the finals another new item was also introduced in the gym – speed climbing. All non-finalists were given a chance to scramble up the wall as quickly as they could with the aim of hitting the bright red button on the top of the wall to claim their time. Thank you to SACA for the sponsoring of the timers.
After replenishing energy reserves and a bit of time for the route setters to tweak the final routes the competitors were back on the walls, cranking out some impressive moves to claim their positions. It was an exciting battle down to the very last competitor. Click HERE to check out the final results. For more photos of the event check out the gallery HERE.
Congratulations to Gauteng for once again securing the title of winning province.
Credit must be given to the hosting committee, Gauteng Climbing, for their excellent organisational skills. Thank you to all the belayers, judges and scorers for their help.
Appreciation goes out to the route setters for the many hours they put in to setting excellent routes. Thank you to Wonderwall and The Barn for providing great venues.
And finally, thank you to RAM, in partnership with SANCF, for their continued support and sponsorship of this exhilarating event.