Athlete Profile: Campbell Harrison

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Campbell Harrison By James Kassay

BIOGRAPHY

One of Australia’s most dedicated competition climbers, Campbell Harrison competed at several World Youth Championships. On Australian soil, in 2014 Campbell took the year by storm, ranking 1st in Youth A Male Lead, Youth A Male Boulder, Open Male Lead and 2nd in Open Male Boulder. With eyes to a world stage in indoor competition, this young gun has a bright future.

Campbell Harrison has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is now – Australia’s highest ranked competition athlete in climbing in 2014. It wasn’t an easy road for Campbell, who took his first steps in Seaford Climbing Gym. Campbell was nine years old, and for his first three or four years climbing he visited the gym casually, once or twice a week. “When I started inching my way into local competitions, I really enjoyed the way they drove me to do better,” says Campbell.

When Seaford closed, Campbell moved on to Bayside Rock Climbing Gym, which had just opened. With access to bigger and better facilities, he started training really hard. In 2011, he stood on the podium in 3rd place at the first-ever Australian National Lead Championship he entered.

Soon, he made the Australian Youth Climbing Team. “My first two World Youth Championships were more miss than hit,” admits Campbell. “Honestly, I felt like quitting more than once. But I’m glad I didn’t, because my climbing really came together in 2014 with my best season yet.”

In 2014, Campbell placed first in the Youth A Male category at the Australian National Lead Championship, Australian National Boulder Championship, Australian National Lead Championship and IFSC Oceania Continental Championship (Lead).

Yet, he’s most proud of placing 15th at the 2014 IFSC World Youth Championship (Youth A Male Lead) on the grand competition walls of Noumea, New Caledonia. “It’s not my best result on paper, but before this event I hadn’t gone very well in international competitions,” Campbell explains. “It was an amazing feeling to finally climb unhindered at such a big event. I’ll always be proud of it.”

For someone of his ability, Campbell is unique in his preference for climbing indoors. “My drive to train comes from the competition circuit, not from rock,” he says. “Globally, this isn’t a strange concept, but here in Australia people are utterly perplexed that I’d pass up a weekend on rock because I feel it hinders my training.”

On the wall, Campbell moves efficiently, strongly and through instinct. He conserves energy using every “rest” he can find, but when he’s moving, he gives 100 per cent.

Ultimately, the 17-year-old hopes to make finals at a World Youth Championship and break into the IFSC World Cup circuit in Lead and Boulder.

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FAST FACTS

Nicknames: “Cambie”, derived from “Cambie B Bear”, but I can’t tell you what the “B” stands for!

Years climbing: 8

Height: 182cm

Area of study: Year 12 VCE

Sport/Trad/Boulder/Aid/Speed/Alpine: Sport and boulder. They are the most accessible of the disciplines, and they allow you to focus on the movement and challenge, which for me is what it’s all about.

Best crag: Centennial Glen, Blue Mountains

Fuel: Salad wraps

Shoe of choice: La Sportiva Python. They’re super versatile and I always trust them.

Favourite moment in climbing history: Seeing six Australians qualify for Lead semi-finals at the 2014 IFSC World Youth Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Hero: Jain Kim [South Korea] for her fluid style and sheer determination.

Ambitions: To make a World Cup podium.

Biggest weakness: My headspace.

Biggest strength: Pinches

Words to live by: “If getting strong was easy, everyone would do it.”

Sponsors: La Sportiva, Indoor Climbing Productions, Tri-Climbing

Causes I’m passionate about: Wheelchair accessibility

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CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Competitions (Indoor)

15th, Youth A Male category, 2014 IFSC World Youth Championships (Lead), Noumea, New Caledonia.
2nd, Open A Male category, 2014 Australian National Lead Championship.
1st, Youth A Male category, 2014 Australian National Lead Championship.
1st, Youth A Male category, 2014 Australian National Boulder Championship.
1st, Youth A Male category, 2013 IFSC Oceania Continental Championship (Lead), Noumea, New Caledonia.
1st, Youth A Male category, 2013 Australian National Lead Championship.

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Follow Campbell Harrison on Instagram @campbell_harrison_climbing
Blog: campbellharrisonclimbing.blogspot.com.au
Facebook athlete page: facebook.com/campbellharrisonclimbing

Photos by James Kassay