All posts by chelswrites

Results: 2015 Bayside Boulder Bash

Emma Horan (ACT) and Tom Farrell (NSW) took out the Open A category at the 2015 Bayside Boulder Bash held Saturday 28 February in Carrum Downs, Victoria, each taking home cash prizes of $500. The competition attracted nearly 100 competitors, with about 20 per cent of entrants representing other states: South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Andrea Hah (NSW) qualified for finals in 1st place in womens – one of only two to complete all six qualifying boulder problems (Claire Langmore (Vic.) also topped them all with just one more attempt). In finals, it was Horan and 13-year-old Sienna Wong (Vic.) who topped the most problems (three each), with Horan needing fewer attempts. Wong placed 2nd, followed by Hah in 3rd.

In men’s, Tim Lockwood (Vic.) qualified for finals in 1st place, the only competitor to top five problems. Tom Farrell (NSW) qualified in 2nd place and was the only person to top three problems in the men’s final, securing a win. Daniel Fisher (ACT) topped one finals problem, taking second place before Jarred Jordan (NSW) in 3rd, who also topped one problem in one more attempt.

For highest placed Victorian Tim Lockwood, who hails from the country town of Natimuk, “The class of setting was top notch. Every problem was engaging and had you wanting to get back on as soon as you’d fallen off,” he tells Sport Climbing Victoria.

He was especially thrilled to unlock the slab problem in the final minutes of the qualifying boulder jam. “Really intricate climbing,” he describes.

Lockwood held his own in a field of strong competitors. Jordan was on the Australian Youth Climbing Team from 2012–2014. Fisher competed in World Youth Championships in 2011 and has climbed White Ladder (34) in Nowra, NSW. Farrell is ranked 16th in the 2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup.

“The World-Cup style final was a first for me,” says Lockwood. “It’s certainly good onsight training.”

“This competition showed me that while they are vastly different, competition climbing and outdoors climbing don’t have to be mutually exclusive. They share similar traits of onsighting under pressure and making quick decisions based on a repertoire of skills.”

In the women’s intermediate category, Rosalyn Blake (ACT), Amy Langmore (NSW) and Tanya Schulze (Vic.) placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. In men’s intermediate, 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were taken by Frederic Bonnet (Vic.), Daniel Teo (Vic.) and Tharatorn Supasiti (Vic.).

Photos from the event are available via Climb Media, here.
For more results, click here.

Photo by Climb Media

Sport Climbing Australia Seeks National Assistant Coach

Sport Climbing Australia is seeking a qualified candidate for National Assistant Coach.

The volunteer position involves assisting National Coach Will Hammersla in training and guiding the Australian Youth and Adult climbing teams for a period of three years, from 2015 to 2017.

Applications close Friday 20 March 2015.

More information here.

Questions? Contact Will Hammersla at secretary@sportclimbingaustralia.org.au.

Send applications to secretary@sportclimbingaustralia.org.au.

How to Reduce Your Impact

Easter is just around the corner, which means many of you may be heading outdoors to places like Arapiles and the Grampians.

The Grampians, Victoria’s world-class bouldering and climbing Mecca, has suffered several years of fire and flooding.

While many areas previously closed are now open, they’re still fragile and recovering.

We teamed up with CliffCare Victoria to bring you everything you should know about fire-affected climbing areas.


What happens in fires

“In really hot fires, like those that occurred in the Northern Grampians, it’s not just the canopies that burn,” explains Tracey Skinner, Access and Environment Officer at CliffCare Victoria. “Everything is burnt to the ground, which means there’s loose soil, and nothing to hold it together.”

How long do landscapes take to recover?

“It depends on rainfall and how badly they were burnt,” says Tracey. “In areas where the fire was really hot, there’s nothing left. They’re dependant on rainfall – to encourage the growth of new plants, whose root systems will hold soil together – but they’re also dependant on not having massive rainfall all at once, because with no vegetation to hold the soil, tracks wash out.”

How do authorities decide when to re-open a climbing area?

“CliffCare gets together with land managers – like Parks Victoria – and we ask ourselves, should we open it? Can the area handle traffic? Would people stay on this track? Would they only visit the specific crags that are open? When it comes to climbers, the answer, generally, is no. I suppose that’s where we shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes,” Tracey says.

“If authorities had their way, all of the areas in the Grampians affected by fire would benefit – environmentally – from not being open,” says Tracey. “We opened Taipan because we thought, Which of the areas can handle it more? The Stapylton area was in the best position, and was going to allow climbers and walkers to access a certain areas and alleviate the problem of all areas being closed for a huge amount of time.”

Deciding to climb in areas that are open, but clearly still fire-affected

“People need to say to themselves, Okay, does this area need lots of people heading in? Or are there other places I can climb to give it a bit of time to recover?” Tracey says. CliffCare is urging people to consider whether they should be climbing in areas that are officially open, but clearly still fragile and recovering.

“It comes down to people taking responsibility and doing the right thing,” she says.


How to reduce your impact

If you choose to visit areas that are open, but delicate, here are some tips to help you reduce your impact.

Stay on track

Stick to designated paths.
Why? Landscapes recovering from very hot fires – like those in the Grampians – are often lacking in groundcover. Plants can take years to re-establish themselves, and until they do, the landscape is vulnerable to invasive weeds.

These environmental nuisances are introduced via car tyres and people’s shoes. Unbeknownst to you, seeds stuck in the tread of your soles may hitch a ride and embed themselves in Grampians soil.

You might be wondering: Does it matter if weeds proliferate? The answer is yes. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve fallen in love with the Grampians. Part of what makes this place so special is its flora. Stubborn weeds (think Boneseed, which many community groups now organise working bees to eradicate in the You Yangs, in south central Victoria) outcompete native flora, which changes the landscape forever.

“This is also why we encourage people to give these areas time,” explains Tracey. “It gives the native vegetation a chance to establish itself before weeds are introduced.”

Do the right thing Find the old track, or find someone who knows where the old track used to go.

Avoid gullies

Don’t walk up gullies (a small valley or ravine).
Why? “When a landscape burns, because there’s no foliage, it becomes really easy to see the cliffs from far away,” says Tracey. “It’s tempting for climbers to make a bee-line for the cliff, and the path of least resistance is usually up a gully, which is a bad idea because it’s prone to erosion.”

“It can be tempting to take shortcuts when the track winds around,” she adds. “But often the track goes the way it does for a reason.”

Do the right thing Stick to established tracks. Don’t take shortcuts.

Small groups

Keep your numbers low.
Why? Limiting the amount of people you go into a crag with reduces foot-traffic – and spread of weeds. Sometimes, tracks are still composed of loose soil and can’t handle an influx of people. Also, sometimes the base of crags can’t handle large groups and lots of people throwing packs on the ground, which can disrupt delicate plants trying to grow.

Do the right thing Don’t go into recovering climbing areas with huge groups.


What’s OPEN/CLOSED?

Popular climbing areas

Summerday Valley – CLOSED
Hollow Mountain – CLOSED
Taipan Wall – OPEN
Bundaleer – OPEN
Mt Rosea – OPEN
Mt Difficult – CLOSED
Asses Ears – OPEN, but particularly delicate
Victoria Range – OPEN, but particularly delicate
Black Ians – OPEN
Black Range – CLOSED

Popular bouldering areas

Trackside – OPEN
Andersens – CLOSED
Kindergarten – CLOSED
Hollow Mountain Cave – CLOSED

Tracey Skinner is employed by CliffCare Victoria as Access and Environment Officer. Her role involves working with Parks Victoria, shire councils and other land managers to negiotiate access to climbing areas. She has held the position for eight years.

Photo by Simon Mentz

2015 Bayside Boulder Bash

Victoria’s first competition of the season kicks off Saturday 28 February with the 2015 Bayside Boulder Bash, held at Bayside Rock Climbing Gym, Carrum Downs.

This year, competitors can choose between two formats: the “Pumpfest” and “Boulder Jam”.

For recreational, social and first-time competitiors, the “Pumpfest” format gives participants two hours to attempt as many boulder problems as they wish. Climbers’ final scores are determined by their top six hardest climbs.

The “Boulder Jam” is a new format this year for Open A category competitors. Participants are given three hours to attempt boulder problems. Athletes are ranked according to the number of “tops” and “bonuses” as well as the number of attempts taken to achieve them. The six highest ranked males and six highest ranked females will compete in a World Cup–style final, consisting of four boulder problems, where each finalist is allocated four minutes to attempt each problem.

It’s a format similar to that employed for the 2014 Victorian State Boulder Championship, which was also held at Bayside Rock Climbing Gym and organised by gym owner and World Cup boulderer James Kassay.

“For the state titles, we had climbers from every state and territory in Australia travel over to compete,” says Kassay. “If people are considering travelling down for the Boulder Bash too, I decided to make it worth their while by introducing World Cup–style finals.”

The chance to compete in World Cup–style finals isn’t the only drawcard for aspiring athletes – Open A competitors compete for cash prizes.

What’s more, the competition is an opportunity for participants looking ahead toward qualifying for the Victorian State Boulder Championship and beyond.

“For anyone who plans to compete at Nationals, the Bayside Boulder Bash is good preparation,” advises Kassay.

Still, the event isn’t just for rising athletes wanting to test themselves against a World Cup–style format.

“The idea behind the Bayside Boulder Bash is it’s supposed to be a fun, social event,” James insists. For instance, placegetters in the Pumpfest category aren’t awarded prizes – instead, everyone who enters stands a chance to win spot prizes, simply for participating.

“It’s all about getting people to compete for the first time, and just having a lot of fun,” he says.

Every year, Bayside Boulder Bash is a fun day of varied, well-set boulder problems. Kassay, who is also head routesetter brings with him World Cup experience and an understanding of the nuances in creating thought-provoking, movement-based routesetting.

“A competition of this style is a lot of work, but it’s rewarding,” says Kassay. “And it’s an excuse for us to set a whole new bouldering cave of problems.”

Bayside Boulder Bash was launched in 2009, the year Bayside Rock Climbing Gym first opened it doors. Last year the competition attracted 80-100 participants.

Registration is open: http://goo.gl/forms/ISXDp9Cvhg

Media enquiries: contact@sportclimbingvictoria.com

Photo by James Kassay

Tell Us What You Want

survey

We’re here to represent you! Tell us what you want. Fill out this 10-minute survey and stand a chance to WIN a Sterling Marathon 10.1mm 50-metre rope worth A$269.95, generously provided by The Wilderness Shop. Enter the survey here: http://goo.gl/forms/UoCbm1M6az

Who are we?

Sport Climbing Victoria is the state governing body for the sport of climbing. We’re committed to building a stronger voice for climbing by connecting people, businesses and organisations. By working together, we can give Victorians better facilities, skills courses, instructional workshops, competitions and opportunities to join the community. We have exciting plans for 2015. Like us on Facebook to stay connected!

National Coach: Will Hammersla

Will Hammersla of Victoria was appointed National Coach by Sport Climbing Australia on 1 January.

The 26-year-old is an experienced coach. Hammersla started coaching young kids at local football clubs before taking on Bayside Rock Climbing Gym’s Development Squad (the gym’s top performers) in about 2011. The following year, he progressed to coaching Bayside’s Junior Team, and in 2013 formed and coached the Victorian State Team.

“One of the things I really want to focus on is supporting Open athletes,” says Hammersla. “That means getting them to training camps, sessions and involved in coaching the younger athletes and the progression of the sport at a competition level.”

Hammersla also envisions building a support network for state and regional coaches. “One person can only do so much, but if that one person can empower 20 people across the nation, we’ll have much better coaching being delivered to athletes at their home gyms,” he says.

At this year’s National Youth Team Tryouts being held at Bayside Rock Climbing Gym in Carrum Downs, Victoria, on 28-29 March, he’s holding a National Coaches’ Conference. “I want to get all coaches in the same room so we can talk about what visions we have individually,” he says.

Hammersla also hopes to reach out to athletes living in far-flung towns. “We have the opportunity to harness the digital age by providing online resources to athletes, especially those who live in remote areas,” he says. Hammersla has athletes in the Northern Territory that he’s hoping to train by correspondence: “It’s really about embracing the digital concept and providing resources for everybody everywhere in Australia.”

On 23-25 January, a National Youth Training Camp will be held at Bayside Rock where participants can experience climbing to the standard that will be set at the National Youth Team Tryouts in March, where young kids will vie for a spot on the National Team.

“My advice for young climbers trying to get on the team is, if you want to climb hard, you have to try. Athletes don’t get strong by only repetitively climbing at grades below their maximum. You have to really push your boundaries,” he says. “If you never get on a hard climb, you’re never going to climb it. So don’t be afraid.”

Hammersla originally hails from Iowa, United States, but has been living in Australia for the past 16 years. Outdoors, he has onsighted grade 26 in the Grampians, Victoria, and bouldered V10.

Photo by James Kassay

2014 Australian National Boulder Championship

James Kassay (Vic.) and Claire Langmore (Vic.) won the Open A Men’s and Open A Women’s titles respectively at the Australian National Boulder Championship held at the KCC centre in Katooma 17-19 October as part of the Australian Climbing Festival. The IFSC Oceania International Open 2014 was held in conjunction, with athletes travelling from abroad to compete in New South Wales.

Finishing the qualification round in equal first with Ben Cossey (NSW) and Callum Hyland (Tas.), Kassay took the lead in the semi-final round – the only competitor to top four problems. (Sam Bowman (Qld.) topped two problems and the remaining competitors topped either one or none.) Stretching his lead in the final, 29-year-old Kassay was the only competitor top two problems, taking the win.

In the women’s, Langmore topped five problems in qualifications, entering the semi-final in equal first with Liting Xu (Int.) and Sophie King (NSW). Emma Horan (ACT) topped the most boulders (three) in the semi-final, but it was Langmore who was the only competitor to top a boulder in the final, securing a win.

Karen Allan (NSW) and Phil Staples (NSW) won the Masters Female and Masters Male categories respectively. Junior Female and Junior Male categories were taken by Ali Roush (SA) and Sam Bowman (Qld.). Youth A Female and Male winners were Roxy Perry (Tas.) and Campbell Harrison (Vic.) respectively.

This year is the first time the Australian National Boulder Championship was held outside a climbing gym facility and on purpose-built walls.

Winners Langmore and Kassay were also fresh off the Boulder World Circuit, taking them to places as far-flung as Vail, Colorado, and Baku, Azerbaijan. Kassay made it to finals twice out of six competitions against an international field.

For more Australian National Boulder Championship results, click here.

Photo by Yvette Harrison

2014 IFSC World Youth Championship

Nearly 400 young climbers from around the world flocked to the idyllic island city of Noumea, New Caledonia, to participate in the 2014 IFSC World Youth Championships on 19-23 September.

In Junior Male, Sam Bowman (Qld.) placed 12th, followed by Matthew Tsang (NSW) in 15th, Jarred Jordon (NSW) in 26th and James Davidson (NSW) in 27th. In Youth A Male, Campbell Harrison (Vic.) placed 15th, followed by Bryson Klein (NSW) in 34th and Sam Newton (NSW) in 45th. In Youth A Female, Roxy Perry (Tas.) placed 22nd while Sarah McKenzie (Vic.) placed 32nd. In Youth B Male, Rhys Brandon (Qld.) placed 21st.

For more results, visit IFSC here.

Photo by Yvette Harrison

Comps, Comps, Comps!

By Campbell Harrison

I’ve been super busy training and keeping up with school at the same time. Recently I competed in a string of three consecutive State Championships: Tasmanian State Boulder Championship, Queensland State Lead Championship and New South Wales State Lead Championship.

Tasmania

The first of the three saw me in Tasmania. I approached this competition with a bit of anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I love to boulder, but I’ve never been particularly successful in competition.

Qualifiers were a bit rough for me. I got my usual boulder competition jitters during the first couple of problems and tunnel vision had set in. However, I still managed to top all the problems and put myself in third place going into the finals. And I was intent on having a better run in the final round.

Observation time revealed a set of five problems, considerably more difficult than those in the qualifying round. The first problem consisted of a slab-to-slab leap across a gap hanging from a small, swinging wooden ball that proved too much for all but a few who managed to nab the bonus, just. I moved forward onto problem two very optimistically, because it looked to be my style. However, just as I moved to match the final hold on my first attempt, I slipped, and I just couldn’t make my way back through the final move of the steep and slightly pumpy problem. Problem three took me four attempts, but I managed to top it, being the only climber to claim victory on the problem. The fourth problem, I flashed. I felt strong and technical, much better than the previous round. The fifth and final problem was ever so slightly overhanging on tiny little edges that I just couldn’t fully take hold of, but I scored myself a bonus in one attempt.

Despite a relatively small number of tops, I was, overall, very happy with my climbing, and I had managed to take out first place with two tops in four attempts. Second place was close behind with one top for one attempt, and the remaining places were decided between bonuses and countback. It was reassuring to know that when I really tried to relax and prepare myself right, I could pull my way through the bouldering comp with a clear mindset and climb strong.

The event was hosted by Rock It Climbing Centre, a shiny new gym that recently popped up in Hobart CBD. As the first state level competition that the gym hosted, the organisers were, of course, nervous, but certainly delivered with an awesome day.

Queensland

My next competition took place one week later at Urban Climb, Queensland. I’d never been to Queensland before, so I was excited. During first qualifier, I called my first ever technical (on the advice of both my belayer and my judge) after falling due to a hold poorly placed under a folded quick draw. After having the draw removed, my second attempt went much more smoothly. I fell in the midst of the final move. The second qualifier ended with a top for myself and a number of others, meaning that I was in equal first for the final. The final was very short with a high crux, and my entire category split by about three moves. I managed to take out Youth A by a plus. That gave me my second Youth A Lead victory this year, continuing a good season in the Youth category.

The Opens consisted of one of the largest fields I’ve seen at an Australian state-level competition. With well over 30 competitors, finals was looking like it might be a real challenge. Luckily, I got through both qualifiers and went into finals again in equal first place with two other athletes, Matthew Tsang (NSW) and Matthew Cochrane (QLD). The trend carried through to the finals, with four of us scoring to the same hold! The fourth athlete, Sam Bowman, had skipped a draw that prevented him from topping the first qualifier, putting him down into fourth place. The remaining three of us were split on time, putting Matt Tsang in third, myself in second and Matthew Cochrane into first. While I had a lot of fun on the route, and I was super happy for Matt, no part of me was okay with my final result in the circumstances, especially after having worked so hard to make myself a slower, more efficient climber. But there was no more I could have done, so I’ve simply moved on and vowed to always climb further.

New South Wales

My last competition of the month was the New South Wales State Lead Championship at The Edge Rock Climbing Centre in Castle Hill. The walls at this gym were much taller than at my last competition, coming in at 18 metres in height. I was perhaps lacking the endurance I’ve had in the past, but one of my strengths in comps has always been pulling through despite being pumped. My first qualifier in Youth A was long, but I managed to find a nice knee bar to take the pressure off before topping the route, followed by a top on my second route, which consisted of mostly positive holds to a final face on small, sloped jibs.

Qualifying again in first, things were still looking up, and I was only a step away from taking victory at every state lead title in the Youth A category. The only thing standing in my way was this one route, and the only issue for any of us, we thought as myself and my fellow competitors mapped out the route from the ground, would be the sequence… Man, the sequence… I worked my way through the majority of the route only to pull myself into the completely wrong position, with my right hand on a hold that I then realised was clearly set as a left. Normally in this instance I panic, desperately try to match the hold and throw for the next with no hope. But I stopped, shook out, and considered my options. Calmly I moved down the route through some tough compression moves, and worked my way back up to a top. My third title was in my grasp. While perhaps I could have climbed better, I was, and still am, infinitely happy with my ability to think under pressure, and knowing that my hard work is paying off.

Opens went well, with double tops for myself and a number of others, bringing it all down to the final, which appeared to be mostly comprised of big, nasty slopers, then on to smaller edges before some big moves to the route’s finish. The men were able to watch the women’s final prior to competing, since our route was in a different section of the gym. Hats off to Lucy Stirling, who topped the route in effortless style, but a special mention to Olivia Campton who put in a stellar effort to place a well-earned second.

The crowd gave me no hint as to how the final was going, so I tuned out completely and tried focus on my climbing. I pulled onto the wall and worked my way through a funky start up to an overhanging delight of slopes and pinches. Each hold felt infinitely better than I had imagined, and I moved up through the route past some crimps into a nice left hand before a big push to what turned out to be a terrible little sloper. I clung to the hold for dear life and somehow, I managed to stay on the wall, bring my foot up nice and high for a final pop to the last hold. Before I knew it, my rope was through the draw and I was done.

I’m so happy with how the past couple weeks have played out. I think I’m climbing better than I ever have before, and I’m managing, so far, to keep my head together amongst it all. There’s so much training to do before I’m truly ready to head to Worlds, and this will be my focus in the next seven weeks leading up to Nationals.

Photo by Naomi Benjamin

This is a version of a blog post originally published at campbellharrisonclimbing.blogspot.com.au. This edited post appears here with permission. Visit Campbell’s blog for more.

Campbell Harrison is sponsored by La Sportiva, Tri-Climbing and ICP.

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