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Victorian Russell Harrison Heads to New Zealand

Paraclimbing has been seen at numerous state and national climbing competitions in Australia for a number of years now, but in 2019, Sport Climbing Australia selected a Paraclimbing team for international competition for the first time. Three athletes are heading to Briançon, France to represent Australia at the IFSC World Paraclimbing Championships in July: Eddie Sparks, Marc Altmann and myself.

On the 18-19 May, I competed at the Climbing New Zealand National Championships in Auckland. The format was two qualification rounds and an onsight final, all climbed on top rope. With only four paraclimbers competing, I was guaranteed to have three routes to climb. The other competitors in the category consisted of a marathon running ice climber, a Paralympian and a climber that finished one spot off the podium at last year’s Paraclimbing World Championships in Innsbruck.

After viewing the forerunning videos, I went through my warm up which seemed to add to my nervousness. I was climbing second on the first qualification route and watched the first climber top. As I tied in and pulled onto the wall, I began to feel a little more at ease with each move. I climbed the bottom section easily but fell off a small crimp a few holds from the top. Although a little disappointed, my climbing felt controlled and efficient.

Qualification 2 saw me climb last and I watched 2 of the 3 climbers before me top the route. This route consisted of a difficult traverse across a steep wall and then up into a hard sequence as the wall angle tapered off for the last few moves to the top. I again climbed reasonably well until I lost my feet as I tried to move into the final section. I fought hard to regain an effective position but was unable to recover and fell.

The final looked to be a few grades harder and finished on what seemed from the ground to be a very thin horizontal edge. It was going to be a very difficult finish for anyone who managed to get there. Second out, I fell a dozen moves in as I threw my left hand up trying to latch a small jug. I didn’t hit the hold cleanly and slipped off. My finish was a long way from the eventual high point and the final route remained un-topped. But, with two climbers getting within a couple of holds from the top, I think the setters got it right with the final they set.

Overall, I had a really great time and am looking forward to my next two competitions, the Imst (Austria) Paraclimbing Masters and the Paraclimbing World Championships in Briançon during July. I’d like to sincerely thank Sport Climbing Victoria, Sport Climbing Australia and Climbing New Zealand for their support of adaptive sports and paraclimbing.


– Russell Harrison, Australian Paraclimbing Team Member

International Competition Results

Victorian athletes have been busy in April and May heading to China and Germany to represent Australia on the world cup stage.

First stop for our athletes was Chongqing, China held from 26 – 28 April, 2019.  We had athletes competing in both Boulder and Speed disciplines.  In Speed, Victorians demonstrated their hard work setting Australian Speed records.  Ned Middlehurst has set the official men’s time at 8.83 seconds and Oceana Mackenzie set the womens with a time of 9.642 seconds.

In Boulder we had Ned Middlehurst, Campbell Harrison and Oceana Mackenzie representing Victoria coming 69th, 86th and 45th respectively competing in harsh whether conditions.

For full results, click here.

Next stop was Wujiang, China held from 3 – 5 May, 2019 where Mackenzie beat her own Chongqing speed record to reset the record at 9.589 seconds. In an ever growing team, we also had Grace Crowley attend her very first Speed competition finishing with a time of 14.878. Finally in speed, Middlehurst finished with a time of 9.289 which wasn’t enough to beat his previous record.

In Boulder, Victoria was represented by Harrison and Middlehurst who tied in 67th and Mackenzie who finished in 33rd.

For full results, click here.

The last stop for our Victorian athletes was Munich, Germany from 18 – 19 May, 2019.  We had one athlete, Mackenzie, make the trip to Europe with boulder the only discipline. Mackenzie continued her stellar performance for 2019 making it into Semi’s for her second time this year.  Mackenzie finished in 17th after a tough semi final round that saw only 5 tops total – four were from the extremely talented Janja Garnbret and the only other athlete to get a top was Ievgniia Kazbekova on women’s problem two.

For full results, click here.

Congratulations to all our Victorian athletes! Making the transition to the international stage is an amazing achievement! While there is one more boulder world cup to be held in Vail, USA, the Victorian athletes are now turning their attention to the 2019 lead season starting in July.


Sport Climbing Victoria’s Proposal to Get Organised

On Tuesday 1 May, Sport Climbing Victoria’s (SCV) President Phil Goebel put pen to paper to publish our views on the current Grampians Access issues being discussed within the climbing community and a potential way forward.

To view the full article, click here.

While there are many opinions on how it should be done, it is abundantly clear that climbers believe there should be a unified community to help bolster our voice in this issue and future issues that may be presented to us.

Regardless of if you are an indoor climber, an outdoor climber, boulderer or lead climber, we are one community and now is the time to band together.

Oceana Mackenzie has done it again!

Oceana Mackenzie has continued to impress making the final round at the recent IFSC Boulder World Cup held in Meiringen Switzerland from 5-6 April, 2019. Mackenzie becomes only the second female to make finals (Sam Berry has completed this feat 3 times) and joins only a handful of Australians (male or female) to do the same.

Mackenzie qualified for semi-finals in 10th place in her heat just scraping in with the top 10 from each heat progressing.  In semi-finals, being one of the first climbers to start, Mackenzie endured a long wait to see if she would qualify for finals.  After a nervous wait, Mackenzie made it through with 3 tops and 3 zones.

The climbing community back in Victoria were thrilled sending well wishes to the already very successful Mackenzie.  Many stayed up through the night to watch her compete in finals at 3am local time.  Mackenzie finished in 6th place in only her second bouldering world cup.

We are very excited to see what Oceana Mackenzie will achieve in the next 12 months!

Mackenzie will be back representing Australia this weekend at the Chongqing World Cup alongside fellow Victorians Campbell Harrison and Ned Middlehurst.

Good luck to all the athletes competing this weekend!

*Thank you to Sytse van Slooten for the images.


Upcoming Events

Get excited for the competitions to continue in May!

For all Victorian athletes we have the 2019 Victorian State Speed Titles:

Event Details

Where: Gravity Worx, 182-184 Sussex St, Pascoe Vale, Victoria
When:  Saturday 11 May, 2019
Time:   Competitor registration opens at 3pm

To register for the event, click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

If you are unable to compete but still want to help out please click here to register to volunteer:


For our Youth Athletes there is the 2019 Youth National Championships:

Event Details

Where: SICG Villawood, 5/850 Woodville Road, Villawood NSW
When:  Friday 24 May – Sunday 26 May, 2019

To register for the event, click here.

Please note: You have to qualify to compete in nationals.  If you have automatically qualified you will have received an email offering you a place on the team.  If you have not heard from SCV and wish to compete, please contact us at


Good luck to all the competitors!

Climb for Grampians!

CliffCare needs your help! You will have heard the discussions regarding the recent changes to access within the Grampians.  CliffCare are currently working tirelessly with Parks Victoria to ensure climbers continue to have access to the national park. CliffCare is run exclusively by volunteers and therefore need all the help they can get.

On Wednesday 8 May, 2019 for every person who climbs at one of the participating gyms^ $5 will be donated to CliffCare and any purchases made at participating retailers* 10% of retail revenue will be donated. A massive thank you to all the gyms and stores participating.

Adelaide’s Bouldering Club^
Bayside Rock^
Bogong Equipment*
Cliffhanger Indoor Rock Climbing Gym^
Climbing Anchors*
Gravity Worx^
The Lactic Factory^
Northside Boulders^
North Walls Indoor Climbing^
The Rock Adventure Centre^
Urban Climb Collingwood^
The Wilderness Shop*

To register your interest and to find out more, click here.

Please ensure you respect all the bans currently in place as they will be enforced.  You can keep track of the bans and access through the CliffCare website.

We hope all members continue to leave no trace when heading to the Grampians and respect the Traditional Owners of the Gariwerd region and their cultural sites and heritage.

Adaptive Climbing Victoria

February saw Adaptive Climbing Victoria run its first  Come-and-Try event, open to people of all abilities. Adaptive climbing is rock climbing that is adapted to the needs of the participant, for example using harnesses that offer upper body support or an extra pair of helping hands on the wall.

There was a lot of interest from people keen to climb, as well as from volunteers, which made for an exciting first event. Everyone picked up new skills on the day. Some participants had climbed before whereas others were taking the leap, supported by friends and family, experienced climbers, coaches and allied health professionals.

Adaptive Climbing Victoria look forward to offering future events in a similar format and we are looking for volunteers with skills in administration, project management and web-based communications to help enable us to roll this out to everyone interested.

Please contact Katie at if you’re interested!

State Lead Title Results – March

It has been another big month of competitions in March with three state titles happening around Australia.  The month started with the Paddy Pallin 2019 Tasmanian State Lead Titles followed by the Mammut 2019 QLD Youth State Lead Titles and then this past weekend was the Pirate Life 2019 SA State Lead Titles.  We have continued to see representation from Victoria at all these events.


Paddy Pallin 2019 Tasmanian State Lead Titles

Tasmania hosted their titles on the first weekend of March from the 1 – 2 March, 2019 held at Rock It. We had 4 Victorians make the trip south from Youth D through to Masters:

  • Faye McKenzie: 3rd Masters Female
  • Sarah McKenzie: 7th Open A Female
  • Zoe Puglisi: 1st Youth C Female
  • Jamie Wong: 1st Youth D Female

For full results, click here.


Mammut 2019 QLD Youth State Lead Titles

Queensland hosted their Youth State Lead Titles next on 9 – 10 March, 2019 at Urban Climb West End. For the second year, they have opted to split their Open and Youth state titles with their Open titles being held later in the year to cater for the change in the Nationals date. Again 4 Victorians made the trip north to compete:

  • Ned Middlehurst: 2nd Junior Male
  • Alyssa Schneider: 5th Youth A Female
  • Maya Stusiuk: 1st Youth C Female
  • Jamie Wong: 2nd Youth D Female

For full results, click here.


Pirate Life 2019 SA State Lead Titles

Finally for March the SA State Lead Titles happened yesterday 23 March, 2019 at Vertical Reality Climbing Gym.  We had a very large representation with 11 competitors making the trip west to compete:

  • Louise Doig: 1st Masters Female
  • Bronte Wiggins: 2nd Youth A Female
  • Oliver Burch: 1st Youth A Male
  • Liam Buchanan: 3rd Youth A Male
  • Jessica Buchanan: 3rd Youth B Female
  • Jack Burch: 1st Youth B Male
  • Zoe Puglisi: 2nd Youth C Female
  • Kiara Burch: 3rd Youth C Female
  • Olivia Burge: 4th Youth C Female
  • Andrew Burge: 3rd Youth C Male
  • Jaime Wong: 1st Youth D Female

For full results, click here.


Congratulations to all the competitors!

That wraps up the state lead titles for the 2019 season.  The next event is the 2019 Youth National Championships being held from 24 – 26 May, 2019 in NSW at SICG Villawood. Good luck to all the Victorian youth competitors hoping to join the Australian Youth Team.


*Did you compete at one of these events and your name is missing? Please contact us at to let us know.

Victorian State Lead Titles

What a weekend! Over two massive days Cliffhanger hosted the Victorian State Lead Titles and with the tallest walls in Australia and over 150 competitors – the largest competition we have ever hosted – the only thing that was guaranteed was pumped forearms!

Daniel Fisher (ACT) took out the Open A Male division with a solid performance on all three routes and clinched it from an in-form Campbell Harrison (fresh from his NSW State Titles win) by a single hold in the final, with James Kassay finishing in third. In the Open A Female division Oceana Mackenzie was the clear winner and we are excited to see what the year brings for her as she travels internationally to represent Australia. Lucy Stirling (QLD) and Charlotte Garden (TAS) took out second and third respectively. It was fantastic to see so many interstate athletes making the trip down to challenge the Victorians and hopefully some of our athletes can return the favour in the coming weeks! The youth competition was also a packed event with some of the most determined little athletes we’ve ever seen along with the seasoned Youth A and Junior competitors, some of whom also made their mark in the Open A category.

For full results of all categories, click here.

Para-climbing featured for the second time in a Victorian state competition, with Eddie Sparks and Russell Harrison competing. Eddie would love to have more competitors in this division so please encourage any who may be interested to get involved. In support of this initiative, Adaptive Climbing Victoria will be running meet up groups this year for anyone interested and all abilities are welcome.

Visit the Adaptive Climbing Facebook group to keep up-to-date.

Thanks must go to all the SCV and SCA officials; in particular Jury President Steph Gooden, Head Judges Gaetan Riou & Phil Goebel, and Head Setter Sam Junker, along with their dedicated teams of route-setters and volunteers.

Thanks also go to the event sponsors Cliffhanger for sponsoring the massive $1000 Open A winning cash prize – not to mention hosting the event over two days! – and Bogong Equipment for the second and third place prizes. TNUT were also a major sponsor and provided sets of delicious new holds for the finals! We also had minor sponsors providing heaps of swag that everyone was in the running for through random prize draws including: Carmans, Patagonia, Rock Hardware, Trees Adventure, Grampians Edge Caravan Park, Climbing Anchors and OMA Shopfitting who provided the wood for our brand new podium.

A final thank you to all the competitors and spectators for making it a great event with a fantastic atmosphere and some impressive climbing on display.  We wish all the climbers the best of luck with what will be a fantastic year of competition in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and we look forward to following all the action.

– James Gooden, Sport Climbing Victoria Board Member