Moving on up

Young boulderites compete in American Bouldering Series Championship

Boulder is one of the best represented counties at this weekend’s division 2 American Bouldering Series regional championships in Tucson. The competition establishes which young  climbers will move on to the national championships in Colorado Springs later this year.

Boulder’s Team ABC is sending 33 climbers, and The Spot Bouldering Gym is sending three. With kid climbers from Arizona, Southern California, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Western Nebraska and Western Kansas on the walls, Boulder climbers have their work cut out for them, contending in the fiercely competitive division 2.

Last year, Team ABC won the national competition, with several notable climbers placing in the top three within their age groups.

It’s not surprising. Boulder kids tend to be a healthy lot – and rock climbing fits right into that equation. If kale is a super food, bouldering is a super sport. Boulder kids are eating it up.

Ian Dory (photo by Cole Fennel)

“Climbing challenges every part of the body both mentally and physically, and that translates to endurance and power,” explains Ian Dory, a youth coach and route setter at The Spot, where he works with and inspires young climbers. “You tend to see very smart people on the walls here – engineering types, people who are good at math, problem solvers.”

That description fits three Spot climbers who are competing in Tucson this weekend:

Laurel Melton

Laurel Melton

LAUREL MELTON, 15
Fairview High School Sophomore
Laurel started climbing in 5th grade when she was looking from gymnastics to another sport. Already strong from that undertaking, she fit right in on the wall. Last year Laurel took 8th place at the divisional competition. A 7th place standing is required to make the nationals cut — and this year Laurel just may have it in her. Laurel  takes a full schedule of courses and also studies German and the violin. “I spend a lot of time climbing because that’s what makes me better.”

Kyle Fridberg

Kyle Fridberg

KYLE FRIDBERG, 13
Southern Hills Middle School Eighth Grader
Kyle has been climbing since he was a pre-schooler. A part-time garage chemist, Kyle doesn’t always love school but he does love tinkering, creating and problem solving.  “I really enjoy the mental aspect of bouldering – it’s a mental game in my opinion, and of course I like the physical aspects as well.” Kyle explained to me how each competitor gets exactly four minutes to complete a climb, and can divide that time between sequencing (visually planning their route) and climbing. “Once you figure out the climb you have to complete it. Getting it done within those four minutes is the challenge.”

 

Madison Crowley

Madison Crowley

MADISON CROWLEY, 15
Fairview High School Sophomore
When Madison and her family relocated to Boulder from Washington state, they took a turn on the big climbing wall at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Flatiron’s Crossing Mall, and found themselves coming back to climb again and again. Then Dick’s put the kibosh on all this fun, shutting down the wall. Madison turned to The Spot in Boulder where she and her brother Michael, 13, now climb regularly. Despite an intense schedule of practices and academic demands, Madi says climbing helps her achieve balance. “I’m always nervous before I get on the wall, but once there I am concentrating completely. Afterwards I’m always in better mental shape.”

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