State climbing championships wrap up in Eagle
Competitors from 29 schools take on the routes at Eagle Climbing + Fitness
The American Scholastic Climbing League was formed in 2018 and seeks to connect all high school climbers in Colorado in an atmosphere of positive competition.
This year, however, the goal was to continue to host the competition, while minimizing the opportunities to connect.
After postponing the season a few months, organizers were able to pull off a full competition year in time for the end of the school year. The state championships took place in Eagle on Saturday and Sunday.
League Executive Director Theresa Morris said the American Scholastic Climbing League continued to attract roughly 500 competitors this season, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 190 competitors made it to state; organizer Chuck Lutz said a group of athletes from Gunnison, along with one competitor from Thomas MacLaren Charter School, traveled more than three hours to reach Eagle. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they were asked to leave the gym directly after climbing.
Gym owner Larry Moore said when word came down that teams would be allowed one spectator per state-qualified competitor, there was some relief among parents. Also, thanks to the layout of Eagle Climbing + Fitness, “some of our routes were visible from outside, where anyone could watch,” Moore said.
It was Eagle Climbing + Fitness’ second year hosting the American Scholastic Climbing League state championships. Last year, the event took place in February and was over in a single day. But this year’s pandemic restrictions, along with the large competition field, forced organizers to adapt events so large groups of teams were not intermingling. That meant bringing in one group to climb, waiting for 15 or 30 minutes, and then bringing another group to climb.
As a result, the state championships took two days to complete, at approximately 12 hours per day. It wrapped up at around 7 p.m. on Sunday with the announcing of the winners; Cherry Creek high school won the girls varsity state title and Denver South won the boys varsity event.
Several local competitors made it to state this year and Keegan O’Brien of Battle Mountain High School won the junior varsity boys event to lead the junior varsity boys team to third place overall on the year.
While Morris said she hopes she’ll never have to organize another event under pandemic restrictions again, the new format did teach the American Scholastic Climbing League one thing.
“We got the feel of a two-day event for state championships,” she said. “If the league keeps growing, we may have to go to a two-day format in the future.”
Moore winced at the idea of closing the gym to the public for another day every year, but said he’d be happy to accommodate.
“That’s what we’re here for,” he said.