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Eagle Climbing to host USA Climbing qualifier event

Region 41 competition will bring athletes from southern Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas

Battle Mountain’s Aiden Manning gets ready to make the next move at Monkey House in Carbondale. Manning will compete Saturday at Eagle Climbing and Fitness in the USA qualifier event.
Edward Farrell/Courtesy photo.

Saturday will be busy at Eagle Climbing and Fitness.

The gym is hosting a USA Climbing Youth Lead/Top Rope (TR) qualifying event, bringing together the best young climbers in the five-state Region 41 area. Athletes will aim to qualify for the region championships in Oklahoma this April. From there, they can theoretically move on to one of nine division championships across the country, with the national championship awaiting the best from those fields.

“The fact that our small community has the ability to host a qualifying event is kind of a big deal,” gym owner Larry Moore explained.



Moore’s gym also hosts competitions for the American Scholastic Climbing League (ASCL).

“The ASCL is a very inclusive league,” he told the Vail Daily earlier this season. “The idea is kind of just to introduce people to the sport, get them involved, get in and experience, (and) take them to the competitive realm at whatever speed and level they are comfortable with.”



USA Climbing events are typically more competitive, with international team-births on the line. The three disciplines of bouldering, lead/TR and speed are contested in separate seasons throughout the year.

Over 100 athletes have registered for this lead/TR event, including local climbers Aiden Manning and Nicholas Olson, both of whom qualified for the national championships in 2021, an event which serves as Team USA’s youth national team tryout.

Manning, who competes for Battle Mountain’s ASCL club team, got sick at the USA Climbing divisional competition for bouldering the week before the ASCL state championships on Feb. 26, and was held out. “She probably would have won,” said Moore, who attended the event in Broomfield. “I know her well enough to know how strong she climbs.”

Iris Sheldon and Elliot Gray-Lopresti are two other promising climbers Moore said fans should have their eyes on.

Hosting the event has required all hands on deck.

“We’ve been planning for quite some time,” he said.

Moore’s experienced route-setting team has a reputation for putting together high quality, challenging routes. In order to host, gyms need a level two route setter, a fairly significant task, according to the Denver native who has been teaching climbing in the valley for 21 years.

“We have a level three, a level two, and several level one route-setters. So, we have a very high qualified team of setters that put together the climbs,” he stated.

“That’s part of the reason we’ve been chosen, even as a smaller gym in a very remote location. There’s gyms on the front range that we beat out for this event.”

Juniors (birth year 2003/2004) and Youth A (2005/2006) and B (2007/2008) athletes will lead climb, while younger athletes in Youth C (2009/2010) and D (2011 or later) divisions contest top rope.

“It’s a more introductory style of climbing as you are protected the entire time,” Moore described of the younger athletes’ distinction.

In lead climbing, athletes attempt to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15 meters in height within six minutes. The rope is attached to the climber — not the top of the route — who clips into quick draws on the way up, providing “protection as you go,” according to Moore. This more advanced style is seen in the World Cup and Olympics.

As big of an event as Saturday’s is, the climbing year will only heat up in the coming months. In June, the North American Cup will come to Vail as part of the GoPro Mountain Games.

“Canada, U.S. and Mexico — it’s a big series of competitions,” Moore described of the world-class series.

USA Climbing Youth Lead/TR qualifier at Eagle Climbing and Fitness

Session 1: (Youth A/Youth C)

9:00-12:00 a.m.

Session 2: (Youth D/Youth B/Junior)

1:00-4:00 p.m.

 


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