Young athlete competes at climbing competition |

Young athlete competes at climbing competition

Daily staff report
Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY — Young athletes from the Vail Athletic Club Climbing Team have been doing well in national events. Benji Dantas qualified for, and competed in, the recent USA Climbing Youth National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

That event reported a record attendance of 500 athletes. Due to the tremendous growth of youth competitive climbing, about 15 percent annually, two World Cup climbing walls were erected in the Monona Terrace Convention Center to host the event. Live video coverage of the event allowed spectators from across the nation to view the competition.

The young climbers, between the ages of 9 and 18, qualified for the national championships through a series of events culminating at the divisional championships in January. These invitation-only events took place at eight different climbing gyms throughout the nation, with the top six athletes in each age category advancing to the national stage. The Vail Athletic Club Climbing Team sent nine athletes to the divisional championships in Ogden, Utah, last month, after placing fourth as a team at the Regional Championships.


All of the Vail Athletic Club athletes climbed well at this event. Oliver Chantler barely missed qualifying for nationals, missing by 0.01 points. Ethan Pitcher also barely missed qualifying for nationals by one single hold on a climb. Dantas qualified for his fourth straight national championships.

This is Dantas’ first year in a new age category, making him one of the younger athletes in his age group who qualified for nationals. Dantas placed 26th in the competition.

For more information about the Vail Athletic Club Climbing Team, email Larry Moore at

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