Young climbers from across north Wales set their sights high, as they looked to impress with their performance during a competition held last weekend, at the Beacon
indoor climbing wall in Waunfawr.
The event was held as a means of gauging interest in a future North Wales Youth Climbing Academy and to aid any selection process. Thanks to the effort of the organisers and a team of enthusiastic volunteers the day was a great success.
The competition was divided into male and female, with five age-group splits among the eight to seventeen year-olds. Competitors were allowed three attempts at each of the three routes and three boulder problems set for the competition, each worth a hundred points and sixty points respectively. Points were proportionally awarded according to how close the climber got to completing the route or problem. Only those climbers over fourteen years-old led routes.
Despite it being a competition, the thirty-seven competitors were generous with their shouts of encouragement. In particular, the top two places in the Boys 14-15 year-old age group was a hotly fought contest with Sam Davies from Blaenau just beating Prestatyn's Alex Kitts to top the group.
Feedback on individuals suitability for Academy selection was provided by an independent group of observers made up of Steve Long (Mountain Leader Training), Jon Ratcliffe (Indy Climbing Wall Manager), Emma Twyford (DMM sponsored climber) and Pete Robins (DMM sponsored climber). Fred Hall, Technical Director from the Llanberis based climbing manufacturer DMM
, handed out prizes to the the top three finishers in each group (download results
The Head Coach of the Beacon Climbing Centre in Waunfawr, Mark Dicken, said: "The young climbers not only have to show the potential to successfully compete but also exhibit the necessary drive, determination and character. The size of the Academy won't be cast in stone but we need to have a cohesive squad of about twenty climbers."
He added: "The concept of the Academy has been well received and organisers are working with potential funders to set it up and run the first event early in the New Year. The Academy's aim is to develop children and young people resident in north Wales, within any climbing discipline, ensuring that they are happy, safe and prepared to compete successfully at a national level."
If it goes ahead the Academy would run fortnightly coaching sessions, with two masterclasses from an invited coach every twelve weeks at the various indoor walls in the area. Climbing is one of eight sports that are being considered for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. It could even be a youngster from the Youth Climbing Academy who goes on to represent Wales at climbing in those Games.
After seventeen years at its current location in the old Marconi building, big changes are afoot for The Beacon Climbing Centre. Shortly after Christmas, work will get underway on constructing a state of the art climbing facility at its planned new base in the former Barcud Studio on Caernarfon's Cibyn Industrial Estate. This location is significantly larger with easy access and extensive car parking, while the leading walls will be four metres higher than they are currently.Related News Item: North Wales Climbing AcademyPhotos (© Ray Wood):top:
Archie Ball on his way to winning the boys 8 to 9 year-old age group. middle:
Plenty of action to watch for spectators and climbers waiting their turn.lower:
Eight year-old Ruby Wood completing a blue-marked boulder problem during the competition.
Topic: Indoor Climbing in North Wales, Beacon Climbing Centre, North Wales Youth Academy.
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