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State Games: Rock climbing contest pits climbers vs. wall
The only conflict at the rock climbing portion of the Rocky Mountain State Games was man vs. wall.
Any competition between climbers was secondary as entrants worked tirelessly to fill their score sheet with new routes in what was a three-hour volume competition. Points were awarded for more difficult routes, but quantity was the focus.
And in climbing wall after all at CityROCK, a climbing center in downtown Colorado Springs, the 20 or so entrants — many in their teens or younger — were gaining valuable experience that may help them in future competitions or if they take their skills outdoors.
“This makes it easy for him to practice and learn the proper technique,” said Rick Scholtes, who was there to help and support his 12-year-old son, Ricky, in his first climbing competition.
As newcomers to the area, Scholtes and his family have embraced indoor rock climbing as not only a training ground for future outdoor endeavors, but as a fun activity for their two children (they also have a young daughter, Sophie).
Should either of those children venture outdoors to climb, the framework of knowledge will be in place to help keep them safe.
“You can get the climbing skill set in the gym, but in terms of the safety for outdoors it’s a whole other level for sure,” CityRock co-owner Tim Kranz said. “We try to highlight to people that, just because you can climb inside, it’s a big leap to go outside. There’s a lot to think about with safety.”
As a climbing guide, Kranz knows how important it is for anyone attempting to scale a vertical surface to have an understanding of the challenges and avoid picking up bad — and potentially dangerous — habits.
It wasn’t only youngsters scaling the indoor walls on Sunday, as competitors ranged in age up to 40. CityRock also hosted a State Games competition on Saturday, with 28 climbers competing in bouldering, which features shorter walls, no ropes, and more overhang climbing.
It’s the third year that CityRock has hosted a portion of the State Games, and Kranz said this was the best turnout he had seen.
And based on the age and complete engagement of the competitors, it’s a safe bet that number will rise.
“They really like this,” Scholtes said of his two kids. “This is just a lot of fun.”