High Altitude Climbing Competition Goes Off Without a Hitch!

*Original Post: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

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On March 22nd, High Altitude Fitness held the first climbing competition at this location in three years. We started the morning with the first Northern California Regional Sport Climbing Series competition. Our kid’s climbing team, Flash, represented HAF and showcased the exponential growth that our climbing program has seen since September 2013. These kids are spectacular. The majority of them have been climbing for less than a full year, but you’d never know it. They possess grace on the wall, technique, and stamina that the universe affords only to those who don’t yet know the meaning of “pumped.”

Two of our youngest, fiercest, and newest competitors, Marina and Alana Hendricks showed us just how psyched they are; Marina took 5th in the Youth Female D category for SCS and 1st in the beginner category for the Tahoe Top-Out. Alana, nipping at her sister’s heals, took 3rd in the Youth Female D category for SCS and 2nd in the same category for the Tahoe Top-Out. Both youngsters have been climbing for less than 6 months.

Another promising Flasher, Sam Keechler, came in at 2nd place in the Youth Male A category, a feat that coaches attribute to his “have-fun and send hard” attitude. Ask Sam, this attitude was not built in a day. Climbing can be frustrating, challenging, and at times, downright daunting. Our climbers are learning how to overcome the obstacles and reach the top, and it seems they are intent on doing it together. Aside from the aforementioned competitors, I can’t help but brag about Stefan Fellner, who jumps around the top three spots in his category at nearly every comp. On Saturday, he walked away with 2nd place, sharing the number one podium spot with his buddy from Granite Arch’s climbing team. Stefan and his most fierce competition are great friends, which is a testament to the camaraderie of the sport. When you have two twelve-year-olds, who are competing for first place, cheering each other on…well, that is something special. 

Stefan’s brother Brennan and teammate James Olson also stood on the podium on Saturday, Brennan in 3rd for Youth Male D, and James sneaking up and stealing 2nd in Youth Male D. Have I made my point? These kids ROCK. Literally.

 I can’t help but feel swollen with pride after the turnout on March 22nd. The kids are at the center of my heart, so naturally they got the first highlight. But the success of our competition is owed to much more than having a kids team that can send. Our route setters, Owner, Jason Burd, Pro-Athlete, Flannery Shay-Nemirow, and V10+ climbers, Eric Wolff and Dustin Sabo are some of the best. These guys spent a week of eleven-hour-days preparing the gym, setting awesome routes (with tons of sweet brand new holds), and helping us plan out the details of the event. It is thanks to Flannery, a long time USA Climbing competitor who took on the role of “competition manager,” that the day went off without a hitch!

The community support was palpable, from the many sponsors (local and commercial) who donated prizes for winners and raffles, to parents who slaved over hot ovens to bring tasty treats for the bake sale; we have a LOT to be thankful for! 

So thank you; to the competitors who kept us psyched all day, the spectators and parents who supported the amazing climbing that took place all day, our sponsors, and our dedicated team here at HAF, who help keep our day-to-day operations, AND our special events running smoothly. Stay tuned for tons more excitement coming to and from High Altitude Fitness!

Contributed by Kyra Fritz, HAF climbing coach and behind-the-scenes staffer, extraordinaire!