It is May 5th and I wince every time my finger tips touch one of the keys on my key board. I just got back from Annapolis Royal where I put in a full day sesh with some of the most determined and passionate climbers I have ever met. Oh, did I mention they are a bunch of high school students who for the most part have been climbing for less then a year.
Flash Back: January 9th
I received an email from Adam C, a teacher from West Kings District High School, asking me to go and
help out with a youth comp at the wall in his high school. On February 22nd Taylor K and I drove to West Kings with a car full of climbing holds and prizes. We walk in to the high school and meet a small devoted climbing crew based out of the Valley; Derick S, Adam C, Phil C and David A. After shaking hands we get right into it and set late into the night! At 830 the next morning you can see the excitement and anticipation in the eyes of the youth as they arrive for their first climbing competition. In all my years of being in the climbing community I have never seen anyone try as hard as those youth did that day. After an inspiring qualifiers Dillon L, Amos P, Conner B, and Daiki M head to the finals for the men and Rebekah H, Lobke R for the women.
It was amazing to see these competitors dig deep into there empty tanks and find the energy to pull harder then most climbers ever do, one climber had a broken hand and still earned himself a place in finals.. Lobke dug deep and ended up sending every finals problem, but Rebekah really stood out with no energy left she never stopped trying right to the end. Climbers everywhere could take a lesson from her determination.
After the comp I had a talk with Derick he tells me he would like to do a small comp at his school wall in Annapolis Royal and then head out side to the local boulders. After what I just saw I tell him I would be there for sure just let me know when.
I got an email from Derick, he tells me his comp is on for May 4th. With no hesitation I tell him I will be there. May 3rd arrives and Heather and I drive down to set for the comp. This time it is going to be less formal, more of a gathering to pull down. We set 28 problems and head back to Derick for the night. Saturday starts with good food and great coffee provided by Derick and his wife Sarah, and then we head to the wall to let the youth in for the sesh. Again I am astounded by the passion and determination these young adults have for climbing and this time I have the pleasure of climbing with them. We share beta and encourage each other. It was a great time with Lobke and Daiki in a friendly completion pushing each other.
Lobke came in ahead even with Daiki’s send of the Dyno
problem with only minuets left in the comp. This time Jason a.k.a “arms” stands out in my mind with his happy energy and his determination to get to the next hold even when the feet are too spread out, “arms” has no problem trying to get there by campusing.
After the comp we all went back to Derick’s for lunch to enjoy some sausages freshly cooked over an open fire. Then we headed out to the boulders.
After walking through the old growth forest we come upon a hill side covered in boulders. As Phil put it “it’s like Jurassic Park”. The massive boulders combined with the 100 year old trees gave a confusing sense of scale where in the end you felt small in a land full of giants. After giving it their all in gym the youth still pulled hard on the razor crystals, that is the common feature of these granite boulders.
When I go climbing I think about the valley youth. They have inspired me to try hard and dig deep every time I pull on the wall. I think credit needs to be given to Adam, Derick, Joel and Phil as they work towards showing the local community, school board and youth how much fun and beneficial climbing is. The youth climbers determination and passion for climbing, mirrors that of their coaches. The valley climbing community is an inspiration to all climbers.