Six Local Youth Head to Climbing Nationals | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Six Local Youth Head to Climbing Nationals

Athletes from Bend Endurance Academy head to Salt Lake City to compete in everything from speed climbing to bouldering

Six local athletes are headed to Utah for the USA Climbing Youth National Championships. Over a span of nine months, the athletes from Bend Endurance Academy have actively participated in a series of qualifying events, regional championships and divisional championships, showcasing their skills in bouldering, toprope/lead and speed climbing. As the culmination of their hard work and dedication, these top-notch climbers will now converge in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the National Championships.

click to enlarge Six Local Youth Head to Climbing Nationals
Courtesy BEA
Climbers with the Bend Endurance Academy are all smiles while competing at the recent youth ropes divisional championships in Alaska.

Their exceptional performances have secured their spots among the top climbers in their divisions, which encompass youth climbers from Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Four kids are competing in both bouldering and ropes climbing. One is competing in just ropes climbing, and one is doing speed. The Nationals climbers include: Mathew Borne (speed climbing), Nathaniel Perullo (lead/boulder), Wyatt Perullo (lead/boulder), Quinn Nash-Webber (toprope/boulder), Soren Hasselblad (toprope/boulder) and Coby Smith (toprope).

Making it to the Nationals event is no small feat, requiring immense dedication, focus, and effort. BEA's Climbing Director, Cate Beebe, acknowledges the tremendous physical and mental exertion these climbers have endured.

"We're really proud of them for putting in the work and making it through all of the competitions they have to do to get to Nationals. We're proud of them for not just getting to Nationals, but for the focus and dedication required to actually get there," Beebe said.

Beebe breaks down each event: The simplest, bouldering, involves climbing without a rope.

"You're not super high above the ground, somewhere between 14 and 16 feet, and you're climbing over big crash pads." Beebe said.

Ropes climbing has two different varieties. "Older kids compete in lead climbing, which is when you are pre-attached to the rope, and as you climb up the wall and progress, you clip into carabiners as you go. The younger kids compete in top rope climbing. So instead of clipping the rope as they go, the rope has already preset up at the top of the wall, and they can climb and not have to worry about clipping the rope in." Beebe said.

"Speed climbing is just one climb, the same climb every time. Climbers compete for speed, so they try to go from the bottom of the climb to the top as fast as possible." Beebe said. Some of the kids aspire to follow the USA climbing pipeline as adults, while others just see this as a cool thing they get to do with their friends, she added.

"One of our kids' goals for nationals is to try and make worlds. That's definitely a lofty goal. But he thinks this year's his best shot. So he's gonna go full beans and go for it," Beebe said. While it is climber against climber, the environment is friendly and focused on learning.

click to enlarge Six Local Youth Head to Climbing Nationals
Courtesy BEA

"We're so excited for the kids to be able to go and have another opportunity for training and learning. Even if they don't place or go on to worlds, the opportunity for growth is incredible," Beebe said.

For BEA, a nonprofit focused on developing young athletes, kids' experience is about more than just climbing itself.

"They're taking all this teamwork and communication into their life outside climbing. It's amazing to see them becoming not only amazing climbers, but rad humans," Beebe said.

Beebe and Mike Rougeux will coach the climbers throughout the event from July 8 to July 16. A live stream of the competition is available on the USA Climbing YouTube Channel.

Following Nationals, BEA will open its dedicated climbing center for youth climbers in Bend in mid-July. The facility aims to support the ongoing training of competition teams, enabling them to reach national and international levels. Additionally, it will facilitate the expansion of BEA's development initiatives catering to novice and intermediate climbers. More details about the facility and the programs can be found at: bendenduranceacademy.org/rock-climbing/.

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