Alison Stewart-Patterson scales the Boulders wall during the national junior championships in May.

Alison Stewart-Patterson scales the Boulders wall during the national junior championships in May.

Boulders Gym hosts World Youth Climbing championships

Kimanda Jarzebiak is at the centre of the world’s competitive climbing community this summer.

Kimanda Jarzebiak is at the centre of the world’s competitive climbing community this summer.

For years the local coach has been the landlord for promising Canadian climber Alison Stewart-Patterson, and this month Jarzebiak has opened her house to even more climbers for the 2013 World Youth Championships at Boulders Climbing Gym, Aug. 15 to 19.

“It’s true, I have a basement full of climbers right now,” Jarzebiak said.

Stewart-Patterson will not only share her toaster this week but her home climbing wall as well. She moved to Victoria three years ago from Kamloops to train on the International Federation of Sport Climbing-certified wall at Boulders, in Central Saanich on the same property as Stelly’s secondary school.

“It’s a great opportunity to have the worlds here. Living here I get a lot of chances to train on the (Boulders’) wall we’ll be competing on, but a lot of the athletes came early and will know it well by the start of the competition,” Stewart-Patterson said.

In actual fact, sharing is a big part of climbing, Jarzebiak said. “It’s quite unique to competitive climbing that, even in the quarters and semifinals of a competition opposing climbers will diagnose a route together. It’s something that starts with the recreational form of climbing and it doesn’t end no matter how high up the competition levels you go.”

Routes are one thing, speed is another.

The 19-year-old Stewart-Patterson has trained and competed in lead climbing until this year and is now proving she could soon be Canada’s top speed climber. Stewart-Patterson scaled the Boulders wall in 14.1 seconds earlier this year, which would be an unofficial Canadian record, she said. She’s thinking she can hit the 11 second mark at the worlds. Last week Stewart-Patterson was in Cali, Colombia, representing Canada at the World Games, where she scaled the wall in 12.96 seconds. The wall wasn’t IFSC certified, so the time doesn’t stand as a Canadian record.

Alison and her brother Robert, who also lives here to train at Boulders, both won junior gold in the speed category at the National Climbing Championships at Boulders in May. Alison’s gold time was 17.8 seconds and Robert’s was 9.7 seconds. Robert has represented Canada at a number of open events, including the World Championships in Paris, France in 2012.

Alison was recently 15th at the World Games, a junior in the open category with the best in the world.

“The Cali time (12.96) is an unofficial new Canadian speed record though the wall was temporary which is why probably it wasn’t paid for to be certified,” Alison said.

Jarzebiak attended the World Games as a coach and said Alison could have been even better if she wasn’t facing heavy humidity and temperatures between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius.

“It was an extreme having that humidity, it adds a lot of friction and is harder to adjust to if you’re from Canada.”

More than 400 athletes from 35 countries are expected for the worlds, with an estimated 2,000 spectators, making it one of, if not the biggest, sporting event in the Greater Victoria this summer.

“The national championships was a great test event for the organizing team. It was a third of the size in terms of climbers attending, our volunteers were trained, and we can improve on a lot of things,” Jarzebiak said.

The World Youth Climbing championships start at 8 p.m. on Thursday (Aug. 15) with opening ceremonies.

Qualifying rounds in the lead and difficulty category start 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Speed climbing is Sunday with practice rounds at 8:30 a.m., qualifying rounds at noon, and finals at 4:30 p.m.

Semifinals for lead/difficulty start at 9:30 a.m. on Monday with finals at 4:30 p.m. and the awards and closing ceremonies at 7:30 p.m.

The Boulders Climbing Gym is at 1627 Stelly’s Crossroad Rd. in Central Saanich, and online at climbtheboulders.com.

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