“If you build it, he will come,” is a classic line from the W.P. Kinsella classic “Shoeless Joe” and from the movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.
In the case of The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich, the only world-record certified 15-metre speed climbing wall in North America and one of only six such certified speed walls in the world, the “he” perhaps applies to champion Czech climber Libor Hroza.
The 26 year old climber came to the Boulders in December to train and last Saturday set a new gym record of 6.038 seconds and win the Open Male category in a Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC) Difficulty and Speed competition at the gym.
Hroza’s time was just 0.16 seconds off the world record of 5.88 seconds set by Russian climber Evgeniy Vaytsekhovskiy in 2012. It is also the second-quickest competitive time posted by Hroza, behind the 5.99-second effort that earned him gold at a Speed World Cup event in Arco, Italy in 2013.
Last weekend’s competition saw Boulders-based climbers sweep gold in 13 of the 15 age categories in the speed competition.
Among them were brother-and-sister duo, Robert and Alison Stewart-Patterson of Kamloops. Robert won the Junior Male category and set a personal best time and new Canadian men’s record of 7.550 seconds, bettering his previous mark of 8.06. Alison was victorious in the Open Female category and set a new Canadian women’s record of 12.28 seconds with one of her climbs, bettering the mark of 13.38 she set at the 2013 IFSC World Youth Championships.
Other Boulders climbers with first-place speed finishes included Brennan Doyle (Youth D Male), Sylvie Mayhill (Youth D Female), Aidan Doyle (Youth C Male), Elena Moss (Youth B Female), Aaron DiLallo (Youth A Male), Catherine Kavelaars (Youth A Female), Evelyna Trottier (Junior Female), Nate Corsi (Recreational Male), Athena Fowler (Recreational Female), and Jeremy Moss (Experienced Male).
Boulders climbers were also successful in the difficulty categories, winning five gold. Leading the way was Nanaimo’s Elan Jonas-McRae, who won the Junior Male category, topping both routes climbed during the competition.
Other Boulders climbers with first-place finishes in difficulty events included Brennan Doyle (Youth D Male), Mathias Bell (Recreational Male), Alison Funk (Junior Female) and Marina Steele (Recreational Female).
Silver medal finishes for Boulders climbers in difficulty also went to Aidan Doyle (Youth C Male), Nate Corsi (Recreational Male), Christina Compton (Recreational Female) and Alison Stewart-Patterson (Open Female).
Saturday’s competition was the second of four sanctioned difficulty and first of two sanctioned speed competitions that will ultimately lead to the SCBC provincials, to be held at Boulders on April 5. Next up is a difficulty competition at the Richmond Oval on March 14 and a difficulty and speed competition at The Rock Wall in Maple Ridge on March 22.
– Christian Stewart