The world of climbing

Friday, February 21, 2020

After being introduced to the world of climbing as part of the Woodcroft College Outdoor Education and Future Leaders’ Programs, I joined Vertical Reality Climbing Youth Squad in February 2018.

Although I focus my climbing efforts on top rope and lead climbing, I also participate in bouldering and have recently trained in speed climbing. Top rope and lead climbing are both rope-based climbs, whereas bouldering is typically up to three meters without rope but with a crash pad. This style of climbing requires more dynamic and explosive movements. Speed climbing is a pre-set certified route which is consistent worldwide.

My first competition was a Pump Fest at Adelaide Bouldering Club (ABC) on 30 June, 2018. This competition was based on a climbers eight best climbs over a time period and was a game changer for me. I entered this competition with the main aim to manage my competition mindset and was excited to place second in my age bracket, Male Youth A.

On 18 August I participated in the State Youth Bouldering Competition and struggled during this event as I focused on the importance of placing to qualify for Nationals, rather than focusing on the climb in front of me. However, I was still able to come third gaining my qualification for the Australian Climbing Youth Nationals in May 2020.

After qualifying for Nationals, I was able to reset my mindset and focus back on my climbing. My last competition of the year was another pump fest held at ABC on 22 September where I placed third. Despite this not being my highest achievement to date, I had a great competition as my mindset was the best it had been. I really enjoyed the event and was really impressed with my ability to stay focused and positive in this environment. I really enjoyed the event, and this solidified my love of the sport.

Throughout the Summer holidays I spent many hours honing my technique and completed hundreds of hours of both indoor and outdoor climbing. It was during this time that I also completed a weeklong intensive climbing experience in Victoria and was exposed to my first Speed Climb, which is one of the disciplines, in addition to lead climbing and bouldering, that is expected at Nationals.

However, my most significant achievement to date was being awarded the Austin Grabkowski Award for Most Improved South Australian Climber 2019.

I love to climb, and I aspire to include in my work life moving forwards.

Mathew Gull
Year 12