Young climbers tackle tough competition

13-year-old Abby Gebert navigating the rock wall at the recent National Indoor Bouldering series meet at Rocktopia. Supplied photos.

Young local rock climbers went harness-free, taking on competitors from across the country at the recent National Indoor Bouldering series held at Rocktopia in Mount Maunganui.

The final round in the series included some outstanding results for members of Team Rocktopia.

Bouldering is rock climbing no higher than four metres, with no ropes or harnesses involved. Climbers move around the wall rather than up it.

Two of Team Rocktopia's youngest members, 13-year-olds Kade Allen and Abby Gebert, both came first in their under-16 and under-18 age group competitions. Fellow team member Fionn Blackman, 15, also came third in the under-16 and under-18 male age groups.

Abby says she's always loved rock climbing, and relishes the challenges it presents, particularly in bouldering.

“There are a whole lot of different problems, and you have to complete as many as you can. They range from very easy, easy, medium, hard, and very hard. I managed to do two of the very hard ones.”

Dad Jon Gebert says his daughter's been climbing competitively for two years.

“We took Abby along to see if she'd enjoy it – she's quite an active person. It was something she could get her teeth into, and now she's doing really well.”

Rocktopia managing director Carla Blockley says the event, attended by around 94 competitors aged 10 to 56, was a great success.

“It was amazing, considering it was the first time the event has been back in Tauranga in eight years. The organisers of the competition are happy to give it to us again next year since it did so well.”

Carla says the kids train every Wednesday and Friday from 4.30-6pm.

13-year-old Kade Allen tackles the rock wall.

“We're really lucky to have Rob Moore back with us, who initially built the Rock House some 17 years ago, which is now Rocktopia. He's the coach of the New Zealand team heading to Austria for the world champs next week. We're fortunate to have him coaching the kids here in Tauranga, because it will lift our expertise as well.”

This weekend several members of Team Rocktopia will head up to Auckland for the National Lead Championship, which is a more traditional form of rock climbing, using ropes and harnesses, and climbing up to 13 metres off the ground.


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