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Climbing to Success!

Cohen Jackson (year 6) recently competed in the National Youth Sport Climbing Championships in Sydney NSW. He is a member of the WA Sport Climbing team who sent over a squad of climbers ranging from age of 10 – 18  to the National Championships. Cohen competed in three sport climbing disciplines - Lead Climbing (using rope), Bouldering and Speed climbing.

On the first day Cohen competed in the Lead climbing competition against 22 competitors. This consisted of climbing 2 routes up a 20m tall indoor climbing wall with a rope used for safety only to stop the climber from falling from a great height. Only the top 6 climbers who make it furthest up the wall go through to the finals. Cohen climbed very well and qualified for the Lead finals in 2nd place. 

The finalist are kept in isolation before they climb, so they are shielded from seeing the climb or watching how the other finalists climb the route. Therefore they have no idea how well anyone else has climbed.

Cohen was extremely focused and climbed with great strength and composure and almost climbed to the  top,  higher than any other competitor, meaning Cohen took 1st  place and his first gold medal of the championship.

Day 2 was the Bouldering competition with 20 competitors. This is Cohen’s preferred discipline. In bouldering the climbers climb a set route on a wall no higher than 4.5m and there is no rope to break their fall, just a crash mat. In this format there are 7 boulder problems to complete in 1.5 hrs.

Each climb is scored on the basis of the number of attempts that is taken to reach the Top (final hold), or the Zone hold which is about half way up the wall.  Cohen climbed with confidence and flashed (reach the top hold on first attempt) the first 6 boulders, no other climber had managed this. With the  7th boulder being a lot harder it took Cohen a few attempts to reach the top.  He was the only climber to top all 7 climbs  and he took 1st place and his second gold medal.

Day 3 was the Speed Climbing with 19 competitors. In this competition the climbers attempt to climb a 10m vertical wall as fast as they can while attached to a rope. For climbers in WA  this is a hard discipline to train for as there are no facilities here in WA for speed climbing. Speed qualification consists of 2 climbs which are timed and your fastest one counts. The top 8 climbers then race up the wall in a series of climb offs until there are only 2 left.  Cohen qualified for the finals. In the quarter finals Cohen posted 10.4 seconds to win and go through to the semi-final. In the semi-final Cohen was against the eventual winner, he narrowly lost by 2 hundredths of a second. Cohen ended up in the 3rd place climb off with one of his WA team mates, which was very exciting as they were very closely matched. In fact the judges could not split them as it was a dead heat , so they were asked to immediately climb again. This time his team mate just pipped him to the top although Cohen posted 9.6 secs, beating his personal best and came in 4th place overall.

Climbers who wish to be considered for an overall national ranking must compete in all three disciplines. Then the aggregate scores are used to calculate the final championship positions. As Cohen had competed over the three days in all three sport climbing disciplines,  with a 1st place in Lead, a 1st place in Boulder and 4th in Speed he was named the Overall Australian National Champion 2019 in his age group, taking his third gold of the championship, and he is also now ranked number 1 in Australia in his age group.

Well done Cohen!