Juniors climb high at bouldering competition

Whitehorse's junior rock climbers are problem solvers. Members of the Yukon Youth Climbing Team claimed all but one podium spot at the Cold Snap Finger Climbing Competition, an indoor bouldering competition at F.H.

Whitehorse’s junior rock climbers are problem solvers.

Members of the Yukon Youth Climbing Team claimed all but one podium spot at the Cold Snap Finger Climbing Competition, an indoor bouldering competition at F.H. Collins Secondary on Wednesday.

The juniors all but blanketed the open divisions as well as the junior divisions at the fourth annual competition hosted by Climb Yukon.

“Juniors are really strong in bouldering,” said organizer and youth team coach Alain Dallaire. “Adults really enjoy it but the juniors are really training hard.”

About 30 climbers came out to the event, including about 15 from the junior team, to attempt 20 problems. The problems were ranked from one to 20, one being the easiest and 20 being the hardest. They ranged from zero to V6 or V7 in the bouldering rating system.

Climbers had three hours to complete as many as possible.

“The problems were pretty hard for being short in my opinion – I’m a short person and they’re tall-person problems,” said Sara Burke-Forsyth.

“I did a lot of muscling through it and trying it over and over again, then failing, then trying again, and then failing, then giving up, and then trying it again.”

Burke-Forsyth, who is a member of the youth team, took first in junior girls and in open women. Problem No. 12 was the highest she got.

“Thirteen was a dyno – a big jump,” said the 17-year-old.

Burke-Forsyth tied youth teammate Kassi Wright for first place last year. Wright placed third in junior and open this year while Gentianne Graham took second in both divisions.

Jonathan Lowey was the only adult to place in the top three in a division, taking first in open male after completing problem 18.

Pelly Vincent-Braun placed second behind Lowey in open male and took first in junior male with the completion of problem 17.

The youth team practises three times a week while adults get just one evening on the wall.

“I wish they would get more time and exposure for climbing, but this is all related to the access to the climbing wall,” said Dallaire. “Adults get one time a week and the reason is because I do a fundraising evening for my youth club, and that’s the only way I can get adult climbing in Whitehorse.”

They host a fundraising night every Wednesday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at F.H. Collins Secondary. The open night is to help pay for the expense of travelling to Outside competitions.

The youth team plans to travel to Juneau, Alaska, for a competition in January, host a second Yukon competition in February and attend the Tour de Bloc competition in Vancouver to end the season.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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