West End’s local climbing gym transformed the community into a hyped and bustling hub of enthusiastic national and world-class climbers with spectators from all around the country, hosting the Australian Lead Climbing Championships on the weekend, June 13-14.

All spectators were exposed to a thrilling free climbing festival, where over 200 competitors, aged seven to 60, made sure that the competition was filled with spectacle and raw energy, passion and emotion. And this was not just for the climbers themselves; spectators were riveted to their seats and guaranteed to get sweaty hands. Not to be taken by surprise though, as three of Brisbane’s most talented young local climbers were competing in the Open A Finals, on their home terrain.

Alistair Earley

Alistair Earley, 18 years, started climbing ten years ago, and currently trains 5 times a week at Urban Climb, in preparation to head to the World Youth Sport Climbing Championships 2015 held in Arco, Italy. Looking back, he said: “My first competition was in 2005, when the National Climbing Championships was here, ever since then I competed. What I enjoy today the most, is the atmosphere and excitement of the competition, it’s more like a festival and it is amazing to have it back in Brisbane after 10 years.”

Liliana Scacheri

Young local Open A Female competitor Liliana Scacheri, 16 years, trains 5 to 6 times a week and enjoys to see the biggest climbing event of the year at her local gym. “It’s just been great to have a lot of support and I am really excited to compete in the Open A Finales today, to compete against all the women in Australia,” she said.

Lucy Stirling

The crowds cheered even louder when it was Lucy Stirling turn to climb, 21 years of age and the highest ranked female competition rock climber in Australia. As a Brisbane local, Urban Climb is her “second home”. She loves to have the event in her home city. “It’s absolutely amazing. I knew that Urban Climb and Sport Climbing Queensland would do such an awesome job in making it not just a competition but an event and really putting all the effort into all the fine details, making the event enjoyable for everyone, from the climbers to the spectators,” Lucy said. “I like the atmosphere of it all together in one. There is parts of it that I really don’t like and not many climbers like, but you push past that and just enjoy it. You know the nerves and pressure builds up but then you gonna feed of that and you gonna make it fun.” Currently Lucy is in France to compete for Australia in the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Chamonix, on July 10-12.

Head Route-setter Dan Gordon spent with his team hundreds of hours, to make the competition a unique and impressive spectacle, to ensure that it will be a remarkable competition, to stay in everyone’s memory. “It is a privilege to have the biggest climbing event, the National Championships here in Brisbane at Urban Climb and it’s definitely great to host some of the best climbers in the country and the world, this is really exciting, and the quality of the climbing you get to see here is amazing, the routes are not easy,” Dan said. Dan’s team set 37 routes, which is the most ever at a National Climbing Competition. “We wanted to set more routes to give the climbers more value, competing in their designated category,” he said.

The championships definitely offered great excitement and hype to the local West End community with the next event already line up, the “BoulderFest” on August 8-9.

Words by Jessica Schremmer | Images by Anthony Chan