Going Above and Beyond
J.I. County Park hosts nationally recognized climbing competition for 16th year running
By Charlie Morrison
The Palmetto Pump & USA Climbing Competition celebrated it’s Sweet 16th in style Saturday, March 16 with another successful event held at the James Island County Park’s Climbing Wall. More than 40 climbers, predominantly from the youth ranks, took to the 50-foot competition climbing wall throughout the event, taking part in both technical and speed competitions.
As the Lowcountry’s tallest outdoor climbing facility, the James Island County Park Climbing Wall has remained the ideal location to host Saturday’s competition, the largest of its kind throughout the Southeast. Not hurting matters at the event, held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. was the perfect weather we had last weekend.
The technical competition featured a total of 37 routes that were mapped out and rated for difficulty for the event. Climbers were allowed to make as many attempts at any one of the established routes, with each climb being scored by judges. Each climber’s best five scores were kept in determining a winner.
The hottest competition was in the youth divisions, where Alex Moss, Matthew Stephens, Connor Zabrecky, and Jason Wills took home first place in the male youth A, B, C, and D groups, respectively.
Hannah Wells and Hannah Durham joined the boys at the top of the podium in female youth A and B group winners. Yael Gitman-Schulte won the female C group and Samantha Stewart the D group.
The speed competition featured a number of repeat winners from the technical competition. Moss, Zabrecky, Wills, won second titles in the speed competition on the male side of the board, while Stewart, and Wells repeated on the women’s side. Joining the multiple winners were speed competition first place finishers Emily Shorter, Matthew Stephens, and Elizabeth Bear.
Robert Lavarnway, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator for the CCPRC coordinated the event which as is typical, was both competitive and laid-back.
“What we have found as coaches, is that compared to many other sports, it’s much lower key. Parents don’t get overly into it, screaming and yelling at the kids and the coaches and everything else,” says Lavarnway. “The nature of the sport of climbing is just more relaxed than some other sports, it’s a much better atmosphere.”
James Island County Park is located at 871 Riverland Drive. For more information, call The Climbing Wall at James Island County Park at (843) 406-2003, (843) 795-4386, or visit www.ccprc.com/wall.
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