Each year, young climbers from around the country compete in the USA Climbing competitive youth circuit, which features both a bouldering season (September–February) and a sport/speed season (March–July). Each season culminates in a National Championship where the top climbers in the U.S. gather to test their climbing at the highest level of competition in the country. This sport/speed season, Team Touchstone is proud to be sending seven athletes to compete at the National Championship in Kennesaw, GA, which will take place July 12th-15th. As we head into the final stretch of our training for Nationals, Touchstone would like to highlight our Nationals athletes to give our community a behind-the-scenes look at the young crushers who will be representing Touchstone at the national level.
My name is Analise Lan Van Hoang. I am 10 years old, and I’ve been rock climbing since I was six (four years).
My favorite part about climbing is the physical and mental aspect of the sport. Also, my favorite part of competing at competitions is being able to use your climbing skills to try to send the route. For example, at Regionals (a competition at Ironworks) I used my toe hook skills to toe hook on a great hold above my head to take a rest before the crux. Another one of my favorite parts of competing is that all the training that you did before the competition really pays of with a great reward of learning and gain os experience.
For me the hardest thing about climbing is when I don’t do a climb that I think I could have done I get disappointed. The hardest thing about competing for me is not comparing my scores to other people. Also, in competition something that is challenging is when you’re resting in between climbs and you have to put yourself in a whole new mindset no matter how your last climb went, so that you can go into your climb in a positive mindset.
I have to say my favorite catchphrase is, “Safety third, fun first.” This is my favorite catchphrase because people always tell me, “Remember: Safety first,” or “Be safe,” but really I just want to have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My favorite spirit animal is a monkey because a monkey loves to climb and so do I. Another reason is because monkeys are super light and so am I.
My name is Claudia Ryckebusch, I am 12 years old, and I’ve been climbing for 4 1/2 years.
My favorite part about climbing is all of the challenges and the amazing community. My favorite part about competing is pushing myself and trying my hardest. Also, getting to see all of my friends from different teams.
The hardest thing about climbing is stepping outside of my comfort zone. The hardest thing about competing is pushing myself and staying focused even when I’m tired, and working through injuries.
Favorite catchphrase: Harness the gnarness!
My spirit animal is a monkey.
My name is Coco Louie, I am 13 years old and I have been climbing for about 5 years.
I think that my favorite part of climbing is the problem-solving and my favorite thing about competing is trying the generally really fun climbs.
For me, the hardest part about climbing and competing is the mental side of things. I’m never very confident when I go into comps or attempt something hard.
My favorite catchphrase is, “Skip clips, take whips.”
My spirit animal is a monkey.
My name is Stella Tao Tran. I have been on this planet for 10 and 11/12 years. I’ve been climbing for four long years.
My favorite part about climbing is challenging myself, puzzling out climbs, and tangling myself into knots. My favorite part about competing is having fun, hanging out with my teammates, and meeting new climbers. The hardest thing about climbing is committing to keep going and staying on the wall even when I can’t. The hardest thing about competing is figuring out beta and staying calm and focused.
My spirit animal is an octopus and my newest catchphrase is, “Falling isn’t failing…unless you forgot to tie in.”
My name is Sophia McManus. I am 17 and I have been climbing for 5 and 1/2 years.
My favorite part about climbing is how people can climb the exact same route with uniquely different styles and still get to the top. I also love that, even at a competitive level, climbing isn’t a sport that requires a certain body type or height (even though sometimes my complaints seem to reflect otherwise) which is unlike most other sports that I know.
The hardest thing for me about climbing is my fear of heights. The hardest part about training and competing is that sometimes I find it hard to see the progress that I make in practice because I can become reliant on numbers and grade to tell me if I am improving.
My favorite catchphrase is, “I’ll be back.”
My spirit animal is a raccoon. (Specifically the one that scaled the skyscraper.)