Rock Junior, the future of climbing at Arco
More than 500 young athletes aged 5 -13 from 20 different countries made the ninth edition of the Rock Junior a success. Chris Sharma, one of the greatest climbers of all times, paid homage to the world's biggest youth climbing event.
6/06/2010 Arco (Lago di Garda - Trentino, Italy). If the first day of the Rock Junior was a marathon, the second couldn't have been more action packed, with climbing of course. Beneath the beautiful Garda Trentino sun and the legendary Lake Garda breeze the Arco Climbing Stadium witnessed another day to be remembered. It all kicked off extremely early and the first to arrive, as if they were in need of a good dose of climbing, were the teams of the Under 14 Cup. They were soon joined by children taking part in Kid's Rock, the small army of climbers of all sizes, ranging from small to extra small.
For these young climbers the Climbing Stadium transformed into a real "climbing playground." An area equipped with everything one needs to climb, for both "experts" and novices alike. Even if the difference wasn't too obvious, as all children tackled the climbs with the very same grit and determination. Not a single child gave up. Watching them wait patiently to then perform their little great climb would lead you to think that they can teach a thing or two to many a grown-up climber.
But there's no time to think at the Rock Junior, as the time is employed in playing the game of climbing. Morning had just started and the Climbing Stadium was already bustling with activity. There was of course the Climbing Tree of Bounty, with the smallest climbers who reached unthinkable heights to win their prize. And there was the series of boulder problems, each with a significant name such as "Flower", "Fingers in your nose" and "Shooting star". And there was also the speed competition where the "fun" bit was hitting the red button at the end of the route.
And then there was Chris Sharma, the King of climbing, who this year chose to travel to Arco to honour the small Rock Junior champions. They, the small champions, didn't disdain queuing up to catch an autograph or snap a photo next to the great champion. Because dreams (not only in sport but in life in general) start like this. Sharma smiled and they ran away satisfied, naturally to go climb somewhere else, just for fun.
Talking of small champions. Those taking part in the Under 14 Cup are a great hope for the future of this sport; many of these young athletes already possess mind-blowing technique. In short: they know how to climb and how to compete. This is the work of climbing schools, but also the result of their overwhelming passion. What comes through clearly is that this is certainly a solid basis for the future.
In the meantime though, what the ninth edition of the Rock Junior offered is a really important grassroots base of young climbers. A climbing movement which saw young champions from 20 different countries take part in the event, fuelled by a spirit which rewards and favours a complete approach to climbing in the formation of these young athletes. It comes as no surprise therefore that the Under 14 Cup was comprised of a Combined result, based on Bouldering, Speed and Lead, the three sport climbing disciplines. Only the most versatile stepped onto the podium, in particular Celina Schoibl (Aut) and Joe Goodacre (Usa) won category C (2001/'02/'03); Janja Garnbret (Slo) and Luka Drolc (Slo) won category B ('99/2000); Stasa Gejo (Ser) and Christopher Stelzmueller (Aut) won category A ('97/'98).
But apart from the medals, this year the real winner, more than ever before, was the Rock Junior event itself, the idea of combining the passion that parents and children share for climbing. And it's for this reason that the only fitting final had to be the Family Rock. This is a vertical relay race for fathers, mothers and children, and just like in past editions a handful of famous parents took part in the event, some real sport climbing champions. And in the end, like every year, it was climbing which came up tops. Or rather, two days of great climbing, together.
Rock Junior 2010 was a success. This was tahnks to everyone. Thanks to the 500 young climbers who took part in Rock Junior. And also thanks to those who enabled this little big miracle to run so smoothly over the two day period, as if there were only a couple of dozen climbers. A deserved "Congratulations!" goes to the Rock Master Association and the irreplaceable "engine", the Arco Climbing Association. And these congratulations are also extended to the route setters Leonardo Di Marino e Donato Lella, the Mountain Guides FreeAlp and the Guardia di Finanza Mountain Rescue service and the Moena Police Alpine Training Center.
ROCK JUNIOR TEAM: The event is organised by the Rock Master Association, with the technical support of the Arco Climbing Association and Mountain Guides FreeAlp and the FASI. Maximum safety is guaranteed by the Guardia di Finanza Mountain Rescue services, the Moena Police Alpine Training Center.
SPONSORS: CAMP-CASSIN, SALEWA, LA SPORTIVA, SINT ROC ECOGRIPS