Local climbers ranked first in Western Canada

the top eight of the Maple Ridge’s Rock Wall Climbing Team members were in Calgary last weekend to take on the best in the west

Christy Spurrell clips a quick-draw at the B.C. Provincial Championships.

Christy Spurrell clips a quick-draw at the B.C. Provincial Championships.

Fresh off B.C. provincial championships, the top eight of the Maple Ridge’s Rock Wall Climbing Team members were in Calgary last weekend to take on the best in the west at the Western Regional Championships.

The two day competition proved to be one of the toughest Western regionals ever, with many of Canada’s strongest and veteran climbers in attendance. Competitive Sport Climbing is one of six sports shortlisted for the 2020 Olympics and the growth and popularity of this sport was very evident with the size and depth of the fields at this competition. In front of capacity crowds at the Calgary Climbing Centre’s Stronghold facility, Maple Ridge’s local youth and adults stepped up their game and pushed all of the top climbers in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Youth C (12/13 yrs) categories made things difficult for the route setters of the competition when most of both the Boys and Girls fields topped the qualifying route almost effortlessly. Sara Hopkins of Pitt Meadows easily topped her first qualifier, and Rock Wall’s Benjamin Ross and Burke Jurjaks topped both qualifiers – all three cruised into semi-finals. The route setters made adjustments for the strength of these two fields and made the climbs much more difficult in semi-finals where all three struggled mid-way on the climb and fell. All three were disappointed with their performance as many of the others in their category climbed higher, leaving them all vulnerable for elimination. Luckily, Hopkins took the last qualifying spot for finals, and both Ross and Jurjaks tied for the last spot and made finals. All three wanted redemption after semis and stepped things up. Sara came out and dominated her category in finals and took first place. Ross came out focused and set the bar high falling on the last move to the finish hold. Then Jurjaks came out strong as well and came off the wall four holds short of the finish. After the rest of the field had climbed, Ross was tied for first, but to break the tie the results from semis are taken into consideration in a count back and Ross was scored as second place. Jurjaks was in a four-way tie for third and, with the count back from semis, finished in seventh place.

Maple Ridge’s Christy Spurrell, in her first year as an open competitor, had one of her best overall performances. All season Spurrell has been going head to head with Hung-Ying Lee, a resident of Vancouver. Lee has competed at many World Championships for Taipei and is a highly ranked World Competitor, but is a non-Canadian so she can compete in Canadian competitions, but cannot collect points or be ranked in Canada.

Spurrell and Lee both topped their first qualifier but in the second qualifier Spurrell dominated and beat out the veteran Open competitor Lee. On the second day of competition in semi finals, Spurrell, suffering from sleep deprivation from a police incident next door to her hotel room, still managed to pull through the crux portion of her route, but just ran out of gas near the top settling for second place heading into finals. The final route for them had a very tricky sequence in the bottom half, then a very pumpy top half. This route would challenge their ability to read the climb and their endurance. On the toughest route of the day, Spurrell cruised through the tricky bottom section and even found a no-hands rest on the middle of it. They pushed through the crux as the crowd cheered, then the previous night lack of sleep really start to show on Spurrell and she fell mid-way through the top section of the climb. Lee, came out strong, but got stuck in the bottom section and made several mistakes in the sequence and got off track. She made a couple of desperate lunges towards the wrong holds and almost fell several times. The crowd was going crazy, but she managed to hang on and down climb to a rest hold. Lee then made her way up the correct sequence of holds and to the last few holds of the route, taking first. Christy finished second in what was a very exciting finish for women’s open.

Both Spurrell and Hopkins are currently ranked firs in Western Canada. The rest of the Rock Wall Team members had strong climbs, placing in the top 15 in Calgary and all qualify to compete at Nationals in Victoria this May, where the top climbers will then go on to compete for Canada at upcoming World Events.


BC’s Ranking for Rock Wall Team Members :

Youth C (12/13yr) Boys: Benjamin Ross 2nd, Burke Jurjaks 3rd  and Jakob Plamondon is 5th.

Youth C (12/13yr) Girls: Sara Hopkin’s 3rd, Kari Jurick 5th, Teyha 7th

Youth B (14/15yr) Girls: Gabby Gibson 8th and Sydney Ross 10th

Youth A (16/17yr) Girls: Taylor Forsyth 4th

Youth A (16/17yr) Boys: Jake Forsyth 5th

Junior (18/19yr) Girls: Carly Turner is 3rd

Junior (18/19yr) Boys: Jarred Plamondon 8th

Open Women: Christy Spurrell 1st


Western Canada Ranking for Rock Wall Team Members:

Youth C (12/13yr) Girls: Sara Hopkins 1st , Kari Jurick 9th

Youth C (12/13yr) Boys: Benjamin Ross 2nd, Burke Jurjaks 7th

Youth B (14/15yr) Girls: Gabby Gibson 8th, Sydney Ross 15th

Youth A (16/17yr) Girls: Breanna Matheson 13th

Open Women: Christy Spurrell 1st