Two Maple Ridge’ climbers will be in Paris competing in the world championships next month.
Christy Spurrell and Jaylene Pratt are members of the climbing team from the Rock Wall Climbing Gym in Maple Ridge, and have been selected for the national team. They will represent Canada at three world cup events in Europe: at Imst, Austria; Arco, Italy; and the Open World Championships in Paris, France.
Spurrell has experience competing internationally as a youth climber, but the 23-year-old took time away from the sport while she completed her kinesiology degree at the University of the Fraser Valley.
It is a similar story for Pratt, who is making a comeback in the sport after attending Simon Fraser University, where she majored in music and theatre.
The women have been training partners for about nine years, and now hope to take their climbing careers to a new level, starting with August’s international competition.
Spurrell said her education has helped her in training, and she feels stronger than ever.
“Having a more definite training plan really helps. I’m feeling really good.”
Spurrell has been climbing since the age of eight, and her father Terry bought the local climbing gym as the family business when she was nine.
“I spent pretty much every day there after school,” she remembers.
As a youth she competed for Team Canada in Denver, Montreal, Ecuador and her last youth event was in Chile. Since graduating to the open class Spurrell competed at a World Cup in Belgium a couple of years ago. She was the national champion that season in the difficulty event, which is called lead climbing on the national scene.
In Canada, she competes in all three of the climbing disciplines – bouldering, difficulty and speed climbing, but in Europe this summer she will compete only in difficulty.
As the head coach for the Rock Wall youth team, she is having most of her success in the speed category, sending local kids on to Team Canada.
“She has developed an impressive speed climbing program and is a leader in Canada for training on short walls,” said her father Terry. “She was asked to lead speak last fall in Banff in the Canadian Climbing Coaches Conference about training on short walls. With the official World Cup speed wall being 15-metre high, Central Saanich has the only one in Canada. Montreal has an official 10m wall. The Rock Wall has the shortest wall in the Canada where speed climbers train and next to Central Saanich, put the most climbers on the podium for speed.”
One of her athletes, Teyha Rogers, qualified for Team Canada in speed for her second year in a row. Rogers finished as national champion and will compete in China this fall.
Pratt has competed in two youth worlds, in France and Scotland, a number of years ago. But between university and injuries, she hasn’t competed much since. She has trained with the Rock Wall team since she was 15 or 16, and this season qualified for the world cup events after having her best season ever.
Spurrell said she can draw inspiration from Pratt.
“She’s super passionate about the sport, and very motivated.”
They have a lot of time between their world cup events, and they plan to make it a climbing vacation.
“We’re planning our trip around the cool climbing gyms of Europe,” said Spurrell.