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Living My Climbing Dream

This is the first blog that I’ve ever written, I’m stoked to be writing it for Pulse Climbing! For those that don’t know me I am a 17 year old guy that is always at Pulse and always trying to push my limits.  I have been climbing at Pulse since the doors opened five years ago and it has become my second home.

I’ve been competing in climbing comps for a number of years now and have had some quick improvements and great results in the last year or so. Last year I won Boulder Nationals for my age category. I was training 6 days a week with 2-3 sessions in a day, it was a killer training load but totally worth it as I recently qualified for youth World championships in China later this year which also made me eligible for the open boulder World cups. Straight after the World Championship qualifications I headed to Japan and China for two of Boulder World cups.

benchina2Now if you are getting confused about the world cups I will give you a run down.

For the youth there is only one World Youth Championships (WYCH) this year it will be held in china. The Open category (adult) has a World cup series which normally involves 7 world cups located in 7 different countries around the world. As well as this there is a World championship that happens every two years, this year it is in Paris and that is my next big competition.

My recent trip to Japan and China has been a truly memorable experience. I went over with three other Australians, who are all experienced in the open world cup scene. The first climbing session I had in japan was in Tokyo at B-pump which was on the Wednesday. I competed on Saturday so a two day rest before the comp is a must. It is so good being able to climb at other gyms around the world. Each one so different.

I placed 51 out of 70 something in japan, it doesn’t sound good but looking at the points I needed to make the semis or higher there was only two problems that if I didn’t stuff about and controlled my nerves I could have done a lot better. The difference between 40th place and 20th is really not much, it comes down to how many attempts it takes to get to the top, if the problem is your style it’s game on and you can do well. It truly is anybody’s game.

benchina3Traveling from country to country with all the best boulderers in the world was really great for me. Getting to know them, taking in all they knew and how they prepared themselves for these trips was truly a fantastic learning experience. China wasn’t as good a comp for me, I made some very silly mistakes and the problems were not my style. Nevertheless I had an amazing time in China and made lots of new friends.

When I was climbing and competing with everyone, I reflect back and think the thing separating me from most of the other climbers wasn’t so much strength, it was the experience that they have gained over lots of comps and many years. Most of the climbers get to compete in so many big competitions in their home country. Australia does have a National Competition but it’s just not at the same level as other countries. Australian competition climbing is still in its infancy but is starting to grow and gain recognition which is great.

Another thing I noticed was most of the teams didn’t have to fund themselves to get from one world cup competition to the next, unfortunately, Australia just doesn’t have the funding and the climbers to do this yet. It definitely won’t stay like this, with the ever growing numbers of young kids starting climbing and the Australian Youth Team bigger and better than ever, I am sure one day Australia will be the same. It is a very exciting stage in Australian climbing now that it is a recognised sport. Climbing is even in the running to become a new Olympic sport in 2020, wouldn’t that be amazing!

benchinaNow I am back in Australia, those goals are completed. My new goal is to be my strongest and fittest for the World Championships in Paris this September and the Youth World championships in China for December.

However my trip doesn’t stop there, I’m only back home for a quick regroup and then head to Brisbane for a state lead comp this weekend, then over to Perth for 10 days of training. If you want to keep track of what I am up to, follow me on Instagram @benbel__

It’s been awesome climbing at Pulse since the doors opened five years ago and I want to say a very big thank you to Pulse for all the support and encouragement for my endeavours in the climbing world.

– Ben Abel