Kimberley’s TJ Foley, age 15, has been climbing for about five years, starting at the Spirit Rock climbing gym in Kimberley, and now out of the Arq Mountain Centre in Cranbrook.
TJ has been to Canadian Nationals eight times, and next week he is off to Arco, Italy for the World Youth Climbing Championships.
He qualified as one of the top three in his age group in Canada, taking a second in Lead and third in Bouldering.
The sport of climbing has been growing in recent years, and in fact will make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
There are three disciplines involved; bouldering, lead and speed.
Lead climbing is a climbing style, predominantly used in rock climbing. In a roped party one climber has to take the lead while the other climbers follow. The lead climber wears a harness attached to aclimbing rope, which in turn is connected to the otherclimbers below the lead climber.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls, known as boulders, without the use of ropes or harnesses.
Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a fixed route on a 15-metre wall. In bouldering, climbers scale a number of fixed routes on a 4m wall in a specified time.
At the Olympics, athletes will compete in all three disciplines.
TJ is too young for the next Olympics, but the 2024 Games loom on the horizon.
In Italy, TJ will compete in lead and bouldering. This will be his second trip to worlds, having gone as the fourth team member to Russia last year. This year, only three in Canada qualified.
Good luck to TJ Foley in Italy.