DeVores climb into top 12 at junior nationals |

DeVores climb into top 12 at junior nationals

The climbing DeVores of Aspen, 16-year-old Nick and 14-year-old Katrina, finished sixth and 12th, respectively, at the Junior Climbing National Championships July 5-7 in Portland, Ore.

Nick, a senior-to-be at AHS this fall, advanced to the finals among the field of 32 climbers in the 16- to 17-year-old division, following three qualifying routes. In the finals – where whoever climbs highest wins – Nick said he struggled with endurance.

“The final route was a lot harder – no one in our group finished it,” he said. “I’ve just been bouldering pretty much lately, and it was just too long. I didn’t have the endurance, but that’s mainly what competitive routes are: mainly just long and hard.”

The national climbing competition was staged on an indoor wall, and judges pegged routes up the 50-foot wall, increasing the difficulty with each successive route as the field was gradually eliminated.

Katrina, a freshman-to-be at AHS, finished the first round of the 14- to 15-year-old girls division in third place. “Then I went into the semifinals and I just kinda messed up and slipped,” said Katrina, who concluded her first season of competitive climbing at the junior national competition.

Nick, meanwhile, was fourth last season at the junior national event, which earned him a spot on the U.S. Youth Climbing team and a berth to the junior world climbing championships. This year’s sixth-place finish, however, was two spots shy of making the U.S. team again and qualifying for the world championships.

“It’s intense; there’s pressure and you only get one shot when you come out of isolation,” Nick said. “From the ground to the top of the wall, it’s probably 45 to 50 feet, but a lot of it is really overhanging, so there’s probably 60 to 80 feet of climbing depending on how they set the route.”

In competitive climbing, climbers sit in isolation until it’s their turn to attempt the route, sight unseen. In that fashion, only judges and spectators know what the high mark on each route is, and it’s up to the climbers to give it their best shot without knowing how their climb will impact the standings, if at all.

“I don’t think I’ll do the [competitive climbing circuit] next season,” said Nick, who won the junior World Cup of Climbing in Chamonix, France, in 2000. “But I’ll probably enter some bouldering competitions, stuff like that. Bouldering competitions are more fun; it’s more social and more fun to watch, I think, as well.”

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