USA Climbing Youth Rope Championship regional hosted in Peoria


PEORIA — Climbing debuts as an Olympic sport this summer in Tokyo.

But the sport will reach new heights in Peoria when the 2021 USA Climbing Youth Rope Championship gets off the ground at First Ascent Peoria this weekend.

About 150 kids aged 8-18 will come from six states to compete for a chance to advance to nationals in Reno, Nev.

Some of those kids might one day be on the U.S. Olympic team.

One of them is Hayden Klinger, 13, an East Peoria native who has been in regional competitions for the bouldering classification and will make his debut this weekend in the top rope category.

“I’ve been climbing for three years,” the Germantown Hills Middle School student said. “I love to climb, love how it always challenges me and pushes me to be my best. 

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“I climbed everything in the house, everything outside it, too. I even left my mom wondering one time how I ended up on our roof.” 

Bouldering is defined as low climbing, without the use of ropes and harnesses. Top roping is where the climber and belayer attach to opposite ends of the rope, and the climber ascends the wall, while a partner pulls up slack in the rope through a belay device.

A climber takes on one of the walls at First Ascent Peoria, where the USA Climbing Regionals will take place on June 19-20, 2021.

If you fall off the wall while bouldering, you land on a deep, soft mat below. If you fall during top roping, you descend gradually to the floor while harnessed in the rope.

First Ascent Climbing & Fitness — which is at 927 SW Washington St. in the Warehouse District — is a 20,000-square foot facility. It has several climbing walls and a 48-foot climbing tower. 

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