Camden Lund works to make it to the top spot during the Western Canada Youth Boulder Regionals in Calgary recently. Lund went into the finals in first place and finished in third. Photo by Mark Moland

Sylvan Lake athlete earns bronze medal in rock climbing

Camden Lund competed in the Western Canada Youth Boulder Regionals where he finished third

Camden Lund recently made it to the podium in the Western Canada Youth Boulder Regionals competition in Calgary.

After a long weekend of competition, Lund finished in third place and won a bronze medal.

To finally find a place on the podium meant a lot to Lund, who competed in the Youth C division of the competition.

Going into the weekend-long event, Lund was sitting in fourth place before the Western Canada Regionals.

“All this time I’ve been just off of the podium so it feels really great to get there,” he said.

Lund explained he had a great time the competition and had a lot of fun solving the puzzles to move on to the next zone.

Each competitor is given five chances to solve the puzzle and reach the next zone.

In bouldering, low level rock climbing without the aide of a rope, each competitor is sequestered before their turn so they can’t see what challenges face them and think of a way to solve the problem beforehand, instead of acting on their toes.

Lund says being isolated, in some cases for hours, before his turn at the wall is his least favourite part of the competition.

“It’s so boring,” he said.

During the time he is away from the spectators and the wall he says he tries to do a lot of dynamic stretches and get into the right head space.

“You can be really hard on yourself when you make a mistake and that can change how well you do,” Lund said. “So you have to be able to just move on and keep going.”

The two-day competition in Calgary saw Lund in first place going into the finals.

However, he fell behind and ultimately finished in first.

He said the other athletes who finished ahead of him were older and believed they maybe had an easier time with some aspects of the climb because they are taller than him.

“Really I have no one to blame but me because I was beating them going into [the finals].”

This is the first year Lund has competed in the C Division, last year he finished the season in first place in the province in the D Division.

Lund says he got into rock climbing because he was an energetic young child who loved to climb on things.

He specifically recalls climbing the walls and banisters of the stair case in his house.

“Dad did not like that. So, he took me to the Collicutt and told me to climb there,” said Lund.

Eventually a new rock climbing gym opened up in Red Deer, Trailhead Climbing & Fitness, and he has been climbing there ever since.

Lund’s mother Natalie says it can be difficult to watch her son do his climbs, especially when he is climbing a mountain and not in a gym.

Last summer the family went out to a spot near Canmore to do a bit of climbing with an experienced friend.

“Seeing him up about 100 feet on the side of this mountain had me worried. It’s not so bad when we are in the gym or at a competition,” Natalie said.

The regional competition is as far as Lund will go for the time being. His age group do not progress pass regionals.

Further down the line national and worlds will be a possibility, and Lund already has his eyes on a big prize.

Rock climbing is an official Olympic sport as of the 2020 Olympics, and Lund said he would love to one day compete.

For now, he is looking forward to watching the professionals compete in the sport.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I think I may be able to pick up new techniques by watching the professionals at the Olympics,” Lund said.

For Natalie, she says she is happy for her son, despite the worry rock climbing can sometimes bring.

“I’m just happy he is doing something he loves,” Natalie said.

The bouldering season came to a close with the Western Canada Youth Boulder Regionals competition in Calgary. Now Lund will move on to climbing with ropes, and a new season of competition.

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