Rock climbers open second season at N.C. bouldering event
September 20, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's second-year Club Sports rock climbing team competed in Saturday's Raleigh (N.C.) Rampage, a bouldering event hosted by the Triangle Rock Climbing Club.
The Flames and Lady Flames had three second-place finishers in the open event, which drew 80 climbers from around the region — sophomore Jon Anderson in the male intermediate division, sophomore Ruth Jang in the female intermediate class and freshman Steph Wilson in the female advanced competition.
"We brought a mix of new climbers and a few from last year's team and saw a lot of potential," Liberty Head Coach Elliot Gaunt said. "Everybody did really well and I'm really excited to see what the season holds for them."
Before the open competition, from noon to 5 p.m., Flames team members volunteered to provide set-up as well as spotting and judging for the second round of a USA Climbing youth competition that drew more than 100 kids to the same facility.
"It was a cool way for the team to impact the community there," Gaunt said. "We are looking for ways that the team can not only compete and do well, but also volunteer and help out at events this season. So went down with the mentality that it was going to be a fun experience, to get to compete and to learn what it is like to be a team and work together."
This weekend, Liberty team members will join Solid Rock — Climbers for Christ (SRCC) to serve breakfast for more than 300 participants in this weekend's Craggin Classic at the New River Gorge. Assistant Coach Corey Messer, one of the Flames' top climbers last year, is an SRCC representative in his home state of West Virginia and will help head up that outreach.
Gaunt recently released Liberty's schedule for the 2017-18 season. The Flames will begin their collegiate season with a USA Climbing-sanctioned Collegiate Climbing Series (CCS) competition Oct. 28 at Rise Up in downtown Lynchburg, with all of its Capital Region rivals from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania expected to attend.
"It gives us the opportunity to compete more without having to travel really long distances," Gaunt said. "The Capital Region's really starting to grow and we're excited to see how the entire collegiate season plays out because it seems to be a lot more developed this year."
Liberty, which features about as many newcomers as returning climbers this season, will also compete in a collegiate event hosted by The River Rock in Roanoke, Va., on Nov. 10, the same day it hosts the Liberty Golden Bolder Comp at the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center rock wall. The team has tentative local collegiate events set for Jan. 20 at Brevard (N.C.) Rock Gym and Feb. 17 at The Gravity Vault in Chatham, N.J., before traveling to Christiansburg, Va., on Feb. 24 and competing at another local event at Rise Up in Lynchburg on March 3 to tune up for Capitol Regionals in late March and possibly the USA Climbing Collegiate National Championships in April.