Happy Holidays!  It has been an exciting fall season and our team members, coaches and importantly, parents deserve a huge pat on the back.

The fall local season saw us traveling from Portland to Bozeman via Helena and Whitefish.  A busy October saw the team on the road for six straight weeks, including the popular Butte Boulder Bash, held outside in the snow and sun on the eastern side Homestake Pass. It was amazing to see the turnout and support at the local events.  The competitions in Helena and Whitefish, in particular, were in their second and first year respectively.  Those events were fun, not only from a competition perspective but also in representing how the community is growing and evolving in Montana.  Thank you for arranging schedules to help make this group of wonderful kids a team.  The last two years we have felt a growing momentum and I can see it coming together.

The regional competition was held on December 9, 2017 at Spire Climbing Center in Bozeman, MT.

Two hundred and forty-six competitors from MT, ID, WY, UT, and CO attended the 14 hour event.  This is the largest regional competition held not only in our region but also in Montana to date.  Jeff Ho and his staff plus the over one hundred parent volunteers that made this possible deserve a massive thank you.

Two nationally qualified setters, Luke Bertelsen and Corey Hanson, in conjunction with the Spire Climbing setting crew created a wonderful and difficult set of problems for the kids to attempt qualify for the divisional competition.

Luke is a native of Great Falls Montana.  He expressed to me how he truly enjoys coming back “home” to run events and clinics.  “I would prefer come to Montana to set a competition”, he mentioned to me, “the people are nice, the facility is world class and every resource I need is supplied, it is great to help the local community in the state” He set a divisional sport climbing competition in Bozeman a few years ago, and at the time I was amazed at how humble and professional he is as a person.  He is a member of USA Climbing’s Route Setting Committee.  If you check out his bio, he has set at the highest level for years. The quality the kids were able to experience is something they may only get at a national level competition.

Corey is an apprentice Level Four setter and part of the requirements for advancing to Level 5, is to work under the guidance of a mentor.  I found Corey to be as humble and professional as Luke.  He also has an eye for quality and attention to detail.  In correspondence with him prior to the event he was listing goals, qualifications etcetera.  What struck me most was his personal statement in an email, ‘in short, I guess I can say your dog will like me, everything else we can figure out or discuss over a beer.” Immediately disarming.

Thank you to the parents that made the trip to regionals.  Thirteen team members is a record for the team at this size event.  I thought all of the kids climbed with courage, conviction and passion.  For the first timer, this event can be super intimidating, and to climb with style and grace was amazing to witness.  I am super proud of every one of them.

Congratulations to the team members that qualified for the divisional competition.  Two more big days at a competition will set the national field.  Enjoy the experience!!

The Divisional competition will be held January 13-14, 2018.  The qualifying round is Saturday.  Those that finish in the top ten will compete on Sunday.  The top six from Sunday’s final will be invited to the national competition.  Nationals will be held February 9-11, 2018.

Our sport climbing season is tentatively scheduled to start on February 1, 2018 and will run until June 1, 2018.  Regional, Divisional and National sport climbing competitions are held in May, June and July.  More information will be forthcoming in January.

I have added a gallery to the post, a few highlights from the fall season.