Boulders climbers bring home hardware

Boulders athletes Alison Stewart-Patterson and Elan Jonas McRae return from British Lead and Speed Climbing National Championships

Elan Jonas-McRae begins his ascent during one of his qualifying climbs at the 2013 British Lead Climbing National Championships last weekend in Sheffield

CENTRAL SAANICH — Boulders Climbing Gym athletes Alison Stewart-Patterson (Victoria) and Elan Jonas McRae (Nanaimo) are returning from the 2013 British Lead and Speed Climbing National Championships with extra hardware in their luggage, having won a combined four medals at the event this past weekend in Sheffield, England.

Stewart-Patterson and Jonas-McRae, who both train at the Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich and who are members of Sport Climbing B.C. (SCBC), were competing at the British Championships.

In the youth lead competition, held on Saturday, Oct. 5, both Jonas-McRae, 18, and Stewart-Patterson, 19, finished on the podium, placing second and third respectively in the junior (age 18/19) category.

On Sunday, Oct. 6, the open (senior) lead and speed championships were held.

Jonas-McRae went in to the finals in first place, with former World Youth Climbing Championship silver medalist (2011) Edward Hamer tied for second with current British bouldering champion Dave Barrans. Jonas-McRae was the only climber to reach the top of both qualifier routes, with both Hamer and Barrans falling one move before the finishing hold.

In the final, both Jonas-McRae and Hamer made it through a complex and difficult roof crux near the top of the route, however Hamer would then advance two holds further up the wall than Jonas-McRae to capture the gold.

The silver medal by Jonas-McRae marked the first time a climber from a trans-Atlantic country made it to the men’s lead podium at a British climbing championship.

The speed competition also attracted international attention, leading to a women’s podium that, for the first time, contained no climbers from the United Kingdom.

Gold went to Lucia Korcova of Slovakia, who posted a time of 11.28 seconds. Stewart-Patterson placed second, with a time of 12.8. I

Jonas-McRae also competed in the speed competition, his first ever, and surprised himself by placing sixth, with what was a personal best of 19.2 seconds.

Both Stewart-Patterson and Jonas-McRae thoroughly enjoyed the competition, particularly the opportunity to compete in three competitions each in two days.

— Submitted