Continuing to make their ascent through the ranks of ice climbing, local athletes Karlee Hall of Jaffray and Noah Beek of Cranbrook recently returned from an ice climbing competition in Switzerland.
Hall, 17, and Beek, 18, were still fresh from a gold-winning sweep at the UIAA North American Youth Mixed Climbing Competition in Durango, Colorado last month when they began making plans to compete in Saas Fee, Switzerland for the UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing competition.
Hall ultimately placed fourth in the 17 to 19-year-old age group for the Youth World Cup Championship and placed 20th overall in the women’s competition.
Beek himself placed 15th in the youth competition and 25th in the men’s category.
Hall described the atmosphere of the competition as more serious and intense than she has ever experienced.
“The mood there was so intense, there aren’t really words to describe it,” explained Hall of her time in Saas Fee. “Also the way the competition was done and the isolation we were placed in, not being able to see other climbers. It was difficult, but in a way it forced me to become better and to move faster,” said Hall.
Hall said that she knows she can climb better and that ultimately, “technicalities, inexperience and head space got the best of [her].”
“I know that I can do better than what I did in Saas Fee,” said Hall, “but in a way it’s pushed me to go back there and do it again.”
Hall said she already intends to return to Switzerland and various other European cities to complete the entire World Cup climbing circuit.
“The circuit goes through Italy, France, Russia, Korea and Switzerland and I want to do the entire thing,” said Hall.
Presently, she intends to get back to climbing her way to ensure she’ll be ready for next year’s championship.
Hall said, “Right now I’m excited to get back into training hard.”