Growing African Climbing One Comp At A Time

Competition Climbing in Africa

Hosting the 2021 Africa Continental Championship

At the end of last year we had the privilege of hosting the boulder portion of the Africa Continental Championship (ACC). This competition was the qualifying event for the World Games held in America in 2022.

The comp was run by the South African National Climbing Federation with a lot of help from the climbing community. It is always great to see just how stoked our climbing communities throughout Africa are to get our African Climbing up to the international climbing standard. Something that takes a lot of time and work, but something everyone seems willing to do! 

Before the November Covid International shut down there were athletes and guests from 4 other African countries, however most of them pulled out because of the Covid implications. A large team from Uganda came to further their experience and exposure after the ACC in 2020. While they didn’t do as well in the comp as we, and they, would have liked, they gained invaluable psych and experience from being here, seeing our space and our community.

The People Pushing African Climbing

African Climbing Competitions Are Rewarding

Our sister company, Scallywags Climbing did the setting for the boulder problems at FA and lead wall at The Barn under the leadership of James Barnes, who was the chief setter for this comp.

The days before the competition went by in a blur as the year caught up with us while prepping for the biggest event we’ve been involved in Continentally. Hosting a comp is pretty stressful, it’s like having a party at your parents house! Despite the situation, we pulled the rabbit out of the hat and the 2021 Africa Continental Championship went off really well! 

Once you’re in it, hosting a Competition of this scale is a lot of fun, we loved seeing all the athletes put their best foot forward and try their best. The “crowd” which was made up of officials and volunteers only due to Covid, went wild as the climbers got high points or tops. Seeing how SA comp climbers have developed over the years was amazing to see and being involved as a venue was very special to each one of us. 

Growing African Climbing Though Comps

How FA hosted the boulder section in style

An African Climbing competition is a stressful thing, everyone is watching and you only have a certain amount of time and energy to get the send.

Our space and our community worked well to put the climbers at ease and the fun and quality problems meant the 2021 ACC’s Boulder Section, while super serious, was enjoyable. We turned the Omsight Studio and Spray Wall into the isolation area so that the athletes had a lot of space to warm up and hang out in. This was a far cry from some other international Competition where warm up is limited to a hang board and some thera- bands.

The Spark Cafe downstairs was ready with cold drinks, beers and food as officials and athletes headed downstairs for a bite to eat between qualifiers and finals. Having the space downstairs was super useful as officials, athletes and their support structures had some space to spread out, keeping the gym from getting too crowded.

Boulder Comp in Africa

Friends and Allies was never intended to be a competition venue. We view or space as a training facility. But you better believe we are happy to help and get involved in anything climbing related! We are extremely grateful to be considered to host such a big African Climbing competition and beyond psyked at how well it all came together!

The athletes put on a show and we can’t wait to further contribute to the growth of climbing in Africa and to see our athletes compete in The World Games in America this year!

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