Victoria Clark, a Seattle local, has been invited to compete on the US Team at the IFSC World Championships in Arco, Italy later this month. After she gets back from the Worlds she will be studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington. Seattle Backpackers Magazine had a chance to catch up with Victoria about her upcoming trip to represent the United States in the Worlds.

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What is the IFSC World Championships? The iFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing)World Championships is sort of like the junior Olympics, only the competitors compete within their specified age groups. This is actually the first year they have combined bouldering, sport climbing and speed climbing all together for one World Cup. I personally will only be competing in sport climbing, because that is what I qualified for. I’m not sure if the scoring system is exactly the same as the one we use in the US competitions, but basically the higher you climb the more points you accumulate. For sport climbing you only get one shot at the route for that day, so that makes it harder.

How did you get into rock climbing? My family had just moved from Southern California to Olympia, Washington, and I was kind of bored and I didn’t really have any friends. I had played soccer in California, however when my sister and I found out that the teams up here play in the rain and throughout the winter, we weren’t so keen on playing anymore. One of our family friends mentioned that there was a climbing gym in Olympia, my Mom took me to the climbing gym to try it out and after that I was hooked.

Where is your favorite place to climb? For most of the year I’m kind of a gym rat, and I don’t particularly like leading hard stuff outdoors. However, I think my favorite place I have ever climbed is in Waterval Boven in South Africa, because the views are amazing. Waterval Boven is set on the edges of this huge valley, and there are over seven hundred bolted routes.

You’ve been climbing with Vertical World Climbing Team for how long? How did you get involved? I have only been climbing with Vertical World for the past year, before that I was on the team, Warehouse Rock Gym, in Olympia for seven years. Last year I attended a training camp for the SCS Nationals (sport and speed climbing) at the Seattle Vertical World and it was something I really needed to improve my climbing and endurance as the walls are 65 feet high with overhangs. I was also aiming to attend the University of Washington in Seattle and since I had another year in competing in the youth categories, it seemed like a good idea to switch team and I think it has really paid off.

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Where do you see yourself in four years? Hopefully finished with my Bachelor’s degree, and having a job at Boeing. I would like to continue to compete in climbing; however it will probably not be in the same scale as what I have been doing these past years.

Why do you enjoy rock climbing? One of my favorite things about rock climbing is it’s intellectually stimulating, every route is a puzzle and if you figure the puzzle out then you have a better probability of making it to the top. Another thing is its always changing, old routes come down and new ones go up and it’s time to figure out a new puzzle. Rock climbing has also helped me make amazing friendships with people.

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What is your biggest goal or dream as a rock climber? To represent the USA at the Olympics for rock climbing, but that’s kind of more a dream considering that rock climbing isn’t part of the Olympics yet.

Who are your sponsors? I don’t have any personal sponsors, although we have quite a few team sponsors.

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