A sports climbing competition include bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing. It is a test of physical and intellectual capacities that requires bravery and body coordination. Climbing enthusiasts take pleasure in conquering different routes. We can see magnesium powder chalk, which climbers use to prevent slipping, on natural and artificial climbing walls, as well as bouldering gyms. To Hong Kong’s climbing athletes, there is also a unique major climbing event – the annual Bun Scrambling Competition in Cheung Chau.
Climbing appears to be a process of mounting to the top step by step, but it is letting go and falling that beginners have to learn first. As you climb, you need to get used to your body’s height on the wall and grab the rock firmly. However, during a break you have to let go of your grasp on the wall and rely solely on the rope to hang you in mid-air. In bouldering, where the height is limited to 6 metres or below, the climber falls directly on the mat in case of a loss of grip because a rope is not applied. The only way to continue climbing is through overcoming the fear of falling.
A climber needs to observe the route and then imagine how the limbs may be deployed before mounting upwards with explosiveness. Progress will certainly be made if you keep on practising. Every seemingly impossible route conquered brings unlimited satisfaction to the climber.
Coach For All – WONG Ka-yan
WONG Ka-yan is a five-time Queen of the Buns in Cheung Chau’s Bun Scrambling Competition. Having lost both her lover and her school life after graduating from Secondary Five, Ka-yan joined an interest class at the community centre. She chose rock climbing because she wanted to boost her courage and overcome her fear of heights, and has loved climbing since then. Ka-yan is also the first ice climber in the city and a multiple award-winning tree climber – she simply loves every form of climbing. She won the champion in Women’s Lead and Speed category of the National Elite Natural Rock Climbing Competition 2016, the third runner-up of Women’s Open category in the Hong Kong Bouldering Championships 2017 (the best result among Hong Kong representatives), and the first runner-up of Women’s Open category in the Hong Kong Speed Climbing Competition 2016.
Athlete For All – Chubby Hei, Skinny Ho, and Geeky Harry
Despite being interested in rock climbing all along, these three students lack climbing companions. This time, on their first attempt at the sport, they will participate in months of training and take up three challenges.
Weighing more than 200 pounds, Hei has to put up with his own weight in every step he climbs, adding to the belly that hinders climbing. He considers not giving up midway a “victory”. Ho’s thigh is even thinner than Hei’s arm. How would Ho handle a rock wall of over 10 metres high in a lack of muscles even though he plays volleyball regularly? Geeky Harry is afraid of heights. Not only does he shake as he climbs, but he also does not know how to exert forces correctly, and stays close to the wall. Can climbing demonstrate the brave side of his eventually?
We can picture athletes in an air of overwhelming greatness when they have climbed up to the peak against the mountains behind. These three students, however, do not seem to fit in this image at all, being either too chubby, skinny or geeky. Climbing can be regarded as an impossible mission for them.