The first event in the highly touted North American Cup series is scheduled to take place this weekend (June 12-13) at USA Climbing’s famed National Team Training Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The bouldering event will be a joint venture between USA Climbing and Climbing Escalade Canada and will feature athletes from the respective nations. As CBJ previously reported (and a press release noted), the North American Cup series is aimed at providing athletes with high-level competition to “continue their development outside of World Cup competition.”
Earlier this week, USA Climbing announced that volunteers were still needed for the inaugural event. For any readers interested in helping, an online sign-up sheet can be found here.
The North American Cup series is particularly noteworthy because it marks a full return to the type of national (or, in this case, continental) in-person elite gym competition that has mostly not existed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The pandemic saw USA Climbing unveil a novel “virtual competition series” with technology/app partner KAYA, and more recently the National Team Trials took place at the High Point Climbing and Fitness gym in Memphis—but without a crowd.
While USA Climbing’s National Team Training Center is not technically a gym in the commercial sense, the competition series is scheduled to continue throughout the summer and fall and include stops in Altitude Gym in Ontario, Stone Age in New Mexico, Reach Climbing and Fitness in Pennsylvania, and the Richmond Olympic Oval in British Columbia―although the first Canadian stop, in Ontario, has been temporarily postponed due to the pandemic. The volunteer sign-up sheet for this weekend’s bouldering event states that volunteers will still be required to wear face masks at all times, and judges will have to possess a hard copy of a negative COVID test.
The initial press release about the North American Cup series can be found here. Stay tuned to CBJ for additional news about the competition series as its season progresses.
John Burgman is the author of High Drama, a book that chronicles the history of American competition climbing. He is a Fulbright journalism grant recipient and a former magazine editor. He holds a master’s degree from New York University and bachelor’s degree from Miami University. In addition to writing, he coaches a youth bouldering team. Follow him on Twitter @John_Burgman and Instagram @jbclimbs