Petzl Junior Rock Camp, a 100% outdoor climbing experience
December 27 2019
Imagine a group of people who just love to climb. Imagine chalk marks, steep rock, and the desire to push it to the limit. Imagine 85 youth between the ages of 10 and 17 more than motivated to become better climbers. Imagine professional athletes and coaches providing instruction and advice. Imagine fun-filled camps overflowing with laughter. The Petzl Junior Rock Camp is all of that and more.
Professionals crossing paths with young climbers
Filled with excitement and energy, experts and Petzl Junior Rock Camp organizers held weeklong outdoor summer climbing camps for kids. In 2019, fifteen youth enjoyed climbing in Austria’s Zillertal Valley, twenty climbed in Meiringen, Switzerland, and fifty climbed in Germany’s Frankenjura. All of these young climbers gathered together to share their passion alongside experienced specialists. They climbed every day and participated in workshops to learn more about climbing technique and safety.
Workshops to improve, practice makes perfect!
The level required to participate started at French 6c (5.11b) and went as high as 8b (5.13d). Definitely hard climbing, but almost exclusively skills gained from training indoors. The goal of the Petzl Junior Rock Camp was to introduce kids to the different styles of climbing outside:
- In Switzerland, workshops covered three main topics: multi-pitch climbing, trad climbing, and sport climbing.
- In Austria, workshops explained in detail specific techniques to improve climbing skills.
- And in Germany, kids learned more about safety, belaying, injury prevention, and even nutrition.
In every country, athletes, coaches, and sometimes doctors were available to explain techniques in detail and answer questions. Athletes also talked about their projects, expeditions, and their lifestyles. Professional climber and Team Petzl athlete Nina Caprez spent three months with the young Swiss climbers. These workshops offered the chance to cover every aspect of safety, like wearing a helmet, belay techniques, using gear as it is intended, and risk analysis in a natural environment. Participating kids were also able to learn, apply, and perfect their skills and technique on the road to becoming self-sufficient climbers.
Lukas, a young climber, explains, “I learned a lot of new things, like how to place as cams and nuts to protect a route. It was also great to climb with other kids my age and to climb together outside.”
Katherine Choong, a professional climber, acknowledges, “I think it’s great to see this many kids so motivated to climb, and who want to push their limits and share such a great experience with others. It’s also important for me to see that the next generation has the same passion for climbing as I do.”
It’s not all about the climbing!
In addition to climbing, the kids spent time having fun doing other activities. In Austria, they could choose between rope jumping and a mega zip line. In Switzerland, they cooled off in the pool after each climbing session and also had fun on a zip line. And in Germany, the kids did yoga, played volleyball, and put their balance to the test on a slackline. Campfires every evening set the stage for everyone to tell their favorite stories about so many different adventures mountains.
Spending quality time with athletes during the Petzl Junior Rock Camps served to inspire the next generation of climbers, among which many future champions will likely emerge.