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February 2017 30 www.sportseventsmagazine.com t SPORT Report uniformity and competitor-friendly formats at local competitions. While climbing is primarily an individual sport, USA Climb- ing offers a team component at its youth and collegiate-level competitions. The organization's primary events include: Bouldering Open and Youth National Championships The event was set to take place at Salt Pal- ace Convention Center in the heart of Salt Lake City the first and second weekends in February. Bouldering has grown in popular- ity as a climbing discipline in recent years. Requiring no ropes or harnesses, bouldering focuses on short climbs usually less than six meters high. Competitions are typically held in both indoor and outdoor venues. Sport & Speed Open National Championships The 2017 Sport & Speed Open National Championships will take place the weekend of March 10-11 at Movement Climbing and Fitness in Denver. Typically held on indoor, purpose-build climbing walls, speed climb- ing entails climbing a route the fastest way possible. In contrast, sport or lead climbing — the most common form of climbing — is based on a lengthy, difficult route for which strategy and control are important. The Sport & Speed Youth National Cham- pionships will take place July 13-16, 2017, at Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness in Kennesaw, GA. Collegiate National Championships College-aged climbers participate in bouldering and sport and speed climbing disciplines. The 2017 event takes place at Mesa Rim Climbing Centers in San Diego the weekend of April 28-29. Adaptive National Championships Adaptive events enable athletes with physi- cal disabilities to compete in bouldering and speed climbing. The 2017 event is set for June 23 at Brooklyn Boulders in Somer- ville, MA. In addition to these primary national events, Henehan said that USA Climbing kicked off its Bouldering National Cup Series this season with a string of four com- petitions offered across the country to open and elite competitors. "The series picked up traction as the season went on and was a big success," Henehan said. Safety Based on the nature of indoor climbing, Henehan said that head injuries aren't nec- essarily a primary concern within the indoor climbing industry. On the other hand, the industry is very focused on developing safe- ty standards related to falling techniques while bouldering. Another top area of concern is belay- er safety — or the technique of exerting tension on a climbing rope — to ensure a falling climber does not drop very far. In tandem, proper auto-belay use is also an industry priority. Automatic belay devices are increasingly sought after as they elim- inate the need for a human belayer, safely controlling a climber's ascent and descent by taking up rope slack as needed. n