2019 USA Climbing Bouldering National Championship

Where: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, Redmond

When: Qualification rounds are set for 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the fairgrounds, followed by semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The women’s finals are scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by the men’s finals at 7 p.m.

Spectators: $40 for weekend pass, $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday morning, $20 for Saturday evening.

Website: www.usaclimbing.org; livestream on ESPN3.

Some of the country’s best rock climbers and potential Olympians will gather Friday and Saturday in Redmond for the 2019 USA Climbing Bouldering National Championship.

The event, set for the ­Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, will include qualification rounds on Friday and semifinal and final rounds for both men and women on Saturday.

Indoor rock climbing will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Games in ­Tokyo. The bouldering ­nationals will help climbers gain points toward earning spots for Olympic qualifiers later this year, according to Zach Brinchi, communications manager for Salt Lake City-based USA Climbing.

About 130 climbers from across the nation are expected to compete at the fairgrounds this weekend.

“The Olympics aside, we’ve seen positive growth in this event from a competitors standpoint each year,” Brinchi said. “Anywhere between 10 and 15 percent growth each year. With the Olympics now, and this being one of the events where you earn ranking points toward the overall national team, more athletes are certainly trying to come out and compete at this event and fight for those top spots for the chance to go represent the U.S. at the 2020 Games.”

Bouldering is one of three rock climbing disciplines that will make up the combined event for the Tokyo Games. Each Olympic climber will compete in bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing for an overall combined ranking.

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing performed on small, overhanging rock formations, without the use of ropes or harnesses. In indoor bouldering contests, competitors must complete a preset course on a rock wall without falling. Those who complete the course the fastest and with the fewest falls will advance. The man-made courses are usually technically difficult, and they include overhanging walls, about 18 feet high, and tiny handholds.

Qualification rounds are set for all day Friday, followed by semifinals on Saturday morning and finals on Saturday evening. The top 20 men and women from the qualifying rounds advance to the semifinals, and the top six men and women advance to the finals.

Climbers qualified for the bouldering nationals by reaching the semifinals in last year’s nationals, or by being ranked in the top 100 of USA Climbing’s four-stop ­National Cup Series.

Top men’s climbers expected to compete this weekend in Redmond include Zach Galla, of Suwanee, Georgia, who won the 2019 USA Climbing Combined Invitational earlier this month in Salt Lake City, and the runner-up in that event, Nathaniel Coleman, of Salt Lake City.

Among the favorites for the women are Kyra Kondie, of Shoreview, Minnesota, who won the women’s Combined Invitational in Salt Lake, and Alex Puccio, of Boulder, Colorado, who has 11 bouldering national titles.

“While she doesn’t have her eye on the Olympics, she always comes to this event and dominates,” Brinchi said of Puccio. “She’s a strong favorite. And there’s eight or nine other individuals who are really strong climbers and could make some surprises at this competition.”

The USA Climbing Bouldering Youth National Championship is set for Feb. 8-10, also at the fairgrounds in Redmond.

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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