The Story of Competition Climbing in Queensland

Rock climbing in recent years, particularly in Australia, has become an increasingly popular sport. Back in 2010 SCQ founder, Isabelle Johnson, saw the sport growing within Australia and it dawned on her that Queensland had not held a competition for the past 3 years or a National event since 2007. Because of her love and passion for climbing she approached her co-worker Rob Parer and former boss Chris Ellis of RockSports in Fortitude valley and proposed the idea of running a state event in 2011.

Due to Issy’s perfectionism, Rob’s love of route setting, and Chris’s approval of financial backing from RockSports a state lead climbing competition was held. The competitors and parents loved it, however, Issy and Rob were ruined – taking a week off from work and putting their own money into the event made it impossible for them to run future competitions. However, parents of the competitors believed with the help of themselves future competitions could run, and thus the unofficial SCQ board was born. Members now included Issy and Rob along with Karen Camplin, Cath Keft, Mac and Ann Stirling, Roger and Carrie Brandon, Scott and Jane Bowman, and Glen Murphy. In addition to the state event Issy believed it was important to notify qualifying Queenslanders of the Australian National events, and via just one email, 5 QLD competing athletes rose to 35 in 2011.

In 2012 a second event was held despite having zero dollars. With the support of parents and volunteers the event ran successful at the only indoor leading facility in QLD, RockSports Logan. The goal of the committee was now to have enough money in the bank to run future lead climbing competitions.

2013 was the year where the financial situation of SCQ no longer became a worry. A new lead climbing gym, The Rock in Parkinson opened up providing a new location and allowed for a fundraising BBQ’s. Additionally the ICP series launched and offered SCQ the opportunity to run a BBQ at all of their events to raise money.

With the BBQ fundraising in 2013 and Urban’s new lead wall opening, the opportunities for SCQ were higher than ever in 2014. An EOI process was created, bouldering was starting to become bigger, FingerComp’s was employed, free coaching clinics were provided to all SCA members, and a youth team was sent to nationals with a head coach. It was obvious the sport was growing immensely in Queensland and with Issy’s growing family and Rob’s growing business their workload needed to be distributed. A recruitment meeting in October 2014 was held to reduce the workload and create sub committees to make events run smoother. At the end of 2014 a new board was born and for 2015 it was officially incorporated.

With an official board the goals in 2015 for SCQ included training volunteers and creating a comprehensive database with record of training, introducing the operational SCA membership database, SCA providing finical support,  and reduce entry fee for all QLD competitors at national events. With these goals we saw over 100 QLD competitors at lead nationals, held in Queensland, along with the first living streaming held in Australia.

In 2016 the SCQ board is now complete with numerous subcomittes working on varying tasks to bring Queensland climber’s and interstate climbers the best lead and bouldering competitions they have ever competed in. However, the SCQ board and quality of competitions in Queensland could not be where they are today if it wasn’t for Issy and Rob’s passion and dedication back in 2010. SCQ hopes to continue what they envisioned for climbing across Queensland and maintain their love and passion for the sport.