ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Throughout the weekend, 400 competitors from across the United States and their families will be part of the USA National Youth Climbing Championships, which will be held at the new First Ascent facility in Arlington Heights. The competition, which encompasses three climbing disciplines – bouldering, lead and speed – will crown 24 champions who will join Team USA for the world championships in August.
“You can expect to see some of these athletes represent the United States at the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024,” Dan Bartz, co-founder and chief marketing officer of First Ascent, told Patch.
First Ascent Arlington Heights, located at 3400 W. Stonegate Blvd., officially opens to the public with a grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 6.
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The company, founded in 2013, also has locations in Chicago, Peoria and Pittsburgh. First Ascent Arlington Heights is the company’s largest site, with 45,000 square feet of space for rock climbing, yoga, fitness and social outings. The facility is an adaptive reuse of the former CoCo Key Water Resort adjacent to the Arlington Downs residential and commercial development.
“We invite the community to come and climb the same terrain that national-level athletes have climbed to qualify for Team USA, and to explore our full-service facility featuring commercial-grade fitness equipment, yoga studios and fitness centers with a full schedule of classes each week, locker rooms with showers and code locks, and plenty of space to relax and connect with free WiFi,” Bartz said.
But before the public tests the installation, the national competition will be in the foreground. All three climbing events were part of the 2022 Tokyo Olympics:
- speed climbing – challenge competitors to scale a 15 meter (approximately 50 foot) wall as fast as possible.
- climbing rope – Challenging competitors to climb long challenging routes up to 55 feet high.
- Block – challenge competitors to climb short, difficult routes up to 15 feet high.
“We are excited to bring our National Youth Championships and Youth Climbing Festival to Chicago,” said John Muse, vice president of sports for USA Climbing, in a press release. “The central location, excellent gym and family activities will create a fantastic environment for young climbers and their families.”
To learn more about the event and the first ascent, visit faclimbing.com/arlington-heights and faclimbing.com/arlington-heights/2022-usac-youth-national-championships.