Some after-school sports happen on the court or the field, but for the Rockfish Scalers, competition takes place on the wall.
The Rockfish Scalers is a competitive youth climbing team at the Rockfish Climbing and Fitness bouldering gym at the Mountain Mall off Highway 93 South.
The team started in September, nearly a year after the gym first opened its doors, after a few kids in the after-school club began to show promise, head coach Ryan Nelson said.
“We had some kids that were joining our after-school club with a lot of potential, and with that potential we thought, ‘Man, maybe we should start that team sooner than later,’” Nelson said.
“With some training, they’re going to be crushers in no time.”
Right now the team is made up of 10 kids, ranging from 6- to 16-years- old.
The climbers have three competitions under their belt now, in Spokane, Missoula and Bozeman, and they’ll host the Rockfish Boulder Derby, a youth and adult competition, this weekend in Whitefish.
The Rockfish derby will have a youth competition in the morning and an open adult competition later in the day. Registration before Nov. 10 is $30 and day-of registration is $35.
Competitions are part of USA Climbing and have each climber completing five bouldering problems, with scores for each problem relative to its degree of difficulty. A composite score is made out of the total score from all five problems successfully completed.
The climbing season runs until early December, when regional competition begins.
The Rockfish climbers are all relatively new to the sport, Nelson said, and it’s fun watching them compete and adapt in a new competitive environment.
“During the competitions, you can’t really coach while they’re climbing. You can only kind of psyche them up, and then it’s kind of on them on the climb. It’s a little bit intimidating for them,” he said.
“Once you’re up there and you grab those starting holds and your feet come off the mat, it’s all about what you know and how to utilize the tools that you have to get to the top.”
For more information on Rockfish, the Scalers and the Bouldering Derby, visit www.rockfishclimbing.com or call 406-862-8955.