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RG sergeant secures slot in Army Climbing Team after UK competition

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment’s Sergeant Alex Spooner recently took part in the Army Regional Command Climbing Competition held in Reading, securing a spot on the Army Climbing Team thanks to his solid performance.

Sgt Spooner became aware of the competition through the Army Mountaineering Association and decided he wanted to give the climbing competition a go.

He arrived in Reading and decided to check out The Parthian Climbing Wall, which was where the event was taking place. Sgt Spooner was familiar with the wall from a previous visit several years prior.

“After hearing about the Army Regional Command UK South Sport Climbing Competition, I decided I wanted to enter to give myself a measure of how good I was,” he said.

“I was set to fly out on the Tuesday, participate in the competition on the Wednesday and return on the Thursday, so it was a very short visit.”

“Overall, I felt quite confident waking up the next day for the competition and arrived at the wall early.”

“The qualifiers were run on five different routes of increasing difficulty from one to five with five being the hardest.”

“All participants were given a number, and this would be the order in which we climbed the routes starting at one.”

“In numerical order each participant had one attempt at each route which was timed.”

“This then gave the judges/organisers a pecking order of best to worst using a scoring system based on your time and high point reached if you didn’t top the route.”

Sgt Spooner performed well in the qualifiers topping out on all five routes.

He climbed routes one, two three in about thirty seconds each. Route four was trickier, which meant it took him longer to climb.

“Route five was looking like the hardest route so far with many of the participants falling only a few moves in,” Sgt Spooner said.

“Again, I managed to top this route around the thirty second mark putting myself in a good spot for the finals.”

The finals were run on three separate routes for three separate categories: novice, open and elite.

Sgt Spooner had been moved from the open final to the elite final competing against many of the Army climbing team.

Overall, Sgt Spooner placed fifth out of eighty participants, where 15 were in the elite category.

This meant he was able to grab a spot on the Army Climbing Team.

He narrowly missed out on a medal for the best masters (+35 years old) due to another climber reaching the same hold in the finals but having faster qualifying times.

“Competition climbing is a new style of climbing for me and something that I think will be very enjoyable once my nerves settle a bit,” Sgt Spooner said.

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