USA Climbing Competition Info

The Seasons

The Boise Climbing Team structures our practices around the two USA Climbing Competition seasons: “Bouldering” and “Sport and Speed”.  When in “Bouldering” season we climb without ropes, using pads to protect falls and during “Sport and Speed” we use ropes to protect falls. Both seasons have a regular season in which we compete in “local” competitions and championship competitions at the end in which climber’s must qualify to attend.  Below is a general schedule of the seasons:

  1. Bouldering Season

    1. Regular season (August- December)

    2. Championship Competitions

      1. Regionals (December)

      2. Divisionals- (January)

      3. Nationals- (February)

  2. Sport and Speed

    1. Regular season (January- May)

    2. Championship Competitions

      1. Regionals (May)

      2. Divisionals- (June)

      3. Nationals- (July)

Qualifying for Championship Competitions

  1. Regionals- In order to qualify for Regionals, climbers must complete the following:

    1. Climb in TWO USA Climbing sanctioned “local” competitions

    2. Have one of the following USA Climbing membership while competing in the local competition:

      1. USA Climbing- Competitor Membership

      2. USA Climbing- Day Member Pass

    3. To compete in Regionals, members must have a USA Climbing Competitor membership.

  2. Divisionals- To qualify for Divisionals, climbers must place in the top 10 in their Region.

  3. Nationals- To qualify for Nationals, climbers must place in the top 7 of their Division.

Competitors interested in Championship competitions should familiarize themselves with the rules of USA Climbing.  You can find those rules and videos on the rules here: http://www.usaclimbing.org/Officials/Rulebook.htm

Becoming a USA Climbing Member

Competitors may purchase one of the below memberships at usaclimbing.org

  1. USA Climbing- Day Member Pass: The Day Member Pass is a 1-week pass only for local competitions.  Without the Day Member Pass, the local competition will NOT count towards Regional qualification.  These passes expire after 1 week. A full Competitor Membership must still be purchased to compete in regionals.

  2. USA Climbing- Competitor Membership: If going to Regionals climbers must purchase this membership (with no discount from the day member passes).  You can purchase the “Competitor Membership” at any time and once purchased will not need a “Day Member Pass”.


Local Competitions- We compete as a team in two “local” competitions per season but you are welcome to go to as many competitions as you’d like.  A USA Climbing- Day Member Pass is needed for these competitions. Schedules are released seasonally.

USA Climbing Competition Structure

  1. Local competitions- These comps are usually “redpoint format” which means you have 3 hours to climb your hardest “x” amount of climbs.  Occasionally there are some local comps that are “onsight” format similar to the championship comps described below.

  2. Championship competitions (Regionals, Divisionals, and Nationals)- These competitions are “onsight” format, which differs from bouldering to sport climbing season and from competition to competition.  In general though, it means an athlete has a time limit to do as well on a climb or boulder problem as possible.

    1. In Bouldering, the athlete will have 4-5 minutes to climb a certain amount of boulders (usually 6 for regionals). They have as many attempts as they’d like per boulder within the time limit.  These comps can be 1 or 2 rounds, each round on a separate day. 

      • The Bouldering Regional Championship shall be a single round, onsight competition with 6 boulders.

      • The Bouldering Youth National Championship event shall be a three round, onsight competition and shall consist of 3 to 5 problems per round.

      • The Bouldering Divisional Championship shall be a 2 round onsight competition and shall consist of between 3 to 5 problems for each round.

    2. In Sport Climbing, the athlete has one attempt per climb (with a time limit).  These comps can be 1 or 2 rounds, each round on a separate day, with 1-3 climbs in the round(s).  
      • The Sport Regional Championship shall be a single round onsight competition with 3 routes.
      • The Sport Youth National Championship event shall be a three round, onsight competition and shall consist of 2 qualification routes, 1 semi-final route and 1 final route.
      • The Sport Divisional Championship shall be a two round, onsight competition and shall consist of 2 qualification routes and one 1 final route.
  3. Competitor Isolation:  Competitors will enter “isolation” at a given time in order to warm up and get ready for their climbs.  This area is to keep competitors from seeing their climbs.
  4. On-Floor Isolation: Competitors will then be escorted to on-floor isolation when it’s getting close to their time to climb.  This is a chair facing away from their climb. After completing a climb or running out of time, climbers will be escorted to on-floor isolation in front of the next climb.  The competitor will get a full cycle (4-6 minutes) to rest before their climb time begins again. This repeats until they are finished with all of their climbs.