Climbers mark first year in style

Fiordland College pupil Keegan Magness (16), of Te Anau, during the inaugural PUMPFEST Competition on the Fiordland Climbing Wall last weekend. Photo: Chris Watson

THE Fiordland Climbing Wall hosted an inaugural PUMPFEST Competition to celebrate its first anniversary last weekend.

“We are just stoked that the new community asset situated in the Fiordland Community Events Centre, has become such a big part of the community,’’ event co-organiser and NZ outdoor rock climbing instructor Vaughn Filmer said.

The style of the event was a take on a ‘lead climbing’  competition but rather than one or two climbs during the day, competitors had 5 minutes at six with easy, intermediate, and hard options, and a 5-minute rest before climbing again, he said.

“The word ‘pump’ in climbing comes from the huge lactic acid and blood build up in the forearms having climbed a tough route.

“There were 30 climbers ranging in age from 12 years to 46 years. These climbers who participated came from Invercargill, Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka, and Te Anau,” Filmer said.

Fellow co-organiser and climbing instructor Andrew Magness said: “We had approx 30-40 young climbers who came and engaged in the event on the Sunday with ages between 4 to 12 years, including several families travelling down from Queenstown.”

Sunday also included the petition where the top climbers from Saturday’s PUMPFEST got a chance to climb one route hadn’t tried it before or watched anybody climb it, Magness said.

Female finalists were Greer Egan (14) and Emma De Lange (17), both of Dunedin, and Tammy Magness (Te Anau), while male finalists were Stu Duncan, Angus Kirk (both of Dunedin) and Fiordland College pupil Keegan Magness (16), of Te Anau. Both winners were from Dunedin, 17-year-old Emma De Lange and Stu Duncan.

The speed climbers also went into the draw to win prizes, which included a scenic float plane trip with  ‘Wings and Water’ and a jet-boat ride from ‘Fjet’. Other local businesses also donated prizes to support the event.

The PUMPFEST competition was possible thanks to the third round of the Fiordland Regional Event Fund administered by Great South. The fund was established by the government as part of its post Covid-19 Tourism Recovery package, to stimulate domestic tourism by supporting existing events or helping new events.

The event was also a drawcard for the fundraising for the 4.5m-high wall is slated to extend from the end of the existing climbing wall to the far end of the stadium. Filmer and Magness were given the green light by the Fiordland Community Events Centre Trust for Phase 3 of the climbing wall last year.

The success of the event last weekend had further built and cemented the success of the project during the past year with nearly 1000 climbers and the hosting of the secondary schools climbing championships, corporate groups, sports teams, birthday parties, school holiday programmes, the Men’s Muster, and open days. There were now 14 New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association qualified supervisors, plus four in training who volunteered for two sessions each month, Filmer said.

“We are about 70% of the way to funding the $140,000 bouldering wall, with two major applications still awaiting decisions. We would love to be building before the end of winter,’’ he said.

Three Fiordland College pupils, AJ Magness, Josh Parkinson and Elan Hill, are heading to Auckland this weekend to compete in the National lead climbing championship.