What’s sports climbing? -Lead / Speed-

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Tottori Pref.
What’s sports climbing? -Lead / Speed-

This article is based on the coverage conducted in Decenber 2020 when a state of emergency was not declared in Tottori Prefecture. In principle, the coverage was conducted taking counter measures against Covid-19 (to wear a mask, etc.) recommended at that time.

Hello, I am Hashimoto, a Sports Locally writer. It’s been a while since my last article about bouldering, and now it’s about lead / speed climbing. (The coverage was conducted on 26th December 2020.) An expert staff Mr. Fukuda continued to support me.
To begin with, here is the basic information of lead / speed climbing.

【Basic information of lead climbing】
It has the longest history in sports climbing events. This is an event in which a climber secured with a rope climbs up over 12 m high wall within 6-minute time limit using the designated route, and compete who can go the highest.

<font size='2' color='blue'>Lead climbing wall at Kurayoshi SC</font>
Lead climbing wall at Kurayoshi SC

【Basic information of speed climbing】
This is an event in which climbers compete who can climb up the 15 m high wall the fastest, which the climbers can see the position of holds in advance. For bouldering and lead climbing, the hold positions are different for each game and the climbers are allowed to see it just before the game, on the other hand, for speed climbing, the hold positions and angles are designated by international standard and so they are the same at any venue and competition.

<font size='2' color='blue'>Speed climbing wall at KurayoshiI SC</font>
Speed climbing wall at KurayoshiI SC
How was my first attempt at speed climbing!?
So, I was looking forward to trying speed climbing. Now, please have a look at the video of me trying it.
Well, the result was disappointing. As I play sports daily, such as tennis, I expected I could do well and never thought I would end up like this…As Mr. Fukuda said, it’s like that for beginners.
But I cannot finish this article just with my video. I wanted to film someone climb to the top, then a student who happened to be there decided to try it since she knew Mr. Fukuda! (Relieved!!)
So, this is the video of speed climber climbing to the top!
How was it? Obviously, it’s different from what I did, but isn’t it amazing climbing up the almost vertical wall with just strength of hands and feet? How does she do it? I was impressed. She did it so easily but it’s amazing.

Who is she?

She is Fumika KAWAKAMI. (She was in the 2nd grade at Tottori Kita Jr. High School at the time of this coverage)
Though she has only one year of speed climbing experience, she is good enough to be chosen as a Japan Women’s Youth B (Note: Youth B is for those who aged 14-15) representative. She’s getting results steadily, like, after this coverage, she won her first Youth B championship in March 2021. (She broke the Japan record for Youth B then.) She is aiming to break more records and I’m looking forward to her future success!

Just summary for lead climbing, sorry.

I gave up trying lead climbing because of forearm fatigue this time, but let me just introduce it. For lead climbing, a harness is used. As you climb up, you put the harness on metal protection called a quick draw, placed periodically. Climbers are ranked according to the height they reached in the time limit. In case two or more people ended at the same height, the faster one wins. The lead climbing wall at Kurayoshi SC I went this time was very high, 15 metres high. The wall had overhanging bumps and I could see it was different from bouldering and speed climbing. I’d love to try it if I had a chance.


Starting with the episode of “Bouldering”, my story of trying sports climbing has come to an end with this episode of “Lead / Speed”. I noticed that those three I introduced – Bouldering, Lead and Speed – have their own characteristics. They are a combined competition for Tokyo Olympics but for Paris 2024 Olympics, there will be a speed event and a combined competition of bouldering & lead. I could understand that speed climbing is freed from combined because they all have different characteristics.
Lastly, please take a look at the video of me talking with Mr. Fukuda who supported me for this coverage, I told him what I thought about this experience, etc. to conclude this coverage. (The video is in Japanese.)
That’s all for “What’s sports climbing? ~Lead / Speed~”.
Thank you very much for reading through to the end.

※ Basic information of lead / speed climbing is an excerpt from the website of Public interest incorporated association, Japan Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Association
■Kurayoshi Sport Climbing Center
Address: 529-2, Yamane, Kurayoshi-Shi, Tottori-Ken, 682-0023

The sports and disciplines
of the World Masters
Games 2021 Kansai
held in the neighbourhood.

Introducing the poster


Office worker, amateur tennis player (playing for 5 years and a half)
I love both watching and playing sports. I was into baseball when I was at school, and I’m into tennis now.
My favourite professional tennis player is Roger Federer. (I like Kei NISHIKORI, too, of course)
I’ll be participating in tennis at the World Masters Games, and I want to win in the category of ages 40 and older!