Climbing competition a ‘HoWLing’ good time

Rock climbing junkies roughed-up their calluses on Saturday for the fourth annual HoWL Climbing Competition at the Bay Club. This year’s turnout brought climbers from as far as Anchorage and Yosemite with professional routes set by Anchorage’s Alaska Rock Gym route setters.

The 17 climbers competed in various divisions such as beginner, intermediate, open, lead and speed. Each division has participants climb three judged routes. Judges base their scoring on difficulty of route, the number of holds the competitors successfully reach, and cleanliness of climb.

The Alaska Rock Gym brought down a few competitors from their climbing club. Second place women’s recreational winner Katie Flagel, 8, of Anchorage was one who also came with her competition experience.

“I have been climbing for one-and-a-half years and this is my fourth competition. I think I did good today. It got easier after I figured out the moves,” said Flagel.

Homer resident Sarah Wolf, 13, took third-place in her third year competing at the HoWL climbing competition. She says she owes all her climbing experience and skills to HoWL which put her in her first pair of climbing shoes.

“Two of my routes went well, but I struggled on the blue route. There were awkward holds and sharp ledges that were hard to stay balanced on,” said Wolf.

A new climber to this year’s competition was Yosemite-trained Matt Langsdale. Langsdale was born in Homer then moved to Yosemite at a young age where he grew up climbing granite in the Yosemite Valley with big climbing names such as Ron Kauk, Jim Bridwell and his uncle Hugh Burton.

Langsdale and his girlfriend moved to Homer this last January to reconnect with his roots. The day before the competition he welcomed his first child into the world. The new father took time off child-bearing to compete in the competition because he knew it would be for a good cause.

“I saw a flyer for the competition at Fritz Creek one day on my way to work and thought it would be fun to do. I didn’t care how much it would cost because I knew that whatever it was it was going to benefit the community,” said Langsdale.

Despite climbing with a recovering arm he had broken snowboarding two years ago, Langsdale still attempted his climbs and became an inspiration for the kids in the crowd.

“I have two metal plates in my arm and limited mobility in my wrist, and I am living with it. I couldn’t let it get to me and keep me from aspiring to my dreams,” said Langsdale.





HoWL Climbing competition RESULTS


Men’s Recreational (Top-Rope):

1. Owen Meyer (Homer)

2. Quinn Alward (Homer)

3. Zane Boyer (Homer)


Women’s Recreational (Top-Rope):

1. Barae Hirsch (Homer)

2. Katie Flagel (Anchorage)

3. Sarah Wolf (Homer)


Men’s Open (Lead):

1. Brady Deal (Anchorage)

2. Eivin Kilcher (Homer)

3. Seth Flagel (Anchorage)


Women’s Open (Lead):

1. Clare Cook (Anchorage)

2. Shiloh Miller (Anchorage)

3. Brenna Petrie (Anchorage)


Boys “Fun”:

1. Elias Allen (Homer)

2. Lukyan Dax (Homer)

3. Ethan Styvar (Homer)


Girls “Fun”:

1. Ruby Allen (Homer)

2. Ireland Styvar (Homer)