The 11th St. Stephen’s College Rohan Kanhai Datta and Sunil Chandra Open Sport Climbing Competition concluded with a resounding success on 7th February. The eleventh edition of this national level annual three-day competition was hosted by the Hiking Club, St. Stephen’s College, which is one of the oldest hiking clubs in India, second only to the The Himalayan Club of Bombay. The competition was held at the Easwaran Bharatan Memorial Climbing Wall, installed in 2004, within the college premises.
The event saw the participation of over 90 climbers, both amateurs as well as professionals, competing in speed and lead climbing events, with separate categories for men and women, as well as an under-16 competing category. Participants arrived from Pune, IIT Kanpur, Jamshedpur and Amritsar, along with climbers associated with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and the J & K Mountaineering Foundation. “The level of climbing at this year’s edition was top notch. National champions Ajij Shaikh and Abhishek Mehta showcased their skills. We had a participant from Chile as well, this year,”says Paritosh Gupta, Vice President, Hiking Club. Several students from the Hiking Club also participated wholeheartedly.
Shivpreet Pannu from Punjab topped the tables for the women’s lead and speed climbing categories, while Ajij Shaikh walked away with the medal for the open lead climbing event for men and Abhishek Mehta won the Sunil Chandra medal for the men’s open speed climbing event.
The vicinity of the climbing wall throbbed with energy for the duration of the competition as thumping music and enthusiastic cheers from onlookers forbade the climbers from tiring out or giving up. The routes were carefully set prior to the commencement of the different competing categories, with ropes, harnesses and carabiners being arranged for by the organisers.The event saw feisty ten-year olds scrambling up the 11m high wall with ease, in the under-16 category. The awe-inspiring agility and levels of fitness that the sport involves leaves the lay onlooker impressed and motivated to try the wall.