Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boulder No Longer Center of the Universe

Where is the "epicenter of rock climbing in the United States?" Yosemite Valley? Boulder, Colorado? Smith Rock in Oregon? Nope, it's Dallas, Texas, according to a story in yesterday's Carrollton Leader. Before you choke on your chimichanga, read on. The paper had interviewed Kyle Clinkscales, coach of Team Texas, a competition climbing team based at the Exposure Rock Climbing Gym in Carrollton, a Dallas suburb. Team Texas has won the team title at the U.S. youth nationals for the five of the last six years; eight team members will be traveling to the Youth World Championship in Australia in August, the paper said. So, sure enough, the Dallas area is a serious center of rock climbing achievement, if you count plastic holds as "rock."

In fact, Team Texas's 35 climbers, ranging from 9 to 19 years old, also climb real rock, despite the somewhat limited opportunities near Dallas. “We’re the only team in the country that travels and rock climbs outside," Clinkscales told the paper, with perhaps a touch of hyperbole. According to the Team Texas website, the team has logged more than 150,000 miles in road trips since 1999. They've probably even hit some of those lesser epicenters of U.S. climbing. In any case, you can't argue with success.

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