Christy Spurrell continues her ascent up the ranks of a unique sport.
The 20-year-old Maple Ridge resident is heading to Puurs, Belgium, to compete for Canada in her first rock climbing World Cup Sept. 20-21.
She has represented Canada many times in her youth career, competing in the world, Continental, and Pan-Am championships, respectively. As a youth, she competed for Canada in Denver, Montreal, twice in Ibarra, Ecuador, and recently in Santiago, Chile.
Now, Spurrell will be in Belgium competing in her first international competition as an open competitor.
She will be going against the world's best adult climb.
"This competition for me is huge; I get to put my training to the test and see where I stand amongst the world's top climbers," Spurrell said.
"It is sure to be an amazing experience, and I hope to learn a lot from the other climbers."
Canada's national team is only sending two of its top climbers to Puurs: Spurrell and teammate Sean McColl of North Vancouver.
McColl holds many world titles in sport climbing and is one of the highest ranked climbers in the world.
Spurrell is coming off a strong season, last year finishing first at nationals.
She has been training hard all summer to be ready for the most physically challenging wall that she has competed on to date.
The wall stands at an impressive height of 20 metres with a daunting 18-metre overhang that will push her both mentally and physically.
Spurrell was destined to become a competitive climber.
She spent most of her youth growing up and climbing at The Rock Wall Climbing Gym in Maple Ridge which just happens to be her family's business.
Her coach and father, Terry Spurrell said, "Christy's commitment and passion for the sport is what make her a great climber and really fun to coach. When she is not climbing or training, she is coaching and teaching at The Rock Wall."
When asked who her biggest influence in the sport has been, Spurrell replied "I have had many influences in the sport since I've started climbing," including climbers like Katie Brown, and different coaches.
"My biggest influence, however, is my dad," she added. "He introduced me to climbing, bought a climbing gym, and has coached me at almost every competition I have ever been in. He shared his passion for climbing with me and has always been there helping me achieve my dreams."
On their days off the father and daughter duo often climb the Squamish Chief together.
Climbing keeps the family close and has been a major part of life and holidays, Terry said: "Ever since Christy has been competing, all our vacations are centered around climbing and competitions. Her competition have taken us all over the world, it really has been amazing."
After the Puurs World Cup in Belgium, Spurrell and her family will be taking a much needed rest - a Mediterranean cruise.
It's about the only rest Spurrell will have before the 2014 competition season starts in October in Canada; so she'll be back to coaching, training, and going to university.
@ Copyright 2013