Teenage rock climber Jack Taylor will fly to Austria next Wednesday, August 16 to represent Australia in the Youth Climbing World Championships.
While the 14-year-old from Katoomba has multiple national climbing titles to his name, this will be his first time competing overseas.
“My goal for the world championships is to top a qualifier route as not many Australian competitors have done this. If I can’t do that then just making the semifinals would be awesome,” he said.
Jack earned his place in the national team after impressive performances at the Australian National Youth Lead Climbing Championships and the Australian National Youth Boulder Championships in May.
He won the Boulder for Youth B Male (15 and under) title for the sixth year in a row, and the lead climbing event for the fifth time. It was the first time two different rock climbing disciplines were held over the same weekend.
With previous wins under his belt, the Katoomba High School student admitted to feeling some pressure at the national championships.
“It is always slightly nerve racking in any competition as one wrong move and it’s all over. As with any competition sometimes it can just come down to conditions on the day and whether the style of route suits your particular climbing strengths,” he said.
Jack started in the sport when he was two-years-old, following in the footsteps of his father, Damien Taylor. “My dad has been climbing for 35 years and so I just followed in his footsteps, climbing on our backyard climbing wall whenever I could,” he said.
“I’m really lucky that Dad is such an experienced climber and has been able to teach me everything about the sport.”
Having the stunning cliffs of the Blue Mountains on his doorstep doesn’t hurt either.
“Living in the Blue Mountains is one of the reasons I think I win the comps. When climbing on the rock you have to think for yourself and commit more than in a gym. In a gym all you have to do is follow the coloured holds to the top but having the ability to know how your body moves and where it needs to be to do a move is a major advantage over the other competitors,” he said.
“Living in the Blue Mountains also means I am surrounded by some of Australia’s best climbers and I would like to thank my local climbing community for their generosity.”
Their fundraising efforts have helped him get to Austria this month, as has the support of BJR Climbing Equipment in Blackheath who has been sponsoring him for many years.
The Youth Climbing World Championships are held in Innsbruck, Austria from August 30 to September 10.