Blog: What should I expect for the Youth Nationals?

May 12, 2023

CEC and the Calgary Climbing Centre (CCC) are hard at work preparing for the 2022-2023 Youth National Championships – Boulder and Lead. This 6 day event will take place from May 18 to 23 in Calgary, AB. We invite all participants to stay connected with the event through the Event Central Page.

Having recently heard that our community desires more communication and transparency from us, I am taking the time today to write another blog post. All my blog posts will now be found under one page on the CEC Website.

In today’s post, you will read about Participation Statistics, Routesetting Mandate, and Livestream Challenges.

Participation Statistics

We are extremely excited to report that 289 Boulder Participants and 287 Lead Participants registered for this year’s event, making this the biggest Youth National Championships held by CEC. Last year, there were 271 Boulder Participants and 238 Lead Participants. We are also very excited to see the rise in Lead Participation, whose numbers had previously been declining steadily over the pre-COVID years.

The other impressive statistic to share is that for this event, we will have complete gender parity in participation in both disciplines: Boulder (144F vs 145M) and Lead (144F vs 143M)! This is one of the reasons why I love this sport so much, that males and females have equal opportunities and visibility!

That being said, we still need to continuously improve our reach toward parity at the Routesetting and Officials levels. Of the 12 routesetters contracted for this event, 4 are women (33%). Although this is a step in the right direction, it is still not enough. It is on us to do better at recruitment and training of non-dominant genders, more on this is coming this summer – stay tuned!

Routesetting Mandate

Speaking of Routesetters, we have two teams of very solid and experienced setters working on this event. Led by Simon Parton (Boulder) and Hayden Jones (Lead), the teams have received a clear mandate from CEC. Here is what to expect round by round.

Qualification: the qualification round must provide an overall positive experience for ALL participants. Yes, we may see a lot of Tops. Yes, it may feel “less challenging” for some athletes. Due to the nature of the Flash Format used for both boulder and lead, this round will challenge athletes’ ability to execute quickly and perform under pressure.

Semis: this is the round that has the most diverse set of challenges. The current trend we see at the world level is that to progress, athletes must be able to climb boulders and routes with varied demands (physicality, technicality, coordination, balance, risk, complexity). Only athletes who are able to solve multiple different challenges at a high level will succeed in this round.

Finals: this will be the toughest round. Participants will be challenged. We need to prepare them for the demands of the Youth World Championships. Demands in this round tend to increase in complexity while intensity remains high. Only the best athletes can be crowned National Champions!

As a reminder, the top 20 athletes (boulder) and top 26 athletes (lead) from qualification will make the semi-final round, while the top 6 athletes (boulder) and the top 8 athletes (lead) from semis will make the final round. Our amazing setting teams have been tasked with the lofty goal of balancing athlete preparation for the next level, creating a good show, and providing a great experience for all participants. They have shown throughout this season that they are up to the task.


As you may have read in our Livestream Fundraising Campaign Post, CEC is seriously considering not having a livestream at events. Believe me, this is not an easy decision to make. Why is that? It all comes down to money…

The CEC’s Fiscal year starts on April 1. In the past fiscal year (April 1 2022 to March 31 2023), we were very grateful to have received COVID Recovery Funding from the Government of Canada. That specific funding allowed us to support our National Team athletes to a level never seen before, and to absorb a larger deficit on our events. Understandably, the Recovery funding has been discontinued, and unfortunately, the federal sport funding envelope has not increased in almost 15 years.

That being said, we also value consistency. All our other events in the 2022-2023 Season have had a livestream (Senior Nationals and Speed Nationals), so why not Youth Nationals? Despite the fact that we are in a separate fiscal year, we understand that some form of livestream is needed.

I can confirm that we will be having fixed cameras with a stream on our YouTube Channel for Youth Nationals. These cameras may not be able to cover ALL problems and routes, but most of them.

In conclusion

Once again, thank you for reading my post. I welcome any and all questions or suggested topics you would like to know more about. You can contact me at or

Until next time, Good luck to all Nationals Youth Participants!

Christiane Marceau
Your Executive Director

Visit Our Shop

Follow Us on Instagram

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
Error: Access Token is not valid or has expired. Feed will not update.