Season

The YCL offers two series—the YCL Spring Series (March/April) and the YCL Fall Series (October/November). (Months are approximate; see final schedule for exact dates.) Each series is comprised of three competitions and one Championship, which are hosted by four different climbing gyms (YCL host gyms) throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most YCL competitions include three disciplines: 1) top-rope route climbing; 2) bouldering; and 3) speed climbing. All registered competitors may compete in as many (or as few) disciplines as they choose.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CURRENT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA YOUTH CLIMBING LEAGUE SCHEDULE.
Ages and Categories

All young climbers between the ages of 7 and 18 are welcome to compete in the YCL. Teams and individuals who are not formally coached are also welcome. Competitors are broken into the following 12 categories:

Boys: ages 7-9, 10-12, 13-14, and 15+
Girls: ages 7-9, 10-12, 13-14, and 15+
Nonbinary: ages 7-9, 10-12, 13-14, and 15+
Competition Format and Rules

Each series has exactly the same format, which includes top-rope climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing. Competitors are given three hours to complete as many (or as few) disciplines as they choose. Each series will typically include one competition that is bouldering-only (when the YCL host gym is a bouldering-only gym); there will not be top-rope routes or a speed climb at this event.

Which routes/boulder problems the competitor tries is up to the competitor, and they can circulate freely throughout the gym to find ones that suit their abilities and styles. The competitor is allowed three tries per route/boulder problem, but must wait their turn for each attempt. Competitors, parents, coaches, and volunteers will belay, as long they are belay-certified by the host gym. Competitors, parents, coaches, and volunteers will also judge competitors. Initials of two different judges (on the scorecard) are required for each ascent/attempt. The speed climb is one specific route that all competitors are given two back-to-back attempts on during the three-hour period. The speed climb must be belayed by an adult gym-certified belayer.

Each route/boulder problem has a point value written at the starting hold. A competitor is awarded the total points for completing a route/boulder problem only if they demonstrate control at the top and final hold(s).

Competitors are allowed to watch each other climb and get beta from each other as well as from coaches. All protests or problems must be voiced within five minutes of the incident. Unsportsmanlike conduct by a competitor, coach, or parent will not be tolerated and will result in dismissal from the event.

Scoring and League Standings

Individuals are awarded points for successfully completing each top-rope route and boulder problem. For route climbing, we take the competitor’s top three completed routes. For bouldering, we take the competitor’s top three completed boulder problems. For speed climbing, we take the competitor’s fastest time of the two attempts on the speed climb. At each competition, after the competitor’s age group has climbed, scores are tallied and ribbons are awarded for first through fifth places in each gender/age group in each of the three disciplines. All scores are entered into a database of overall league scores, in order to determine the season’s individual and team league standings.

All fully registered YCL competitors may compete in the Championship. The scores from the Championship count for double that of a regular competition. Based on the sum of the competitor's top two competitions, plus the Championship score, medals are awarded to the top three individuals in each gender/age category in each of the three disciplines. (To qualify for a medal at the Championship ceremony, one must compete in two out of the three competitions prior to the Championship, plus the Championship.) Trophies are awarded to the season's top three teams.