Lakeside Climber Reaches New Heights

Amanda Brownstein is an 11 th grade Lakeside student who has recently been invited to compete at the Youth World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria. Ever since climbing her first rock wall at a birthday party 8 years ago, she’s been in love with the sport. After attending a summer camp at Atlanta Rocks gym, she became hooked and quickly tried out for a youth team and hasn’t stopped climbing since.

Best on the Wall: Amanda Brownstein won first placeout of 20 girls in her category (Youth A), at the 2017 BoulderingYouth National Championship

Graphic by Lucy Skelton.

“I am not aware of too many people at Lakeside who climb” says Brownstein, but she has “grown close with so many of (her) team over the past few years they feel like family.” Amanda has no siblings but her father likes to climb when he can in his free time. Four to five times a week, Amanda has rock climbing practice, which consists of a wide variety of things. While climbing with friends is fun, Amanda thinks “it’s a different environment when training with a supportive groups of friends and coaches as opposed to training alone.” Amanda has several coaches, including Coach Claudiu Videlescu and Olexiy Shul’ga. Coach Claudiu is the main coach at Stone Summit team in Atlanta, and the head coach of the USA youth team. Amanda has admittedly “thought about quitting before because it can be frustrating when you are not able to perform your best at the competitions that you train so hard for,” but she does not plan on it because her team mates will always keep her going and encourage her.

Training isn’t just climbing the wall over and over again, but running numerous drills to help with her endurance, full body workouts to build strength and specific exercises which help with certain parts of the three types of climbing. Bouldering is the simplest form of climbing in which you only receive climbing shoes, chalk and a ‘crash pad’ for landing. Sport climbing relies on permanent anchors fixed to rock, or possibly bolts, for protection and safe landing. For bouldering and sport competitions, the main goal is to get as high as you can or top the route, all which is timed. Speed climbing is done on rocks, walls and poles. At speed competitions, it’s about how fast you can complete a route. Amanda’s times in the finals at nationals this year were 10.64 and 10.61 minutes for the 15 meter wall. Despite Amanda only being 5’3”, her strength and persistence lets her be able to climb and pull herself up great heights and obstacles. Amanda’s current personal record is 9.45 minutes for the 15 meter wall.

Rock climbing can become rather dangerous, and over eight years of climbing has caused Amanda to suffer many injuries. Amanda has hyperextended both knees many times and fractured a plate in her finger and she has several carpal ligaments in her wrist. Amanda’s dedication has led her to be able to attend many huge competitions including outside of the United States mainly in Europe.

There are five main types of competitions that Amanda competes in: local, regional, divisional, national and world. Competitions that she must travel for, that are national and world competitions, tend to be more difficult, with more diverse competitors. Because of these competitions, Amanda has been able to travel to Spain and South Africa. However, Amanda just loves to climb and the experience rather than the awards or praise that result. Amanda also loves that adrenaline rush she gets when she hears “the crowd cheering and knowing that (her) hard work has paid off.”

There are sadly no climbing scholarships but a sport like climbing and her accomplishments can make a college application appear better-rounded. Amanda’s favorite part about climbing, is the community it’s brought her into and all he amazing friendships. She hopes climbing will always be a part of her and to be able to look back on it fondly.

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