Rocked it! 2 young climbers from St. John's to compete in national bouldering championships

Two athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador have qualified to put their climbing skills to the test on the national stage.

Erinn Locke and Lily Dubrowski have qualified for the Youth Boulder Nationals in Vancouver

Tackling the last problem in the qualifying round at FQME Coupe Quebec bouldering championships in Montreal in January. Dubrowski (right) finished in 4th place and Locke was 6th in their respective age classes, earning both a spot in the national competition. (Greg Locke)

Two athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador have qualified to put their climbing skills to the test on the national stage.

Erinn Locke, 16, and Lily Dubrowski, 14, of St. John's will compete in the upcoming Canadian National Youth Bouldering Championships in Vancouver. 

Competitors will have five minutes to assess and complete a climb — called a problem — on an artificial wall, without the use of ropes or harnesses. The faster you are, the better your score.

Climbers Erinn Locke and Lily Dubrowski. (Maggie Gillis/CBC)

"The problems have a certain difficulty ... and you try to climb it in the least amount of attempts possible. So if you climb it in one attempt then you would be scored higher than if you climb it in five attempts," explained Dubrowski on CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

Locke, who has been climbing since she was 10 years old, said the moment she tackled her first wall she was hooked.

"I haven't really looked back since. I wasn't afraid of heights and I loved it from the first go."

Since there are no ropes or harnesses in bouldering, the climbers rely on spotters and mats to keep them safe.

Erinn Locke competing at the Bloc On The Rock competition at Wallnuts in St. John's. (Greg Locke)

"Bouldering can be kind of scary since you're not attached to anything, but as long as you know that your mat underneath you has you, and your spotter, who is the person who will catch you if you fall," said Locke.

"The mats are like, really squishy, so usually when you fall on them you can just get back on the wall right away," said Dubrowski.

"You're taught how to fall as well," added Locke. "There's a certain technique."

Lily Dubrowski's father spots her on a climbing trip to Fair Islands in Bonavista Bay. (Greg Locke)

Head game 

Bouldering isn't just physically demanding, it gives participants an intellectual workout as well.

"Sometimes the holds are really hard, and sometimes the move itself is really hard," said Dubrowski.

"You have to really plan out what you're going to do ... it's very mental, you can't do them without thinking about it first."

Erinn Locke bouldering in Flatrock. (Greg Locke)

Even though Locke described the competition in Vancouver as "super tough," both girls are looking forward to the challenge.

"I think it'll be really cool to see what the highest level in Canada is, and like, compare ourselves to that," said Dubrowski.

The 2017 Youth Boulder Nationals begin Feb. 18 in Vancouver.

With files from the St. John's Morning show