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Hillary Scholar takes rock climbing to the next level

26 Mar 2015

Addicted to the thrill of rock climbing for six years now, University of Waikato engineering student and Hillary Scholar Daniel Krippner says he’s looking forward to competing in the first round of the National Cup series later this month in Frankton, Hamilton.

Currently Daniel is the Open Male National Champion for lead climbing and the Hamilton event is the first of three events  before the national championships in Rotorua in September. Success in the series means you’re on track to do well at the national championships.

For Daniel, it’s about consistency. He’ll be trying to peak for the Hamilton event as well as the Championships at the end of the year. He’s done pretty well for the past two years saying “the pressure’s on to make it go well third time around”.

“There are two categories; lead climbing and bouldering, both can get you onto the podium which is where I’m hoping to be. The key for lead climbing is to read the sequence of the climb well, to take your time to get up the highest – that’s where you score the points. For the bouldering, it’s not as important as it’s all time based,” Daniel says.

There is a regular crowd who participate in the sport in New Zealand and Daniel expects the national competitions will attract about 120 athletes from across the country.

Daniel is a University of Waikato Hillary Scholar which means he has his course fees paid, receives specialist coaching and mentoring and takes part in a personal development and leadership programme.

Passion for rock climbing meant Daniel took a sabbatical from university last year in order to gain experience and improve his skills in the outdoors, rather than the indoor climbs he’d become familiar with at Extreme Edge in Hamilton.

In the South Island he spent a lot of time in Fiordland National Park, particularly in the Darran Mountains, an area where snow-capped mountains, rivers of ice, deep lakes, unbroken forests and tussock grasslands produce a landscape of exceptional beauty. 

“The climbing was really good. I like views and the sense of freedom you get when you’re climbing outdoors. It’s not about danger, although you can make it as dangerous as you like. I’m not too far-out on that scale. I climbed in small groups with a good crew of guys so we could help each other out.”

Since Daniel has returned to university, he’s been spending more time climbing indoors and has met UniRec’s new High Performance Trainer Kristina Jessup, who is putting together a strength and conditioning programme for him.

“In terms of staying fit as a climber, it’s about staying limber and strong. You want to be as flexible and fluid as possible as well as strong. Kristina is doing some research for me specific to rock climbing – so I’m looking forward to what that will be.

Another activity Daniel has revived since his return to campus is his ‘Slacklining Wednesdays’ with the Tramping Club. All students are welcome to try out the long and short line set up by Oranga Lake and the field from midday-2pm. Daniel says it’s “good for your balance and helps strengthen your knees".

Round One of the National Cup Rock Climbing event will be held at Extreme Edge, 90 Greenwood St, Frankton, Hamilton from 28-29 March.


Daniel's competition results AT THE NATIONAL CUP SERIES ONE: 

"The competition went surprisingly well. For the lead climbing I got second equal in the first qualifier, then did really badly on the second qualifier getting seventh but I made it through to the final. Luckily the final climb went much better and I ended up getting first. In the bouldering the next day I qualified third and placed second in the final. The final was incredibly close as I was only one attempt away from winning. I'm happy with the result. It would have been nice to take out both, but the bouldering is anyone's game as there is usually such a small difference in scores and I wasn't expecting to win the lead climbing either based on who else was competing."

Daniel will compete again later in the year at the National Championships in September.

Daniel Krippner rockclimber