Vertical Climbing Contests

Event Leaders: Bill & Miriam Cuddington

One of the highlights at each NSS Convention is the Vertical Climbing Contest, where rope climbers of every age group can test their skills and equipment for ascending 11mm caving rope using Single Rope Techniques (SRT). This continues our 53 year Vertical Caving Tradition!

There are separate age groups for Men and Women, with categories for Mechanical, Knot, and Sit-Stand Ascending systems. Contests are run at distances of both 30 meters and 120 meters for each category. Climbers may take up to three attempts in each category, provided there is sufficient time.

The Vertical Climbing Contest is not only for trying to get a fast time. It is also a chance for contestants to see if their gear is working efficiently & effectively, and also to make any needed adjustments in a safe environment. There are usually other experienced vertical cavers in the vicinity that may provide helpful information for smart techniques and “tuning” systems.

In other words, it is a place to learn more about making your climbing rig, and you, better and safer for your caving trips!

There is also a Team Relay category, where 4 climbers must use 4 different systems to climb 30 meters each, in a relay-race format. The climbers on a given team must be members of the same grotto or organization for at least 6 months prior to the Convention. The team must also have at least one member of the opposite gender.

The Contests run from about 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Monday and from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesday. Climbers, Please come early!! Runs concurrent with the Vertical Rebelay Course on Tuesday.

ARRIVAL: Participants may join us at any time during the day, and we appreciate Support and Coaches! All persons must have signed the NSS Convention Liability Releases. Minors must have written parental permission.


  • All 30 meter Climbers should arrive well before 3:00 PM, and
  • All 120 meter Climbers should arrive before 2:00 PM.

You will need allow time to sign in, gear up, wait for turn, climb, learn and enjoy! All Climbers must be ready to promptly rig in & climb when called, or you will be bypassed by the next ready climber.

Everyone is Welcome to come, participate, watch, cheer and learn!