Crazy about climbing
He used to be afraid of heights but now 12-year-old Lukas Blenkinsopp scales rock walls for fun and has been nicknamed "Danger Mouse" by other climbers.
The Glendowie boy has been sport climbing since 2010 and is a top climber for his age group.
He is hoping to compete in the Extreme Edge Series next weekend in Panmure - the only thing holding him back is his wrists.
Lukas broke one wrist playing tag in June and has tendinitis in the other wrist from too much training.
The Remuera Intermediate schoolboy has not been climbing for two months but is allowed to start again this Sunday.
He's counting down the days.
"I just want September to come. I've always liked climbing things. Climbing is just the best thing."
Lukas competes in the under-16 category when he can because he likes the harder courses and tougher competition.
He will compete in the under-14s at nationals in October and hopes to place in the top three.
He has high hopes of representing New Zealand in the sport next year.
His mother, Kirsten Thomforde, says her dare-devil son is a natural climber and would climb "all day every day" if he was allowed. He currently climbs four times a week, she says.
"Lukas is a visual learner - he can look up at the wall and see different moves and paths from the bottom. It's about overcoming your own fears, trusting yourself and trusting your body.
"It's fantastic cross-training for so many other things."
Auckland Sport Climbing Club president Chris Gatland says the series gives young climbers a chance to get into the sport.
He is expecting more than 80 climbers at the Panmure event on September 7.
"It's really important it grows from grassroots because it's a niche sport. It's a lot like other extreme sports - it needs structured competitions to get people involved."
The series is aimed at intermediate and secondary students from the Auckland and Waikato regions.
Mr Gatland hopes it will raise the visibility of the sport.
"There's a lot of great climbers out there doing great things but the competitions give people a chance to witness them."
Registrations will be taken on the day. Go to Facebook and search Auckland Rock Climbing for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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