Stefan Fellner’s hard work the past four years paid off, as the 13-year-old rock climber earned a berth in the Sport Climbing Series National Championship in Atlanta, Ga., on July 10.
Fellner will represent High Altitude Fitness as the second-place finisher in the Northwest Division.
The division is made up three regions: Big Sky Region (Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming), Northern California Region (Northern California, Northern Nevada) and Pacific Northwest Region (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington).
Fellner competed against about 25 other competitors to secure his invitation to the USA Climbing Nationals.
He has been climbing his entire life, with the past four years dedicated to competing with High Altitude Fitness as an integral member of Team Flash.
“Climbing allows me to focus,” Fellner said. “If I want to get to the top, I cannot be thinking about anything other than climbing. Climbing makes me feel free and alive. When I climb I don’t have a care in the world.”
As a competitor, Fellner has finished in the top-five of his category nine times. His achievements include two first-place and three second-place finishes. Three times he has placed well enough in regional competitions to move on to divisional competitions.
“I am currently training as hard as possible — pull-ups, push-ups, slack-lining, hang-boards and campus-boards are all included in my daily regimen,” Fellner said.
“I also climb at High Altitude Fitness three to four days a week for at least three hours each practice. In everything I do, I always try my best whether it’s other sports such as stand-up paddleboarding or cross-country running for North Tahoe Middle School.”
Academically, Fellner has received the “Distinguished Scholar” award six times in a row.
“I am going to keep striving for that goal each trimester in hopes of reaching the ultimate goal of attending a university like Stanford,” Fellner said.
The 13-year-old credits many of his climbing coaches and peers for his rapid ascent in the sport.
“I am so motivated by my coach, Dustin Sabo,” he said. “He is an incredible teacher. He not only teaches me about climbing, he also educates me on how not to get hurt and eating well so I can stay healthy. I also have had great climbing mentors in my life — Kyle O’Meara, Flannery Shay-Nemirow, Eric Wolff, Keck Angle, Kyra Fritz, my climbing team, Team Flash, High Altitude Fitness owner Jason Burd, as well as my best climbing and life mentor, my dad.
“I love going climbing with them around Tahoe and the Eastern Sierra foothills, or just hanging around the gym. Everyone’s beta, support, encouragement and good humor has helped me reach my USA Climbing Nationals goal.”