Sports

Utah teen wins gold again at Youth Ice Climbing World Championship

Landers Gaydosh — a 14-year-old middle school student from Riverton, Utah — was so fast that he would've beaten many competing in older age divisions.

Utah teen wins gold again at Youth Ice Climbing World Championship
Landers Gaydosh stands on a podium after winning gold at the 2024 UIAA Youth Ice Climbing Championship.
The Gaydosh Family
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A Utah teen returned from France this week after winning gold in the sport of ice climbing — again.

Landers Gaydosh spent last week competing in the 2024 UIAA Youth Ice Climbing Championship. The 14-year-old excelled in both "speed" and "lead" climbing, each of which offers a different challenge.

"Speed is where whoever gets to the top fastest wins, and then lead is where whoever makes it furthest up the wall wins," Landers said.

He described the speed category as just "a big wall of ice," while lead is part ice and part "dry." Landers breezed through those events, coming out on top and winning gold in both in the under-16 category.

"I've won both now, and yeah, that was my goal," Landers said.

Colorado ice climbing competition goes on despite warming and drought
Colorado ice climbing competition goes on despite warming and drought

Colorado ice climbing competition goes on despite warming and drought

The park and the festival draw in thousands of climbers and tourists to a place people never used to stop.

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While winning gold is an achievement in itself, it's how Landers did it that might be even more impressive.

"I got two really fast times, and yeah, I would have beat a lot of the people who are older than me, like in the different categories," Landers said.

That feat was further explained by his mother, April Gaydosh.

"I watched the U-18 and he would have won in that category," she said. "And then I watched the U-20, which is, of course, the older, almost adults, and he would have gotten second in that category," Gaydosh said.

While Landers, his dad, coaches and teammates were overseas, mom was back in Utah. She told Scripps News Salt Lake City that she woke up bright and early to be able to watch her son compete.

"He has just had success every year since for the last three years. It's just been really exciting for him," she said.

While Landers' passion for climbing started at an early age, he didn't take up ice climbing until a few years ago. During that time, he has found himself atop the leaderboard plenty of times.

In 2022, Landers was the under-16 ice climbing champion, in both North America and the World, after competing in Switzerland. The following year, he brought back two more golds and a silver after competing in Finland.

After returning home from France, Landers is already looking ahead.

"I'm already thinking about where are the possibilities of it being, and starting to train," Landers said.

Landers says he plans to go for gold again next year in the Youth Ice Climbing World Championship, this time in the under-18 category.

This story was originally published by Chris Arnold at Scripps News Salt Lake City.