Analise Van Hoang is a sophomore at Berkeley High School and one of the best U16 rock climbers in the country. At just 15 years old, she has already competed in the Youth National Championships and Youth World Championships for climbing.
Van Hoang joined her first climbing team at the age of six. She was inspired to climb because of her grandfather, who she says was a “mountaineer, climber kinda guy.” She competed in her first bouldering season when she was eight, and competed in local competitions up until nationals, which she continued to do until she was 14 years old, when she competed in her first National Youth World Championship. She recently competed in the 2023 Yeti Climbing National Championships in Idaho.
This year, Van Hoang missed the first two weeks of school to compete in the Youth World Championships in South Korea, where she beat out Geila Macia Martin from Spain and Oda Natsumi from Japan to secure a first place finish for bouldering.
For her, this experience was a whirlwind. “Everyone is from different countries and speaks a different language and has different ways of doing things,” she said. “It’s everyone’s biggest competition of the year so it’s really intense, but ultimately everyone’s there because they love to climb, so it’s definitely a good environment to be in with all those high level athletes.”
Even with her immense success at such a young age, Van Hoang considers one of her greatest accomplishments to be continuing to stay motivated during the pandemic. To keep training, Van Hoang and her mother built a climbing wall in her basement. During lockdown, she continued with her training schedule, climbing on her indoor wall and finding locations to climb outside. “I think with everything with COVID, it was really hard to keep going and be motivated. So to come out of that and to keep climbing is pretty amazing,” said Van Hoang.
On a day to day level, Van Hoang has to manage balancing her training for her career in rock climbing with the regular life of a high school student. When training for a competition, Van Hoang trains five days a week, with each training session lasting three to four hours each. What keeps Van Hoang motivated is that it is fun, rewarding, and satisfying.
Van Hoang’s dream is to be a professional climber. In the meantime, she aims to continue improving and work on her weaknesses in her sport.