USA Climbing (USAC)

Organizational Structure Overview

USAC is the largest competitive climbing organization in the U.S. They oversee both adult and youth climbing competitions.

The year is divided into two competition seasons:

USAC Sport and Speed Season

Sport climbing is roughly defined as climbing while using a rope with bolted anchor points for protection. Climbing gym sport climbs typically range from 30-60ft in height. We also sometimes refer to this as Rope Season.

USAC Bouldering Season

Bouldering is defined as climbing without a rope while not exceeding a certain distance from the ground. Typically you don’t climb higher than 14-16 feet from the ground in a climbing gym. Crash pads are used to reduce the chances of injury. We sometimes refer to this as Bouldering Season.

Competition Structure

Each season is composed of a series of competitions. The first round of competitions are “Local” competitions. These are open to anyone who wants to participate and are organized by the climbing gym that is hosting the event. Stone Age and the Santa Fe Climbing Center typically each host one Local Competition each season. To get credit for competing in the local events, the climber must be a member of USA Climbing at the time of the competition.

After the Local competitions comes the Regional Championship. Regionals is open only to competitors that would be eligible to earn an invitation to Divisionals pending their ranking at Regionals. This means that to participate they must have credit for at least 2 local competition and be a registered member of USA Climbing since their first Local competition of that season. Competitors are divided into Regions based on where they live.

The next step in the process is the Divisional Championship. To participate at Divisionals you must have received an invitation. You earn an invitation based on your placement at the Regional level. Refer to the USA Climbing Rule Book for the number of invitations issued for each category.
The National Championship follows a similar format with invitations being awarded at Divisionals based on your placement within your category.


Our Region is: 401 – Arizona and New Mexico

We are part of Division 4 – Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Lousiana

Competition Categories:

In climbing competitions, athletes compete against others of the same age and gender. Please use the following chart to determine what age category your athlete should register for.  Categories are decided by USAC and change once every Bouldering Season.

USAC Category

Birth Year

Youth D 2006 or later
Youth C 2005 or 2004
Youth B 2003 or 2002
Youth A 2001 or 2000
Junior 1999 or 1998

Event Coaching

Our coaches will attend two local events each season as well as the championship events. Coaches may also be hired to coach addition competitions for a fee. Fee is T.B.A.