Whanganui's Rachel Carter has earned the right to be New Zealand's first paraclimber at the IFSC World Championships after a great effort in Ohio the previous weekend.
The 35-year-old mother of three, who took up competitive rock wall climbing again when rehabilitating from surgery needed for progressive damage from a climbing accident as a teenager, finished fourth in her division at the USA Adaptive Climbing Championships.
Travelling to Columbus, Ohio, it was the first time a New Zealand paraclimber had entered an international event and because of her performance, Climbing New Zealand has selected her for the world championships, which is for able-bodied and paraclimbers, in Innsbruck, Austria, from September 11-16.
In Ohio, Carter was entered in the Female Open Division NP (Neurological or Physical) and only just missed the podium on points, with the event won by Aika Yoshida, who lives in Indiana but represents Japan at world level, followed by Americans Jasmine Raskas and Jillian Bukoski.
Carter said the event was a 'red point' competition, which involves three hours of strategy and endurance as paraclimbers must chose to climb among 60 possible routes up the walls, of which their best three results are added together for points.
Her previous experience was with the different IFSC style of competition, which consists of two climbs with a six minute time limit to qualify for a final, which has another six minute time limit.
"It was a completely different format than what I trained for," she said.
"It's a really complicated scoring system."
Although disappointed to just miss out on third place, with possibly one of Bukoski's three climb's being "slightly" better, Carter did more than enough to convince the national body that she would do well at the world champs.
She proved to be up to the standard against leading paraclimbers from Israel, India, Japan and the United States.
There are different categories and divisions at the IFSC champs, so it is possible that Carter, who climbs without the use of her left leg, may not face Yoshida, Raskas or Bukoski again.
"For me, the accomplishment is that I'm going [to Austria]," she said.
"My goal [in Ohio] was to see where I sit on the competitive world scene.
"It was really exciting to get over there and compete on some well-set routes and I'm doing well.
"It's amazing to have Climbing New Zealand so excited."
Carter is now facing a quick turnaround as she only two and a half months to prepare for Austria, while trying to sort out an effective way to travel due to the pain levels in her leg.
She was supported by SLR Vertigo Adventure Centre Ohakune, Talking Point Taranaki, Physical Care Centre Whanganui, Mana Orthopaedics, Taranaki Tuataras Climbing Group, Sport Whanganui, Splash Centre Whanganui, Whanganui Lions Club, Mud Ducks Cafe, Meteor Office Products, Guthrie's Auto Care, Fitzies Springvale, Unichem Whanganui, Rachael Lynch (Club Fitness) and Stirling Sports Whanganui.