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Open grade entries were light but there were plenty of age-group competitors.
Wanaka Cliffhangers vice-president Loz Ogle said sport climbing athletes tended to peak in their late teens and those in the nationals had mostly come to the sport through school programmes.
Competitive climbing was about difficulty more than speed and tested mental, technical and physical ability.
''You need all three and often in competition, the mental one trips them up,'' Mr Ogle said.
The top of the wall had ''very small holds'' and competitors needed to use ''every single muscle'' to hold on.
''So your core is just as important as your little pinky, which is just as important as your big toe.''
Finger injuries were a hazard of the sport but could be avoided by proper warming up.
The course was set by national organisers of the climbing series, so local climbers did not have an unfair advantage, Mr Ogle said.
Sport climbing is a demonstration sport at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, in August.
Open women: Rowan Hines, Canterbury, 1; Jan Presto, Wanaka, 2; Sabrina Street, Rotorua, 3.
Male, under 20: Callum McLean, Rotorua, 1; Matthew Sutherland, Rotorua, 2; Zach Schuster-Barton, Waikato, 3.
Female, under 20: Aiyana Grigsby, Rotorua, 1.
Male, under 18: Daniel Newth, Auckland, 1; Kent Chevallier, Canterbury, 2; George Sanders, Wellington, 3.
Female, under 18: Erica Gatland, Auckland, 1; Sian Moffit, Waikato, 2; Shania Gibson, Canterbury, 3.