13 – 17 JUNE
13 – 17 JUNE Kletterzentrum

„That would be my dream!“

We got the chance to speak to the 18-year-old Nekaia Sanders from California, who competed in both lead and bouldering at the FISU World University Championship Sports Climbing in Innsbruck.

After the Youth World Championships in 2017, this is her second visit to Innsbruck.


Coming from a climbing family, her passion for climbing is also shared by her loved ones. „My little sister is having so much fun“, she says as she tells us that her mother and her sister are accompanying her at the FISU World University Championship in Innsbruck and also on her round trip through Europe. After the competition in Innsbruck, they will be hitting up the best climbing gyms in Cologne, Amsterdam and Berlin while enjoying the european summer city life. Traveling is a big part of her sport, says Sanders, who’s regularly doing the whole US circuit, especially during competition season.


Her love for climbing was sparked by her aunt, who took the whole family climbing for the first time in Portland just for fun, not knowing what would happen next. „We all were immediately addicted and climbed for a month straight, no rest days!“ When asked where she’s climbing mostly, she says „mostly indoors, it’s hard to do both“. 


When she’s not on the wall, Sanders enjoys painting and reading, as well as the very occasional surf session. Climbing has her whole heart though! „Climbing is my outlet. Being on the wall and staying at home, I feel most comfortable“, she says. 


In Innsbruck, at the Kletterzentrum Innsbruck, she appreciates the competition style route setting of the routes, which requires not only her strength, but also to be mentally involved. As a university student, who will be transferring to psychology after aquiring her associates degree, she’s very interested in the mental side of climbing. „Over the last two years, I’ve been working on my head for climbing and I’ve been reading a bunch of books on sports psychology“. Her goal is to not only use psychology for her own climbing, but to become a sports psychologist in the future. Her climbing goal is to compete as long as she can and to participate in world cups, „that would be my dream!“


We wish you all the best, an amazing trip and good luck at the upcoming Youth Nationals in Chicago!


Innsbruck 2022 World University Championship Sport Climbing
Universität Innsbruck
UNI Sport Austria