The Fran­gos Sis­ters

Becca and Sara Fran­gos

Gripped - - NORTHERN FACES - BP

were born on Oct. Can­more hospi­tal. Their births were three months pre­ma­ture, an ex­pe­ri­ence their mother Monika and fa­ther Steve em­braced with love and com­mit­ment. Once the girls could breathe unas­sisted for 24 hours, they were al­lowed to go to their new home, a quaint Can­more cabin, where they were laid in front of the fire­place, wrapped in blan­kets, next to their par­ents. Six­teen years later, Steve, Monika, Becca and Sara sat in front of the same fire­place and talked about the up­com­ing com­pe­ti­tions and sum­mer of climb­ing.

Steve and Monika en­rolled the girls in a sum­mer camp at the V’sion climb­ing gym in Can­more when they were nine years old. “I re­mem­ber look­ing through the book­let of camps over the sum­mer with my mom and I saw the climb­ing camp and de­cided I wanted to try it. Even though I was not a nat­u­ral I was hooked since the mo­ment I reached the top of the wall.” says Becca. The V’sion was owned and op­er­ated by Dung Nguyen, the cur­rent coach of the Youth Na­tional Team.

When the girls were 12 they be­gan their com­pe­ti­tion ca­reer. They have com­peted all around the world. “What I en­joy the most about com­pet­ing is the feel­ing I get when I am on the wall. I get this feel­ing in­side me, like I can es­cape from ev­ery­day life and just climb with­out hav­ing to worry about any­thing,” said Becca. “When I get into this zone I feel un­stop­pable. An­other as­pect that I love about com­pet­ing is where it takes you around the world and all the in­cred­i­ble and tal­ented ath­letes I meet along the way. I re­al­ize that climb­ing is cat­e­gor ized as an in­di­vid­ual sport but ev­ery­one is so sup­port­ive of each other at com­pe­ti­tions. It re­ally seems like we are all one gi­ant team sup­port­ing each other along the way.”

In 2013, Sara made the Youth Na­tional Team and said “I was train­ing my butt off for such a long time, dream­ing of the day that op­por­tu­nity would fi­nally come. I found that over the last few years I was fo­cus­ing so much on the end re­sult (Na­tional Team) that I wasn’t en­joy­ing the process. What re­ally clicked with me last year was tak­ing ev­ery­thing I have learned from com­pe­ti­tion climb­ing and train­ing and just had fun with it, en­joy­ing ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion, ev­ery route and ev­ery move.”

In 2014, Becca won Western Re­gion­als and com­peted at the Na­tion­als, se­cur ing her place to com­pete next to the world’s best at the World Cup in Toronto in June.

The sis­ters are well known around the com­pe­ti­tion cir­cuit, mak­ing an im­pact on many of their peers. Josh Muller said, “These two sis­ters are killing it.The Fran­gos sis­ters can not only do r idicu­lous things like so many youth climbers these days, but they are con­sis­tent, some­thing you typ­i­cally only see in the older gen­er­a­tions. I look for­ward to see­ing what they are ca­pa­ble of in fu­ture comps and rock climb­ing.”

Coach Dung Nguyen said, “I can tell the twins have lots of am­bi­tion and de­ter mi­na­tion, above all they have the dis­ci­pline to reach their goals. Becca be­ing shorter than her sis­ter, her as­set is her climb­ing in­tu­ition. The twins’ se­cret is they are both hard work­ers and highly self-mo­ti­vated. Much of their suc­cess comes from their par­ents’ ded­i­ca­tion, gen­eros­ity and com­mit­ment. Steve and Monika are role mod­els as par­ents who sup­port their chil­dren and or­ga­nized sports. They built a shed climb­ing wall in their back­yard so the girls could train in the morn­ing be­fore head­ing to school and again af­ter their home­work.”

Along with in­door com­pe­ti­tion climb­ing the girls have climbed at clas­sic crags in Spain, Italy, Thai­land and the U.S.. Sara’s favour ite place to climb is Rodel­lar, Spain. She sent Tidal Wave 5.12d, in Thai­land. Becca has sent a The Hood 5.13b at Acephale and a V9 at Cathe­dral in Bri­tish Columbia. Af­ter the World Youth Climb­ing Cham­pi­onships in Arco next year, the sis­ters will be trav­el­ling around Europe and climb­ing at Ka­lym­nos, Arco, Mal­lorca, Rodel­lar, Mar­galef and Oliana/Catalunya.

Becca says the climbers who in­spire her the most are Vikki and Stacey Wel­don. “They climb so hard and they crush at all the com­pe­ti­tions. Also their bub­bly per­son­al­i­ties are con­ta­gious. They are both good role mod­els es­pe­cially for all the young fe­male climbers like me. I am stoked that I have got to climb next to them.”

Steve and Monika, along with other par­ents of team mem­bers, have ded­i­cated thou­sands of hours to coach­ing, or­ga­niz­ing and as­sist­ing the Can­more climb­ing team, which is coached by Son­nie Trot­ter, to en­sure there is a team to be part of and a place to train. “Proud, ab­so­lutely, but mostly happy for them. It’s ob­vi­ous to us that they’ve found a pas­sion for climb­ing that will be a con­stant part of their lives, not to men­tion a per ma­nent smile on their faces when­ever they are do­ing any­thing climb­ing re­lated,” says Steve. “Ev­ery day we watch as they grow, both as ath­letes, but more im­por­tantly as people. That per­sonal growth is in large part attr ibutable to their in­cred­i­ble sup­port net­work of men­tors, fel­low climbers and, of course, one an­other. The climb­ing com­mu­nity re­ally is a spe­cial group of people. Most of all, we love to watch them climb.”

Becca and Sara have paved a path like few oth­ers, as com­pe­tent na­tional-level-com­pe­ti­tion climbers, grade-push­ing rock climbers, con­fi­dent young women and best friends who, at the end of the day, just love to climb. What­ever cor­ner of the globe Becca and Sara ex­plore, they say they will al­ways re­turn to the fire­place in their cabin to share sto­ries with each other and most of all, with their par­ents.–

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