The Frangos Sisters
Becca and Sara Frangos
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.–