Hayden “Spiderman” Barton’s Quest for Olympics

Posted on July 31, 2023 by

NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete “Hayden “Spiderman” Barton is taking to the walls in speed climbing at the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Bern, Switzerland, in his quest to secure a quota place for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

“When I was nine years old, my dad got me into rock climbing as a summer sport. I was always up in trees climbing and so my parents thought it would be good for me,” the Paris hopeful said.

“I’m known for wall crawling and climbing up things. Spiderman’s abilities are acrobatic. I aspire to be nimble and acrobatic myself.”

Barton trains five times a week at the Penrith Climbing Centre and he is at the NSWIS gym another three times a week working on his strength and condition.

“The muscle ups are a great exercise for building upper body power,” he said. “It’s an awesome exercise to engage all the muscles you need in climbing. I would like to hope I can do over 10.”


Barton credits his NSWIS strength and conditioning coach Ebony Charles as instrumental to his recent performance improvements.

“Before starting at NSWIS I was flying blind in S&C and training in the sport of speed climbing,” said Barton. “Since I have started training my times have improved from a time of 6.6 – 6.2 seconds in training.

“Ebony has been instrumental in assisting me improve. She has come to training with a very detailed knowledge of how to train for a power sport.”

Barton loves the movement patterns of climbing, the problem solving and the fact that no two climbing routes are the same.

However, 12 months ago, Barton decided to refocus his goals and concentrate on speed climbing as he was not able to make the cut for Youth National Team in boulder and lead.

“I first started as an allrounder, but now I specialise in speed climbing but last year was my final year as a youth climber. I never made the national team. I was a powerful athlete and decided my skill set was more suited to speed climbing.

“I came second at Youth Nationals and then went on to compete Youth World Championships in Dallas, Texas where I finished 20th in a time of 7.3 seconds.”

Earlier this year Barton competed at the Australian Nationals for Speed Climbing and – after only 12 months specialising in speed climbing – he won in a sub seven seconds time.

“It’s a lot of muscle memory,” said Barton. “The route is always the same and position of the holds never change. And it requires a lot of power development.”

The IFSC Climbing World Championships will take place in Bern from 1-12 August, with Australian climbers taking to the walls in every event and category. The top three athletes per gender in Lead/Boulder and the top two athletes per gender in Speed will earn a quota by name for Paris 2024.

Frances Cordaro, NSWIS

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