Yeun Li of Malaysia

What they need is funding to continue their success in 2002. "There are no indoor climbing walls. What there is is terribly old." Yet there are some fun areas, where she noted nice overhangs, stalagmites and limestone faces.

Chan and her pals were thrilled to be in Amsterdam. "We saw gay people kissing on the trams!" they hooted in mock surprise.

Will traveling to Sydney be easier? "Even though it's closer to Sydney," she said, "it's still expensive," the baht not being so hot on the exchange market.

The kids need support to get them into the air and back on the walls where they belong.

But along with a need for sponsors is progress for the state of the sport, in Gay Games and elsewhere. A petition was passed around in support of getting Sport Climbing added as an offical sport for upcoming Gay Games (Gameses? Sounds like the god of gambling).

Seeing as how these folks worked so hard, and seeing that this sport doesn't need potentially incompetent officials, just folks who know their stuff, I'd say tie me on. Help make sport climbing an Olympic Official Gay Games event.

Upon receiving her Gold medal, Chan was so happy she danced a jig for the appreciative audience.

All were humbled, however, when the designer of the trail ascended with the efficency of a marmoset, beating all times set by even the medalists.

Which shows that in some sports, it's not about winning against others, but winning for yourself, and crawling up a set from "The Flintstones" may not recreate the Nirvana of ascending a mountain peak, but it's a lot of fun.

Wall Crawlers

by Jim Provenzano

Her compact body is only a part of what made Yeun-li Chan so good. After her climb (accompanied by Melissa Etheridge on tape) she agreed, but with a smile, while hugging a pal on Team Malaysia's climbing contingent. Actually, the other half of the Malasian climbing team.

"Mayasia's sport climbing community is small, only about 20 climbers. With ten percent gay, it's pretty good." The best hangout back home is a span of rocks that are so popular, "You have to take turns."

Due to the humid climate (and the occasional monsoon), her country is way verdant. "Anything that isn't upside down or a sheer face has got jungle growing on it," so climbing can get very annoyingly shrubby. But not without the occasional glory of saying good morning to a rare perching wild flower.

Martin Lont of Amsterdam

climb every mountain ford every stream
Gay Games V finalists (if you're into that competitive thang)