Rock climbers scale replica of border wall as quickly as 13 seconds

Published: Oct. 13, 2019 at 6:50 PM EDT
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Just over three weeks since President Donald Trump made a comment while visiting a portion of the border wall near San Diego, California, a Kentucky rock climber held a competition to test it for himself.

"This was the one that was hardest to climb and we've all seen the pictures of young people climbing walls with drugs on their backs, a lot of drugs, I mean they were unbelievable climbers,” Trump said. “This wall can't be climbed."

It was after hearing that comment that rock climber Rick Weber decided to build an exact wooden replica and invite other climbers to take on the challenge.

"You don't tell a rock climber that something is impossible to climb because we're going to go try it," Weber said.

While determined to prove its possibility, what Weber didn't expect to climb was the amount of attention he would attract.

"We had no idea this was going to go viral," Weber said.

With T.V. stations and magazines picking up the story, climbers from as far as Virginia made the trek to try out the wall for themselves.

"I did it in 21 seconds free-climbing and then 30 seconds with the rope,” Keelan Utzinger, a rock climber from Virginia, said. “But, I feel like the rope is something that anyone could get up and over it with."

Weber encouraged climbers to try different methods of getting over the wall, sparking the competition with times as fast as 13 and 14 seconds.

Standing 18 feet tall with a 60-inch plate at the top, the replica became a fun way to prove a serious point.

"I think we made our statement here and that is we're not arguing border security, that can be negotiated many different ways and it's something that’s needed,” Weber said. “But, we don’t need an iron monstrosity out there that costs $6 billion that’s ineffective because people are climbing it already."

Weber said this was a one-time competition and the wall will be cut down with a chainsaw Sunday.