Sunday, September 30, 2007

Horsetooth Hang 2007 Report

Weeks before the Horsetooth Hang this year, the buzz began to build. This year it was going to be a formal competition. Paul Robinson the #1 ranked boulderer in the world would be giving the slideshow. 150 dollars would go to anyone who could repeat Jim Holloway's Meathook, which hasn't been done in the original style since the 1970s. Rumors were circulating that Jamie Emerson who has climbed Circadiam Rhythm V13, and thinks Crown of Aragorn is soft, had tried Meathook and had plans to send it. Would these visitors win, or would one of the strong locals like Ian Dory or Andre DiFelice who have more experience on Horsetooth's problems take the title.

On the female side there wasn't as much excitement. When Ashley managed to add the V10 Kelley Traverse into her already impressive Hang circuit last year, the chance of another girl showing up and taking the title became quite slim. Ashley had been the female winner of the Hang for the last five years in a row. Sean Drolet had her going for a second when he told her that he had heard "Josune Bereziartu might be coming out from Spain this year." Good one Sean.

I was busy competing, but during the competition I heard and saw a lot things. Ian Dory was crushing. He had done Moon Arete V11, Cheathook V8-10, the Kelley Traverse V10, Powerglide V7/8, and Talent Scout without the undercling Vcrimpyashell.
Andre DiFelice was working till the afternoon and wouldn't be competing. Rumor had it that the pro's from out of town were sending too. Paul Robinson did the Kelley Traverse V10. Jamie had done Mammen Traverse V9. Tyler Landman who had done the second ascent of Jade V15 this summer had entered the competition.

Meanwhile, my time was occupied trying to score well against Ashley. Two years ago in perfect conditions I had managed to climb Powerglide V7/8 and beat her by a few points. I hoped to do it again since I had added Pinch Overhang V6 to my circuit this year. If Ashley didn't send the Kelley Traverse or the Silver Dollar Traverse it would be possible for me to outscore her. She sent the Kelley Traverse second try, early in the morning, and with that she had me beat.

We went to the after Hang party at Hodi's Half-Note. The pizza and beer were good. The sound system not quite loud enough. Then the winners were announced. Cameron announced that the winners of the Mens' and Womens' open category were married to each other. My first thought was WTF! "David and Ashley Lloyd are the winners." I was very confused, and Ashley grabbed the hundred dollar bill, before I even recognized what it was. We also won one membership to the Spot comp series.

How did I win the first Horsetooth Hang formal competition since Jim Karn didn't show up to the awards ceremony many years ago? This is what I've learned, and what I speculate. Ian Dory climbed what is probably the most impressive Horstooth Hang circuit ever done yesterday and had the most points in the comp, but he was entered in the Junior division, so he couldn't win the Open division, and as I said before Andre wasn't competing.

How did I beat the other strong climbers? I observed many of the top climbers falling off the Kelley Traverse, and they weren't happy about it. I speculate, that after spending countless sessions bouldering on perfect alpine rock in perfect conditions, they couldn't handle the Horsetooth Hang/Kelley Traverse experience. The long, low ball, not dabbing is the crux, finger wrecking, sharp as hell, nightmare problem they had already seen a girl do, the crowds with screaming kids, the warm conditions, and waiting in line to try problems wasn't fun after a summer of bouldering Eden in alpine environments, and they decided to leave. They left early to climb up Poudre canyon, and I don't think they turned in their scorecards.

A perfect storm of circumstances lead to me being the Men's Open winner. I like to imagine that an observant climber noticed these factors coming together, and placed a lot of money on David Lloyd #488 in the bouldering world rankings to win the Horsetooth Hang Open division this year. The odds were placed at greater than 100 to one against it. Today that climber is flying out to a destination like Virgin Gorda or Thailand with a suitcase full of cash made through betting on me. They will live the rest of their life off the funds, just spending their days putting up new climbs. Maybe that climber is Craig Luebben who organized the Hang years ago knowing he could someday gamble on it and make a fortune. If you are a climber who bet on my win, and you feel guilty, feel free to send some of that money my way.

Thanks to Cameron Cross and all the other great volunteers and sponsors who made the Hang happen this year. We had a great time. It was tons of fun for the vast majority of the people involved.

Steve Woods finishing the corner after climbing Cat Eye.

Andi Rose strikes a pose.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Super Kind Video

Here is the video from Super Kind. Since no one was up there to film, Ashley set the camera on the best rock she could find. It's all from one angle, but it moves faster than I expected because Ashley never stopped to rest. The end is my favorite part. Ashley's excitement from the send ended up being recorded despite the stationary camera.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beautiful Day for Sending Super Kind

Yesterday (Sep. 27th) was an incredibly beautiful day at Rocky. I took the day off school, dropped off Sierra and Autumn at pre-school, and headed up to Rocky to try my big summer project, Super Kind, on the Kind Boulder at Emerald Lake. I asked several people to go with me, but nobody could, so I packed the video camera, the pad, and set off by myself.

The weather was georgeous-no wind and about 70 degress in the sun. However, the east face of the Kind boulder was in the shade and at least 10 degrees cooler than the sun, and the rock was COLD! I was worried that this might interfere with my goal, as I have had lots of trouble in the past sending long problems with cold hands. Nevertheless, I tried to stay positive as I warmed up.

After positioning the camera the best I could, I decided to go for it. The beginning felt smooth, but I didn't stop to shake out at the "rest" because my hands were getting cold. I cruised through the middle section and hit the crux. Amazingly, it felt better than ever before, and I dropped down to the lower section with a lot of control. I was a bit pumped but I was able to shake out a little bit and go for the last hard moves. They felt difficult, but not at my limit, and I couldn't believe it when I got to the hand-jam rest before the last few moves! I was excited and nervous at the same time, and I kept telling myself, "Don't screw up now!". When I made it to the top, I felt like I was dreaming and I wasn't sure if I had actually just climbed the thing!

Luckily, the camera had recorded the send, and I was so relieved and happy to have finally sent a problem that I had worked really hard on. It took me ~8 days over almost 2 months. I have never projected something so long, and it was awesome to send it this season. I was really worried that I would have to wait until next summer to send it and would have to re-work it all over again. Now we can go to different areas and try new things-yeah!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Dave, Sierra and Autumn for being so supportive of me and helping me reach my goal for the summer.

Now to get ready for the Hang tomorrow... Ashley

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Taking it to the Next Level. In a couple ways.

When I get tired of my plateau (see a post below on how to plateau) sometimes I try to take my climbing to the next level by working on something really hard. When I do this, I do get stronger, and eventually send my hard project, but it can take a long time. That is where I'm at right now. I've been working on a project for about a month and a half. I've come very close so many times, but each day I end up hiking out without a single new ascent to add to my ticklist. At times like these, I realize how much I appreciate the things that go along with climbing in a way that I don't when I am getting my climbs. When you're sending, you're mind spends a lot of time replaying the send and thinking about what you'll climb on next. When you aren't sending your mind is more centered in the present. I realize that just being outdoors in beautiful environments is enough. The focus present in each attempt, send or not.

It is the best season of the year to climb in the high country. Get out there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The End of Summer Bouldering Comp

On Sunday, while hiking up to the boulders in Rocky Mountain National Park, a hail storm hit us. I sheltered the girls under the bouldering pad, but all our coats got soaked. We decided to hike back out and climb that afternoon at the End of Summer bouldering comp at Inner Strength. It was a fun comp with more participants than were expected. I climbed well, and was happy to come in 10th. Ashley was one of the top four females who competed in the finals round. She had to go into isolation for about 30 minutes while the two finals problems were set. Both finals problems had one big move, and I wasn't sure if Ashley would be able to win. The long move on the first problem threw off the first two competitors, but the third , a tall and strong high school freshman named Ellie, managed to tag the hold past the large move. Ashley managed to tag the hold to tie Ellie's score. Then Ellie flashed the second finals problem. Ashley stepped up to the second problem not knowing that she needed to reach the top to win. She climbed smoothly to a huge undercling move to a high left sidepull. She couldn't reach it so she grabbed the lower hold again and moved her right foot to a higher hold further to the right. She stretched up and left again, and her finger tips just barely made it around the hold to cheers from the crowd. She floated the rest of the problem. It was a tie in the finals, but Ashley had a higher score in the qualifying round, so she won the comp and a pair of Evolv shoes. She also caught a t-shirt, and I won a pink water bottle, and a free burrito. It was a fun day. Thanks to Bryan, Colin, Chase, Mike, Tracy and everyone else who made the comp happen.