Monday, February 8, 2010
The 2010 Elemental Bouldering Competition
Last Saturday was the biggest climbing day that I've had in a long time. It's now Tuesday night, and I'm still recovering. The forecast called for clouds and snow all weekend so I expected that we'd just be climbing in the comp. But Saturday morning the sky was perfectly clear so we went out to Sinks for what we planned to be a quick, easy sport climbing session. The sky was incredibly clear and I heard one climber say "It's too bright to send."
Ashley finished the redpoint on "Hardware" and then I tried really hard and flashed "Murgatroid." I'm not calling it an onsight because someone left draws on it, and a few tick marks helped. Yet it felt really good because I've never done a 5.12 first try before. I really pushed myself, and as I went for the anchors I thought that I'd probably be too pumped to clip them. But I was able to slot my hand into a horizontal crack and clip the draws without grabbing anything. So began a day of many serendipitous events.
Some climbers drove long distances to attend the comp Saturday evening. Trevor came up from Colorado with his friend Sam. It was nice to catch up. Since he left Laramie, the last time we'd seen him was at the Vedauwoo comp two or three years ago.
Only four women competed, but it was good competition. Ashley and Sam worked on many problems together, and for a while it was hard to tell who would win. Sam finished one problem that Ashley couldn't and won first place. When it was my turn to compete I couldn't finish the problem either. Nice climbing Sam!
Trevor and Sam
Ashley getting ready to flash.
I was still worked from the sport climbing session, but decided to give the comp my best shot anyway. Took two ibuprofin, and chugged a small thermos of coffee a half hour before the climbing began. The level of competition was very high. Stronger climbers and more difficult problems than I've seen in a comp in a very long time. I couldn't finish any of the Open problems, and couldn't do a couple of the Advanced lines. The Mens' competition was packed, but everyone took turns and stayed out of the landing zones. The route setting was good, and it was a well run, fun competition.
I got first place in the Advanced category. It was nice to win, but I felt humbled at the same time. I'm curious to get back into Elemental tomorrow, and see if I can do any of the Open problems with fresh forearms.
While I competed, Ashley took portraits of climbers we've been getting to know in Lander. Under florescent lighting, the photos look better in black and white.
Kirk: Likes routes, but has spent more time at Hueco than I have.
Alan: The "Bruce Lee of Lander Bouldering."
Tom: Climber, Boulderer, E.R. doctor.
Graham: Boulderer, Ice Climber, Exploration Organizer
After the competition Ashley went home to relieve the babysitter, and I went to the after party. I picked up a Wild Iris shirt, and a Black Diamond chalk bag that Ashley won in the raffle. After many small prizes were given out, it was time for the big one, a bouldering pad made by Red Chili. A guy's name was called, but he wasn't at the party. Then all the names were put back into the drawing and the next one drawn was Ashley's. I went up to claim the pad. Got a few "boos" for winning twice, but I couldn't turn down a free pad. I'll find a way to strap it on my Organic, and use it while developing the boulders. One more pad is always welcome on the stack.