After almost a month of anticipation, the 2011 Adult Nationals finally arrived last weekend in full swing. As I finished up my necessary work for the week, I came home from school at 10:30 Thursday evening ready to rest up and prepare for the qualifying round in Boulder the next day. I am so fortunate to have such a close group of friends and family that came to support me, and it felt good to go into the comp with the large cheering squad of my sisters, mom, cousin, Emily, and her Brother and Wife there to cheer me on. I walked into isolation, and saw Ben with a large smile on his face and we quickly shared jokes and warmed up for the challenges ahead. Isolation can be a weird place, sometimes people are outgoing and friendly, and other times they are “in the zone”. Boulderitis was thick in the air, but fortunately I was able to permeate it a little bit to make a couple of new friends before I went to compete.
The routes they set were really fun, and I did think they did try to keep holds and moves interesting for the competitors and the crowd. There were a couple of bottlenecks on the first one (around 13b) and the second one as well (around 13d). I tried hard and had fun, which was the main goal of the comp, but the following results and rules yet again shook my faith in our good old national governing body of the sport. First off, there was never a clear outline of how many people make finals. This little arbitrary number dictates a lot, especially after you’ve put in your hard earned $150 dollars to compete in the competition. I had heard 7, then 10, then 6, but no one really knew. Unfortunately not laying this out explicitly tends to let the judges pick favorites and expand an contract the finals list as necessary, as I well knew from years before being let “on” to the finals list at the Teva Games before it became the world cup. The second is the atrocity that was the qualifiers scoring, where not only me but a number of folks landed way off (in my case 8 places) from where they scored compared to other climbers. I knew there was something wrong, but just sucked it up and didn’t make a big deal about it until I heard multiple other people complaining about it days later.
This isn’t the first instance of shady back deals that I’ve witnessed with the organization, and unfortunately there have been so many corrupt instances (from letting famous climbers ignore the rules, to blatant favoritism in finals selection, to announcers giving obvious beta to some competitors and not others) that I fully expected something like this to happen again. With the number of newer, better comp series organizations making their way onto the scene, I will vote with my money and solely support these organizations in hope that they will take the place of the old guard and elevate competition climbing to a standard which is worthy of Olympic status.
Ranting aside, Michelle and Graham and I headed up to Heavens Gate for a little R &R on Sunday and to sink some bolts in some new routes. We headed up to an area Scott had dubbed “The Soup Kitchen” and put some bolts in a nice overhanging piece of stone on the left side. The route is short, looked like 5.11 and is definitely not, but has some superb climbing throughout. It is basically a V2 boulder problem that weaves back and forth to get to a small roof at the second bolt. The boulder problem over the roof is a stellar V5, combining every type of move from heel hooks to slopers, crimps, side pulls, toe hooks and under clings and finger locks to deposit at a beautiful V3 to the anchors. All together the route is around 5.12d, and Graham came agonizingly close to sending (In the middle of a blizzard!) before the “cloud of Mordor” came in and forced us to leave. It was still a great day, and I’m glad these guys like to climb outside so much!
Through all these waves of emotions, It illuminates the truth that climbing is much more than its counterparts. Its not just sport, trad, or bouldering; new routing or repeating classics; competitions or road trips; but how we as people grow and strive to attain the highest moral integrity and respect for one another, as well as fostering a positive future for the sport!
Thanks for reading