Climbing Event Encourages Friendly Competition

On Saturday, March 28th, the biannual climbing competition was held at the SRC rock climbing wall.

Months of preparation and a whole week of setting and putting in routes led up to this event.

Head route setter, Brandon Conaway, even dedicated his spring break building volumes, which are large geometric features on the wall. Why so much effort?

“One of the most rewarding parts about putting on this event is getting to witness others enjoy the product of your hard work,” Conaway said. “Whether it is someone’s first time competing or a seasoned competitor, getting to see students coming together as a community and pushing one another as friends and competitors is what really gets me excited!”

The SRC staff is really invested in the climbing community, and it shows in the many hours spent working and coordinating with sponsors to bring prizes for the raffle.

Among the sponsors were Black Diamond, Monster, Sunbutter, American Alpine Club, Woodies Pizza, Earth Treks, Mountain Khakis, and Adidas Outdoor. Every competitor won a prize of equal or greater value than his or her entry fee. All competitors came with enthusiasm and a desire to win.

How does one win a rock climbing competition? The answer is much more complicated than one might think.

Many think that rock climbing is primarily a timed competition; however, this is a misconception.

Very few rock climbing competitions have to do with speed, and most are competitions in technical skill and strength.

These qualities were tested in Saturday’s Red Point Bouldering competition. Bouldering specifies that no ropes can be used and the routes must not exceed 12.5 feet in height.

“Red point” is a rock climbing term for taking multiple attempts to climb a route from bottom to top without falling. Watching others climb and talking can allow for the invaluable exchange of advice.

Rachel Abler, Coordinator at the Outdoor Recreation Center, said the competition is great for climbers of all levels.

“As an inclusive event, it brings together climbers of all ability levels and promotes friendly competition in a fun environment where everyone can learn and grow together,” Abler said. “It’s hard to find any other competitive activity in which total strangers are not only rooting for you to do well, but also giving you advice along the way. Bouldering is truly a special sport!”

All the boulders are different and require different skills and strengths to reach the top. 

Each of the boulder problems was arranged by difficulty level, ranging from a ladder with good holds to a near horizontal climbing with terrible pinches, slopers  and crimps.

There are three different categories with 10-12 climbs in each.There are beginner, intermediate and advanced categories, so all ability levels are welcome.

The scoring of a climbing competition is based on the climber’s top 5 most difficult climbs completed within the time allotted. In the case of a tie, the climber with the fewest falls will take the win. This scoring system can become subjective because one climb may seem hard to one climber but not to another. In order to combat this inherently flawed system, a diverse and skillful setting crew is required.

This competition brought quite the hype with participation from local Mines students to construction workers from Fort Collins.

After a full day of climbing, sweating, competing and laughing, the results were in (see below).

Many from the Mines Climbing club got on the podium: Joel Ebers, Alexander Bart, Jason Actis, Eric Hildebrat, and Nic Rummel.  In the advanced category, the win came down to two very strong individuals: Andrew Lee who is sponsored by Evolv Pro and Nic Rummel who is sponsored by Five Ten Pro.

When the results were released, both had completed the same climbs with the exact same number of falls.

In the end, Nic Rummel got the win for Mines Champion because he is a student and Andrew is not, but they tied for the win of the event.

“I love this event because the setting crew here at Mines is the best collegiate team in Colorado,” Lee said.

To add to the excitement,  fun activities resembling American Ninja Warrior were set up also. Textured spheres were attached to overhanging walls and an obstacle course was made.

Participants had to swing between the hanging spheres and walls to reach the end.

Also, a partner climb was set up, whereby two climbers had to use each other’s bodies to reach the top.

Lastly, there was the  raffle. Those who placed in the event got first pick on the prizes and then the remaining competitors were called up to claim their prizes.

Prizes ranged from backpacks to chalk bags, gift cards, energy drinks, and headlamps.

Everyone won something and got to go home with a good feeling, regardless of the results. In the end, the competition was a huge success; the setting was well done, the raffle was outstanding and the environment was uplifting while still competitive.

If you are interested in climbing, join the Climbing Club at the ORC at 5:30 pm on Wednesdays. There are free lessons in climbing techniques as well as a great community feel. All skill levels are welcome.

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