Bouldering Competition Creates a Sense of Community

The bi-annual bouldering competition at the student rec-center brought an energy to the rock wall, which was literally crawling with people. The competition on November 11th was put on by the Outdoor Recreation Center as a space to let climbers push themselves and try out new routes.

Planning such an event is no small feat, as head of the planning committee, Mali Glaister, explained. She said that the committee had been working since September to organize everything from prizes to t-shirt designs. Although all that work is worth it to Glaister, who loves the bouldering competition. “The last day is just very rewarding [and] satisfying,” Glaister said of watching the day finally come together.

Another aspect of setting up the bouldering competition was that route setters worked for a full week to create new problems and routes for the competition. Route setter Cole Smith said that each route setter probably spent somewhere around 20 hours working the week before to help prepare for the event. “You have got to tweak [the routes] a lot to make them just right,” Smith said.

Smith attended the competition and got to see people climbing the routes he had help set, sometimes in ways that he had not expected. Smith said, “The cool thing about climbing is that not everyone does it the same.”

All the work that was put into the event turned out to be worth it with the number of people who came out to try out the problems and support each other. “The bouldering comp is an opportunity for a lot of people to all be working together on the same problems,” said Mary Mass who was participating in her second ever bouldering competition.

New routes were a cause of excitement for many. Every single bouldering route on the wall was new for the climbers and participants could be seen working out how to scale the wall with each new problem. “They set harder stuff, and normally during the school year there is not a lot of hard stuff,” said Jonathan Greir.

The bouldering competition, despite its name, was designed to not be overly competitive- it was inexpensive and did not have “winners”.

The competition was more about personal growth and working to figure out the problems on the wall, which fostered a sense of community within the competition. “I remember my freshman year I was stuck on a route for like 20 minutes and I had a crowd of people just giving me instructions and just being really supportive,” Glaister said.

At the end of the day the bouldering competition was a success in both the mind of the organizers and participants. It was a day of community, problem solving and pushing personal limits. “[I love] the comradery of it. Being with a bunch of like-minded people and friends and hanging out and doing something really fun,” said Alejandro Martinez.

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