This past weekend I traveled to North Carolina for some awesome bouldering at Hound Ears in Boone, NC where the first comp of 2010 Triple Crown Bouldering series was held. All three of the comps are held to benefit two organizations dedicated to maintaining climbers' access: the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition and The Carolina Climbers' Coalition. Being a sponsor of this great event, Five Ten was present with a free breakfast and an exclusive launch of the Blackwing.
Saturday morning was on the cool side but the sun was shining and had a promise of a great fall day for bouldering. Hundreds of climbers showed up to climb on the boulders that are on private land and are closed to climbing the rest of the year. We were bused to the climbing area from Grandfather Camp Grounds for an eight hour day of climbing. At the end of the day your score consists of your top 10 problems (I promise you- that is a ton of climbing).
All of the Triple Crown comps are definitely on the top of my list of favorite competitions. The throng of enthusiastic climbers really sets a motivating, yet chill environment. A lot of the people who don’t usually compete come out to play and mingle with the usual competition crew to give the whole event a much more fun and non-competitive environment. Because the comp is outside, the problems of course don’t change. It’s also really great to be able to go back to some of the problems I worked on the year before and see how I’ve improved.
Every year I get to see some fellow climbers that I only see at these competitions as well as meet lots of new ones. Moving around from area to area you might not see the same people more than once, but you will always find someone to climb with and to share beta and enthusiasm with. There is so much climbing going on that air is as thick with chalk as it would be in a gym. Even at ten minutes to 5 when all is winding down, and score cards are due soon, you can still find most people working their hardest to get that last climb on their scorecard. Sometimes you start the day thinking that you won’t even record your warm ups because the grade is too low, but by 4:30 many times you’ll end up looking for an easy problem that won’t rip off the very last layer of skin on the tender tips of your fingers.
The day was nearly perfect; I had so much fun climbing with my favorite climbing partner and sending some awesome climbs that I’ve never done before. I finished 2nd in the Women’s Open Category this year, my best result so far at this competition, just behind Kasia Pietras (who was climbing with strep throat- props to her!)