I started climbing in Albuquerque, where I lived for the first 18 years of my life. I started out, as many do these days, in the gym. At the time Stone Age was SMALL but it was was no problem for me. Throughout the years the strong team of owners, workers and setters evolved the gym into a huge venue for climbing- this included a massive extension into the neighboring building and multiple design changes in the original walls. I caught up with a few of my friends who still work and climb at Stone Age this summer and they encouraged me to attend their annual competition, the Yank-N-Yard.
Almost three months later I found myself on a familiar drive south to Albuquerque. The event was more than I could have expected. It has been about three or four years since I competed in the Yank-N-Yard and I was psyched to see how well it has evolved. The finals were exceptionally good with a rad DJ, massive lighting system and 4 large, hanging volumes filled with thought provoking boulder problems. I was psyched on how I climbed. I flashed all the final problems but was told to re-climb the 2nd problem due to a disqualification when I touched a piece of tape. I ended up in second. I was a bit annoyed but the rules are the rules and it didn't really matter as I was just psyched to be back in my home gym.
1st: Julian Bautista
2nd: Jon Cardwell
3rd: Zach Lerner
4th: Jon Glassberg
5th: Austin Geiman
6th: Ben Spannuth
Overall the event was great and I can definitely see this competition getting more recognition in the future. The comp and atmosphere was all about entertainment and for the climbers, it's well worth the time with a $4,000 dollar cash prize. Next year they told me they are willing to step it up again- so keep an eye out! There will be a video and photos of this year's competition online soon!
On the drive back I couldn't help myself from not climbing when driving past Las Vegas, New Mexico. There is a large limestone cave just a 20 minute detour off the highway. While the ascetics are not the best the movement is great. The cave is home to an old boulder problem established by Timy Fairfield a few years back. MC Raw Dog is the name it weighs in at hard V13. I couple years ago the Landman brothers (Tyler and Jeff) and I had a crack at the boulder with no success. I had limited time. I was 2 hours into the 7 hour drive back to Boulder but the psyche was high. I warmed up by checking out the moves. Everything still felt hard! This was only motivating though. About an hour into the session I was setting up for the crux move and stuck it for a second only for a crucial crimp to rip completely off the wall, sending me to the ground in what felt like 100 miles per hour. I got up quickly, feeling as if I had just had the air knocked out of me and inspected the hold, now significantly smaller. I had to re-arrange the beta and after about an hour I developed a new sequence taking a more direct line out of the cave. A few tries later I finished the boulder. The 'new' line could be V13 but the original line, still un-repeated, could be V14 now.
Satisfied, after a weekend of reminiscing my beginnings as a climber; from Stone Age to visiting my parents, to the good old classic limestone bouldering session, I packed up and drove off, back to the climbing 'mecca' of Colorado.