This weekend I traveled to Boston to participate in Stop #2 of the Dark Horse Series. It took place this Saturday the 4th at MetroRock in Everret, Massachusetts. The qualifier round was 3 hours of redpoint format with hundreds of people waiting to try the amazing problems set by Dave Wetmore and crew.
Dark Horse Series Report from Natasha Barnes
The top 7 women and top 7 men from the redpoint round made it to finals. Finals were four problems onsight style. I find this format demanding and exhausting. It is wise to approach this type of competition with some sort of strategy. Not only do you have to find and climb five of the hardest climbs you can do but crowds complicate things and fatigue is also a factor–you have to save enough juice for finals. Without enough sleep the night before and after battling the crowds in the redpoint round, I was definitely tired when finals began. Comp climbing legends Rob D'Anastasio and Brian Kim chilling at dinner before finals.
Finals problems were really fun! Dave and crew did a great job setting for the comp. Interestingly, men and women shared the same problem #1 which was a run-and-jump to a huge, round volume followed by a dyno around a corner to another huge volume then a drop down to another volume identical to the first one with an even crazier dyno to the finishing hold. A very unique problem and one of the best in the competition.
The rest of the problems were great too. Women’s #2–a sloper problem–really bouted me. Slopers are my weakness. A fun problem nonetheless which Francesca floated impressively. Problem #3 was more my style, crimps up a steep face. I fell going for the finishing hold after narrowly sticking the last tiny crimp below the lip. Problem #4 had very good holds on it with big moves and no feet. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to move off the last sloper to the finishing hold and was too pumped to finish. Francesca was able to hold the sloper with way more authority and did the problem with ease.
The men all looked very impressive during the redpoint round and it was hard to tell who would end up in 1st. Men’s #3 looked really hard on small jibs on volumes and small slopey pinches. Max figured out a really smart way to skip some holds by grabbing one of the right handed pinches with his left hand and getting a heal hook on the volume to gain a small incut undercling but didn’t have enough juice for the next huge cross near the top. An impressive effort. Brian Kim quietly crushed and Vasya Vorotnikov turned on the kill switch and made an exciting flash of Men’s #4 and clearly dominated the evening by topping all of the climbs.
After all was said and done, Francesca Metcalf and Vasya Vorotnikov came out on top in 1st place. Here are the rest of the results;
1. Francesca Metcalf
2. Natasha Barnes
3. Melissa Godowski
1. Vasya Vorotnikov
2. Brian Kim
3. Andrew Kim
It was fun being back in Boston again and seeing friends that I met last time I was there. Good times were definitely had. I’m excited to go back for the Dark Horse Finale in February and see what Dave et al have in store.
My last day there Max and I ventured out Bradley along with some others and braved some very cold temps to try and make bouldering happen.We managed to make a pretty good time out of it and it was great to see how psyched everyone was to climb despite the freezing conditions. I almost sent a really nice arete with the encouragement of Jeremy (who did send) and I got to check out Max’s crazy hard project that he’s been telling me about. Shit looks HARDDDDDDDDD!!! Then we rushed to the airport only to discovery that my 7:30 flight was delayed and kept getting delayed until we finally took off at 10:30 putting me back in San Francisco at 2am. Exhausted to say the least!!!
I’d like to thank my sponsors Five Ten and PrAna for making this trip possible. Stay tuned for more photos and video of the competition to come as well as a review of the new Five Ten Quantum shoe. I would also like to thanks Pat Bagley for the extra photos! To see more of his great work check out his site HEAVY BAGS.