World Cup competition climbing, in all of its complexities and infinite minutiae, seems as comprehensible and limitless as our perpetually expanding universe. At this elite level, the amount of skill and power it takes to survive each round is simply frightening. Consequently, the amount of skill and precision it takes for route setters to separate these plastic-munching robots is equally daunting.
As I watched Finals, in which the top 6 boulderers in the world (male and female) battled for a win, I barely had enough coordination in my body to clap my hands together due to the fact that I was overwhelmed with admiration [Read: I was actually just double-fisting Stella Artois] and respect for their abilities not only as fierce, stone-cold competitors, but also for their superior strength as climbers. Oh, and Ana Stohr is a total babe. What’s up Kilian?
In the midst of a 5,000 person spectator field–a scattered sea of outdoor enthusiasts intermittently erupting with infectious cheer–I have never experienced a more exciting Finals round. Congratulations to all the competitors and to my good friends Mike Helt, Jeremy Hardin, Chris Danielson, Kynan Wagnor, and all the other setters and builders involved. What a fantabulous weekend. Hooray.
For me, despite hanging out in isolation for 5 hours inside of the Vail Athletic Center with some of the best comp gangsters in the world and basically freaking out with nerves as a result, this World Cup went slightly better than Canmore. I finished 28th out of a stacked 47 male athlete line-up; with two flash tops and the rest flash to bonus in Qualies. I made a few mistakes here and there, but not proceeding to the next round just came down to not being good enough. I feel like in order to truly join the upper echelon of elite competition boulderers, you need to be a full-time competitor–like literally paid to compete and climb. Maybe someday I’ll drop everything and fully go for it–just travel, set, climb, and compete. But not yet!
People have recently asked me, “Hey, do you think you’ll keep doing the World Cups?” As if to say, “Hey, you keep getting annihilated, are you going to keep trying?” Please, I’ll stop when Santa Claus quits his job. If climbing was all about riding easy waves of success and eating heavenly cheese-sticks of joy, I would have quit a long time ago because the success rate in this business when you’re pushing your limits is close to zero.
And the Everest-like altitude absolutely effected my stamina as well; it was totally just the altitude. I probably could have won if the comp was at sea level. Still an amazing experience.
Anywho…on to Manhattan, June 19-27, to set the EMS Pro with some awesome people!
Full Results: http://www.ifsc-climbing.org/result