This Autumn for me has been the busiest one of my life. I kicked things off in early September in Sonoma, CA for a clinic instructors' course. Our goal was to tear down climbing; moves, techniques, training ideas, competition strategies, efficient teaching skills, all leading towards producing the best clinics possible. With the additional help of Beth Rodden, Emmy Surma, Rusty Klassen and Andrew McDermott we were able to come up with an incredible and unique clinic program that we could pack up and take with us like Cirque du Soleil.
Intro to Autumn 2011 - Alex Johnson
Our next stop was Portland, OR to put our work to the test. Portland marked the first stop on our nation-wide clinic tour. The instructors were Steven Jeffery, Kevin Jorgeson and myself.
I had an incredible time working our clinics at the Circuit Gym, I think they were a massive success. We had around thirty kids signed up for both Saturday and Sunday, and around twelve adults for each day as well. One of the most inspiring things one can see as an instructor is your teaching clicking with someone. The kids who attended were talented and motivated, and it made the teaching experience that much more amazing.
What was interesting for me was that I had to completely break down my own climbing in order to simplify terms in an informative way that works with kids. In doing so, I learned so much about my techniques, my movements, my body, and my climbing as a whole. Honestly, I probably learned more than every kid at the clinic combined! I also took a lot away from Steven and Kevin as well, both of whom are great with kids and wonderful teachers.
I had a blast, and felt so much satisfaction with this humbling experience and I am genuinely excited to continue teaching. I think these youth clinics are the best thing I’ve ever done with my climbing career.
After the Portland clinics, Kevin and I headed up to Seattle, WA with Stephen Meinhold to hang out at the Seattle Bouldering Project with Kevin Newell during a Five Ten Shoe demo. KJ put on a slideshow about life up on El Cap, and we had a fun time hanging out and climbing with the gym locals. There was even a Johnny Goicoechea sighting! (Side note: The Circuit and the Seattle Bouldering Project are two of the most impressive bouldering gyms I’ve ever seen!)
When I left Seattle I headed directly to Burlington, VT for the 2011 UBC North Face Open at the Nor'Easter.
Burlington is the new host town for the Nor'Easter featuring the 2011 UBC Comp Tour Finale. The event was held on the shore of Lake Champlain and I must say the location was stellar, perhaps the best competition scenery at any event I've attended.
The actual competition went as well as it could, with the only hitch being the cancellation of the semi-finals round because of rain. We all know weather can't be helped, and the cool thing was that everyone made finals! The route setting was fun, the climbers seemed psyched, and there was a decent medium-sized crowd watching finals.
Women's final results went as follows:
1. Angie Payne
2. Lizzy Asher
3. Alex Johnson (me!)
4. Isabelle Faus
5. Kati Peters
Back home in Wisconsin Temporarily until I head out to Reno for the grand opening of the tallest climbing wall in the world!