September and October have been busy months for me! Back in September I competed in the Unified Bouldering Championships competition at Stone Gardens here in my city of Seattle. It was such an exciting step up for the PNW competition scene to be able to host such a high level competition, and an exciting step up for me to be able to compete in it! I was incredibly stoked going into the competition because I finally felt like I was ready to do it. After all the years of competing in youth and never venturing out into the adult scene, I knew that my days of hesitation were over!
I had an incredibly qualifying round placing 7th with 3 of 5 tops and pretty far on the remaining two qualifiers! However I had a mental battle with a technical dyno problem in Semi's that pushed me back a few places. Despite this, I left with an incredibly proud 13th place finish at my first UBC competition. I enjoyed the rest of the weekend by spending it being tour guide for FiveTen Athletes Kyle Francis, Nic Milburn, Jimmy Webb, and Kasia Pietras around the Gold Bar and Index areas.
Next up was the second annual Portland Boulder Ralley at the NE Circuit Bouldering Gym last weekend. This competition was going to be a bit of a revenge comp for me considering I just missed finals the previous year by 5 points (1 fall)! After quickly warming up, I proudly found myself turning my scorecard in half way through the comp with 5 flashes of the top 5 routes, which tied me for first with Seattle local Peter Dixon and Boulder powerhouse Matty Hong. Joining us in the Finals round were Michael O'Rourke, Ian Dory, and Rob D'anastasio. This Finals was the best Finals I've ever competed in. After the dust settled from a incredibly close competition, and a slightly altered scoring system from the traditional UBC format, I ended up in 5th place. Despite this, I was incredibly psyched knowing how I performed on each individual climb.
Lastly, the second annual Northwest Boulderfest at Seattle Bouldering Project was yesterday. The qualifying round was much more difficult than PBR - I turned my card in with 3 of the top 5 problems, deciding that it was better to save my energy in case I managed to make it into Finals. The Open field ended up being HUGE with almost 30 competitors! Mike Foley, Peter Dixon, and Simon Parton took the top 3 with John Beckerman and Jesse Warren following behind me. Unfortunately the Finals round for this comp was pretty poorly run, with little-to-none warm up time and no warning to when the comp was starting, so all the finalist were surprised to here it was time to leave iso and climb with almost none of us having spent more than 15 minutes warming up. The Finals climbs were disappointingly easy - with most of us gauging that the climbs were no harder than V6-V7 - and it came down to attempts because Peter, Mike, and I all finishing the four climbs. Peter dominated all four with easy flashes, I walked away with second due to hesitating on the finish move of problem 3 and slipping off some Motivation Volumes, and Mike followed up in third with a couple foot slips on the same volumes. Nonetheless, the problems were some of the most fun I've climbed in a Finals and I'm happy with my climbing.
To sum it up, I've had such an awesome learning experience over the past few weeks. I've walked into three huge adult comps: UBC, PBR, and NWBF knowing that I was ready to face the big competition, and then proved to myself that I was. I'm sad to say that there are no more big comps in the PNW area for a while which leaves me yearning for more! Thank you to Five Ten, Asana, and Marmot for all you do for me! And congratulations to FiveTen Athletes: Kyle Francis, Nicolas Milburn, Jimmy Webb, Kasia Pietras, Shannon Russell, Stephen Meinhold, Jesse Warren, Simon Parton, Nina Williams, Beau Kahler, Ian Dory, Daniel Beall, Flannery Shay-Nemirow, Garret Gregor, Michael Bautista, and Natasha Barnes for wearing FiveTen and representing the Brand of the Brave over the past few weeks!
Photos by Alex Fritz, Beau Kahler