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2013 CEC Youth & Open Nationals! - Alex Fritz

2013 CEC Youth & Open Nationals! - Alex Fritz
May 31, 2013 - 

The competition stretched out over a long three days. Flashing both Qualifier routes pretty easily, I secured my first place spot into Semi's. John fell short of moving on by 1 spot, while Sidney tied my placement in the FYB (14-15) category. With two Slovenian hired guns setting the comp, Semi's and Finals got a lot tougher. Even the Qualifier routes were relentless compared to the "everyone finishes the first route" mentality I'm used to at US Youth Nationals. The Semi's route covered all the bases, from sketchy Smith-style arete climbing, to powerful moves on jugs in the roof, to the ever-classic stalactite straddle featured in many Euro Lead comps. Although nervous about the vert section of the route, I climbed very confident and precise, tackled the opening roof section with ease, but pumped out three holds before the top. Although disappointed with my handling of the stalactite (awkward), I maintained my position in first place (along with Sidney) and got really psyched for a cool showy route for Finals. Oh, and Speed!
Speed was daunting and pretty disappointing from an organizational aspect. No 11&U kids competed and for some reason they ran the 12-13 category on the IFSC 15m route when most of them were barely able to reach the FIRST start hold. After an extensively long warm-up round, we finally got to Qualifiers. John and I were sadly the only Open competitors doing Speed, but it allowed us a no-pressure situation to push ourselves without fear of really messing up. It took John a few runs to work out the kinks, but between our 6 runs (warm-up, Qualifiers, and Finals) we each consistently improved our times with each new run. I ended my Finals with a 12 second run which I was very happy with considering I've never trained the last 5 meters nor have I competed on anything more than the first 10. At the end of the day, I placed first and John finished up in second with an impressive 14 second time!
Finals finished up on Monday morning, and to the disappointment of all older male climbers - everyone tied. Brock, Elan, Ryder and I all finished our attempts on the same move, less than half way up the route. Marc Eveleigh was the only guy to make it passed, but falling short only one move later. Although the Slovenian route setters were great, it was lame to see they felt the need to set 5.14+ for people who (no offense - I am including myself) do not climb 5.14+. Due to count backs, I won Male Open Lead with Brock Tilling close behind in second, and Jesse Taplin in third.

For the competition, I had the opportunity to climb in the new Team VXi's. Not only are they a rad bright green, the glove-like fit and new MI6 rubber made the shoes one of the stickiest I've ever worn. A little bit softer than I am used to, but they allow you to really feel what you are toeing down on. They are also incredibly flexible for a downturned shoe which helps a ton if you don't like the aggressive fit of that style of shoe. Overall, I loved them for the competition wall and I can't wait to try them out on real rock!

For a full recap of my Canadian weekend, or to catch up on more of my adventures, follow me at:


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