It’s been a while since my last post! I’m sorry about the lack of posts, I’ve been busy 24/7 with school and trying to train, so it’s been hard to find time to do just about anything else. Since my last post I have been training hard for rope season, and I went to two more comps, one at a local gym called New Jersey Rock Gym, and regionals three weeks later in Maryland.
The local comp went well; the walls at New Jersey Rock Gym are pretty short, so it was pretty much bouldering on a rope. I’ve always been a stronger boulderer than rope climber, and I am still in good bouldering shape, so I tend to perform better on shorter, more powerful climbs. I placed first here, and then had a few weeks off from competing before regionals. During the next two weekends I got to relax a bit, catch up on schoolwork, and then take the SATs, which are always a blast. The three weeks went by quicker than it seemed, and before I knew it, I was on my way to Maryland for regionals.
I left for Maryland on a Friday immediately after my AP English exam with my friend Jesse and his dad, and we got to their hotel around 5 that night. We went out to dinner, and then I met up with my friend Kerry, who I was staying with for the night. We hung out for a bit talking, and then decided to crash pretty early so that we were ready for the comp the next day. We got up pretty early the next day, and after a breakfast of amazing crepes made by Kerry’s dad, we headed over to the gym. Most route regionals follow some type of onsight format, and this comp was no exception. The format was one round of four climbs in a row with limited rest in between them; there were no finals. After everyone arrived in Iso, they let us go out for a preview. Immediately everyone was struck by how hard the climbs looked. I didn’t think any of the routes looked doable, with the possible exception of the third one, and many of my competitors agreed with me. After sequencing the climbs a bit, we all went back into Iso to get warmed up and wait for our turns to climb. Ironically, it was actually pretty challenging to get warmed up, since the temperature inside the iso area was so warm. I did a few boulder problem and some traverse laps, and then got ready to go out to climb.
My first climb was not actually as bad as I thought it would be. It was on a top rope, and started with a pretty casual beginning section, and went into a crux towards the top. I had no trouble with the beginning, and tried to climb this section without losing any energy so as to be as fresh as possible for the next three climbs. The last couple moves on the first climb were kind of tricky, but I ran through them as quickly as I could and sent the route. I was pretty relieved about that, and walked over to my second route. This route made me a bit more nervous than the first one did, since the beginning was a slab was very small holds. It was also on lead, as the rest of my routes would be, but I had no problems with that; I prefer leading to top rope. Sure enough, I managed to completely botch the climb, and almost fell around the second clip, and turned what was probably meant to be a V3 move into a V8 move by crimping a nothing foot chip to stay on. I got past that section somehow and then ran up the rest of the climb as quickly as possible so that I did not give myself more opportunities to fall. I was a bit tired when I moved on to the third climb, and tried to take advantage of my rest time to de-pump for the next two routes.
I did not manage to rest as much as I wanted to before my third climb, but that turned out to be okay. Like I thought during my preview, the third climb was definitely the easiest for me. It was bouldery moves to rests, and I flashed it the easiest of any of the climbs. Finally, I walked over to my fourth climb. The fourth climb was set on a huge, overhanging wall, and turned out to be a huge endurance problem where every move (of the ones I managed to do at least) fell in the V3-V4 range. I got tired pretty quickly, but was doing all right until I went to highstep on a large feature and my foot blew because of a greasy hold. I was disappointed because I think I could have done better on the climb, but the performance but me in fifth with an invite to divisionals, which is what mattered. I went home that night resolved to work on my footwork and endurance, and hopefully that shows when divisionals comes around. Until then, I am going to the Gunks, competing at the Ring of Fire comp in Massachusetts, and finishing my junior year of high school! I’ll be sure to put up my next post about all of that sooner than I did this one. Thanks so much to the many people who give me some of the best support possible, with the awesome guys down at Five Ten at the top of the list!