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The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford

The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford
The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford
The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford
The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford
The Red and Nationals! - Joseph Gifford
July 21, 2013 - 

My trip to the Red River Gorge was a lot of fun and it was really good training right before Nationals. Nick, Tiffiny, Dalan, and I never really projected a single climb but instead went to a new area every day and tried new climbs for onsight training. We first started off at the Madness cave just to do some classic pumpy Red climbing; I got on Convicted, Omaha Beach, and sent 8 Ball (12d).

The next day we went to the Chocolate Factory and tried Pure Imagination it was a pretty awesome climb but the heat and humidity definitely made it more challenging. On Pure Imagination there's a jug hole kinda in the middle of the climb and when we were climbing we quickly discovered a little bat taking a nap in the hole, when I grabbed the hole the bat screeched at me and it scared the bejesus out of me, it was a good laugh. I also tried one of the newer climbs at the Chocolate Factory called Silky Smooth (13c) it's a super pumpy climb with a small bottom crux with consistent moves to the top. I sent it after a couple try's.

One of the most interesting crags we went too was the Dark Side. It was pretty much just all sharp pockets and crimps at the top. I first sent The Force 13a, then worked the moves on Darth Maul 13c and my second try I fell on the last holds too pumped to clip the chains, so I got about as close as you can get to almost sending the climb.

On our very last day we decided that we should wear the most ridiculous things we could possibly put together which resulted in an awesome photo shoot. but after our fun in our costumes we went to The Drive By. I first got on Dirty Smelly Hippy tried it and fell, then I felt warm enough to give Kaleidoscope a burn, I gave it about two try's and then decided to try a cool looking over hang climb to the right.  Thug Life, it was probably the only climb that was nothing like the Red style of climbing. It was just big bouldery moves to sharp jugs. And at the last bolt you have to do a crazy fun Dino to the finishing holds off of crimpy pockets. After I lowered off of Thug it started to rain, so I decided to get the rain send on Dirty Smelly Hippy which was awesome. After our time in the Red was up we traveled to Stone Summit to do some training for a couple days before Nationals.

Nationals started July 4th and went on for the next 4 days, the first two days were flash format qualifier climbs, semifinals were the third day and finals were the last day of the competition. Our first climb was an easy climb; it was no harder than 5.12 so almost everyone sent. The second qualifier was when the comp got hard. It was a juggy beginning, a tricky slab in the middle, and then a hard pumpy top. Around the middle of the climb there was a large move to a block like hold, I fell jumping to the block when I probably should have gone more static. I did well enough in qualifiers to place 5th and make it to semifinals.

The semifinals route was an onsight format, and the climb had a slightly hard beginning with a very bouldery top which was basically most of the climbs in the competition. I did OK but could have done better because I felt sick all day on semifinals from eating way too much Hibachi at Tiffiny's birthday dinner, so I ended up in 5th place making the top 11 for finals.

The finals climb was probably the best climb, it was basically a pumpy roof with jugs for the first 3/4ths of the climb while the last quarter of the climb was bouldery and hard to do while pumped. I speed climbed through the long roof section and came out on the face I rested on the face for quite a while and then grabbed the next three holds, clipped the last clip, and then did two more hard moves and fell only four holds from the top, I got really close to sending but I didn't have my feet in the right place to allow me do the next hard move.

I ended up in fifth place once again. Because this was my last Youth Nationals I received an award for competing since I was in the youngest D category which was really cool that USA climbing recognized the kids that have been competitively climbing for most of their lives. My last Youth Nationals was fun and I'm looking forward to compete in the World games in Colombia and to do some outdoor climbing in Rifle, Co.


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