The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, but not in a hectic traveling, tons of climbing sort of way. On September 11th, it started raining in Colorado, and it just didn’t stop. Three days later, the state would be left reeling in the midst of a serious crisis and the worst natural disaster I have ever personally witnessed. I luckily escaped with just a few mildly wet items, but others were not so fortunate. The damage is extensive, to say the least, and the state has a long road ahead. After 5 days of lending a hand in the wake of the storm, I left a flood-ravaged Colorado last Friday to head to the East coast for The Heist—a women’s only competition.
The Heist - Angela Payne
It’s fair to say that I was a bit distracted going into this competition. Trying to comprehend the level of devastation that fellow Coloradans were experiencing was mind-boggling. I felt sad for everyone who had lost homes, family members, and businesses in the flood. I could go on and on about this aspect, but I’ll simply say my head was still spinning when I arrived in Boston. Regardless, I approached this inaugural event looking forward to seeing what a women’s only competition was all about. Central Rock in Watertown was the host facility. The organizers were women (Brittany Marryott, Andrea Brennen) and all of the boulder problems (and 1 finals route) were set by women (Kasia Pietras, Sydney McNair, Melissa Godowski). The qualifying round was an open redpoint format with 60 problems to choose from.
It was a fun and unique experience to have a climbing session with some of my closest friends and fellow competitors in a setting like this. We shared beta, encouraged one another, and worked our way through the problems on the list. Plus, there were MANY (150??) other women also climbing in the first round—what a turnout! After a morning of working on high-quality boulder problems, we took a short break before finals.
The finals format was very unique: 2 boulders and 1 route. The scoring was also different than normal: rank competitors after the bouldering finals round, rank competitors after the route finals round, multiply a competitors two rankings, competitor with the lowest number wins. The first boulder in finals was tons of fun. A technical mantle move lead to an entertaining jump and an encounter with a volume before the finish. All 6 competitors completed this boulder problem. The second problem was much harder. Powerful moves on pinches took the climber up a steep arête to a difficult move across the 45-degree face and a lip encounter before the finish. I was only able to make it about half-way through the problem, which ended up being the high point. My forearms were pretty tired after all that pinching, but I had earned myself the lead in the bouldering round.
Of course, there was still the route ahead of me. It was no surprise that Delaney Miller and Sasha DiGiulian were able to complete the route with grace and style. It was also no surprise that I only made it a little over half-way J What I did climb of the route was very fun, and fabric-covered volumes added some nice aesthetics to the wall. In the end, Sasha came out on top of the overall ranking, followed by Delaney, me, Kyra Condie, Francesca Metcalf and Meagan Martin.
This event was a one-of-a-kind experience and a huge success. It was awesome to be surrounded by so many strong, motivated women. Plus, I had the opportunity to laugh and climb with friends, both old and new. If that isn’t a great event, then I don’t know what is! A huge thanks to Central Rock, Brittany, Andrea, Kasia, Sydney, Melissa and everyone else who worked hard to make The Heist an awesome experience!