A little over a week ago I traveled to Portland, OR for the Portland Boulder Rally. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Portland, and this was my first time attending this particular event. I had heard that the PBR was a great event last year, so I figured I’d see for myself this time around. Its good reputation and large cash purse drew quite a strong field in both the men’s and women’s fields, and the line-up resembled that of ABS Nationals.
Portland Boulder Rally - Angela Payne
I went a day early to give a slideshow about my trip to Greenland. Next Adventure, one of the outdoor stores in town and major sponsor of the PBR, welcomed me in and hosted the show. Arriving early also gave me a day to explore Portland with my boyfriend. We walked around the city and spent some time at the Japanese Gardens. Being there in the fall was wonderful, and the colors were quite nice. I’ve never seen a city with so many small, independently-owned businesses and I’ve definitely never seen a place that can support so many vintage and second-hand clothing stores! I really enjoyed walking around Portland and I would certainly go back to spend more time there for a vacation, as we didn’t get the chance to go to the coast and I would really love to do that.
Upon first walking into The Circuit, where the comp was held, I was very psyched. The feel of the gym reminded me of some of the gyms around where I grew up in the Midwest. The walls were wood (my favorite types of walls) and a great height (about 13 feet max) with interesting angles.
The format of the competition was a redpoint qualifying round followed by an onsight finals round. There were tons of good boulders to choose from during the redpoint round. There were also tons of people climbing, which meant waiting in line in order to try problems. This is just one of the reasons I find redpoint rounds difficult. While it can be beneficial to watch others climb the problems first, there is also a different type of pressure that exists when you have to wait in line and make your attempts really count. Plus, you know exactly what other competitors in your category have done, which often distracts me from focusing on my own climbing. In short, I find redpoint rounds really stressful!
After securing a spot in finals, I tried to rest up after a long morning of climbing. Finals were great before they even began, because from behind the wall we could tell the crowd was packed in and full of energy. I had heard the crowd in Portland was one of the best, and they didn’t disappoint. The energy was super high and everyone seemed psyched on the show. The boulders were great, too. Women’s 1 was a fun problem that climbed through some neat volumes and used a fun kneebar. Women’s 2 was a pure power boulder and shut down everyone, save Alex Puccio, with a big shoulder-intensive move to the dreaded Pinchtite. This ended up being the only boulder I didn’t complete. The third boulder began with a fun dyno and climbed a neat prowl in the gym. Going into the 4th boulder, there was a 3-way tie between myself, Nina Williams and Alex Johnson. I was really banking on the 4th boulder to divide us so as to avoid count-backs. The final problem was pinchy and technical and super fun. I managed to do it 2nd try, which secured me a 2nd place finish, behind Alex Puccio. Alex Johnson and Nina Williams tied for 3rd, followed by Isabelle Faus and Sierra Blair-Coyle.
On Sunday, I joined many of my fellow competitors to teach a clinic at the other Circuit location. It was a pleasure to spend a few hours working with local climbers at another awesome gym.
Overall, the PBR was a great event! I am very happy I had some time to explore Portland, and I look forward to going back again next year for another weekend of great boulders, face-sized Voodoo donuts, and time with good friends. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible!!!!