I’m not a boulderer but when November comes around its time for Full Gravity Day the largest competition held at Spire each year. That means I have to join in! This year I was planning on taking it easy and just setting for the comp, but between DJAJ and the Ho Master, I was convinced into competing again this year against an even larger stronger group of guys than last year.
This year the setters put up 116 new boulder problems ranging from V0- to V11(ish) in hopes of having lots of challenging problems for everyone at every level. We also had a lot more people from outside of Bozeman show up than in recent years. Salt Lake, Boise, Missoula, Billings, Cody, Helena, Portland, and Seattle were all represented. It was really exciting to get to meet new friends from around the region who are psyched to do bouldering competitions and to see old friends coming back to show how much they have improved. The final count of competitors Jeff had was 142 people compete in both the Youth and Adult categories.
Not being a boulderer and just coming off of the world cup I had zero desire to start training right away for bouldering, so I took some time off over the last month and pretty much only climbed on the weekends. I really just wanted to see where that took me for better or worse. Not training for a change was great, maybe even necessary to keep up with the massive amounts of mid-semester school work my professors decided to heap on top of me this year.
So on Saturday morning, I walked around with Fletcher Chen and scoped out all the harder boulder problems we wound need to do in order to make it to finals. As always, there were a few Ho Master Specials (think slightly overhanging nonexistent slopers and poor poor feet) and the 1400 problem that consists of razor blade crimps on the 45, as well as many much more moderate problems and so called “stupid human tricks” (including a rope handle start and a rope swing start).
There were nine contenders trying to make it into the men’s open finals with only 5 slots open: Peder Groseth, Joe ‘texas’ Meiners, Dominick Speranza, Charlie Barron, Mike Bockino, Alex Herbert, Henry Schlotzhauer, Kerrek Stinson, and myself. Suffice to say a strong group of guys. Things started out well for me, I flashed a 1075 giving me the first of my top six scores at 1100 points. The problem soon became for me that I wasn’t climbing hard enough to make it into finals. Despite training endurance for the last season and a half for rope climbing it didn’t translate into enough power endurance. I found myself not having the oomph to finish off some of the harder boulder problems. As the comp proceeded I lost more and more power endurance and the grade of my sends leveled out pretty fast, while Joe, Mike and Alex for instance just kept pushing it harder and harder.
More impressive than how much I sucked was how good the girls were climbing. Sarah Ho, (who just had another kid last year) finished just outside of the finals positions and seemed like she was back in top shape. Inge Perkins has been on a tear this year climbing multiple 5.13s and apparently boulders as hard (probably harder) than me now! Not to mention Hanna Cooper, and Lauren Bell who are both from out of town and showed us whats up, bouldering supper hard. Sydney Trinidad was the most impressive of the girls though, everyone who had seen her compete last year expected her to give a good performance this year, but none of us expected she could improve some much over just a year. She’s 12 years old and once you watch her climb you can’t make excuses about not being able to reach any hold ever again!
In the end I came in 9th place with my low score at 1075 I was 50 points bellow the tie between Henry and Peder for 7th. There was a tie in 5th place, as well, taking: Alex Herbert, Charlie Barron (13), Dominick Speranza (17), Joe Meiners, Mike Bockino, and Kerrek Stinson (17) to the finals. For the girls Inge Perkins, Molly Rennie, Sydney Trinidad (12), Hanna Copper, and Sequoia Meyer (15) made it into finals. Lots of young kids made it into finals showing off the talent pool in the up coming generations!
With the finalists announced Joe and Leigh Manlove brought out the homemade Barrel Ride for the surprise game while finals was being set up. Aaron Hjelt donated a 55 gallon barrel, Jeff Ho added all the nessecary accessories to suspend it inside the gym Joe and Leigh of course were the controls. Just after getting called to try and ride the contraption Jeff tapped Henry and me to forerun the finals and make any last minute changes. It was a pretty cool experience having always been on the other side of the curtain for FGD finals.
I don’t think finals could have gone any better, they were fantastic! The Setters (Aaron Hjelt, Jeff Ho, Jonathan Scott, Kyle Vassilopoulos, et al.) did an amazing job with the finals routes. The both the men’s and the women’s split their respective fields without ties and put on a great show for the audience. This year the first final routes were on the 45 and the 2nd finals were on the less steep wall on the north side of the gym. Both Joe and Mike flashed the 1st final while the 2nd final spit both of them off at the very end! For the women’s Sydney flashed the first route, barely catching the crux crimp/pinch and then on the 2nd final Inge Perkins found a no-hands knee bar and chilled out allowing her to flash Women’s number 2. Overall it was a great show, I think the audience would have liked to have a little shorter wait time between the comp and finals but I’m not sure that can be prevented, its just the way it is.
Full results can be found here.
Open Men Top Three:
1.) Joe Meiners (Salt Lake City)
2.) Mike Bockino (Boise)
3.) Dominick Speranza (Helena)
Open Women Top Three:
1.) Sydney Trinidad (Seattle)
2.) Molly Rennie (Missoula)
3.) Inge Perkins (Bozeman)
I have to give a shout out to the Mad Rock and Edelrid crew for coming out and climbing/giving shoe demos and bringing some great raffle prizes. Thanks Shaun, Hanna, and crew, you guys rocked it!
And thanks you to all the people who came out and supported Touch the Sky! We made a bunch of money for our Scholarship fund which goes to providing kids without the ability to go get climbing gear or afford classes and coaching get introduced to the sport. Without this fundraiser we wouldn’t be able to provide this great opportunity. Everyone who competed, bought a baked good, or participated in the silent auction directly helped us raise funds for this great program!