Jake, My poor Jetta and ABS Nationals

School and road trips gets in the way posting sometimes. I haven’t had the time to upload this post for way too long,  I was going to put this one up before spring break… Soon I’ll put up a post for the Spring Break trip to Red Rocks I hope.

I had a big write up planned for ABS nationals review but when I got back four weeks ago now (ops) school kind of took over my life so…..

That week I drove more than 2,400 miles across 5 states for two bouldering competitions. Consumed ~36 oz of Red Bull, and only managed to send 18 boulder problems (only 6 on rock). I think there is something wrong with me. It gets worse because I’m driving Jake down to Vegas for the week so i’m driving at least another 1,600 miles….. but at least i’m climbing outside!

This is the second year I have competed at ABS Nationals. Last year was my second onsight bouldering competition ever and it showed. In the last year I’ve done four bouldering comps in order to improve my strategy and tactics. And I’m pretty sure it paid off. I made goodish use of my time but I still had 12 attempts to highpoint in my score at the end of qualifiers. Overall I’m happy with how I did.

My ulterior motive to going to ABS Nationals is that I find myself a much better routesetter after I got to national competitions because the setting is so good at those events. I’ve even gotten accustomed on what too expect and have learned how to do some of the “classic” moves that Chris Danielson and Jeremy Hardin use in their routes/problems.

USA Climbing got a new wall this year from Entre-Prises that is rumored to be contracted for the next three years or so. So look for it to be used for ABS Nationals youth and adult for a while. The wall itself is pretty cool, if a little too textured. Many of the athletes (including myself) came away with scratches all over from falling off and just touching the sandpaper like surface. Probably the most interesting thing is that the T-nut holes are recessed and have a tapered hole making them very tempting to put fingers and feet into especially on the slabs which cover 4 of the 8 panels of wall. The angles and features themselves are interesting, and varied. I would like to change the slab to vert wall, because the setters only had three different route themes for it this year.

The other major change this year was the change in venue. Instead of inside a cold, dark, dingy warehouse the event was inside of a nice lighted, heated, and clean auditorium. That and the warm-up area was right next door to the auditorium so you didn’t have to drive across town to warm up or compete. I think USA Climbing really upped the ante with these creating a better atmosphere for the event, which was returned with an increased spectator turn out at all parts of the event, Qualifiers, Semi-Finals, and Finals.

I stayed the weekend with Molly Rennie, Missoula local, and Ann Raber, a resident of Hueco Tanks, who were competing for their first time. So I came down and watched them compete in qualifiers. I took the opportunity to take photos for what seems like the first time in ages.

Ann sussing beta

W#1 The Diagonal Slab – The problem: Orange and Blue pinches requiring a variety of moves leading to a committing reach for the top. Ann fell trying to match the last hold while Molly got off to a good start flashing the problem.

Molly flashing women's #1

W#2 Introduction to Power – The Problem: A technical corner leading to a powerful transition into the 45 degree wall, with a sequential crimpy topout. Ann tried multiple ways of maneuvering around the corner but none of them ended with her any higher up the problem. Molly got to the same point but couldn’t figure it out in time.

W#3 Crimp Power to Sloper Power – The Problem: Thin moves low to a huck out into the roof followed by cross overs and a campus move leading to a balancy layback topout. Molly had a great start on this problem getting to where Rebecca is below but then made a fetal sequence error and fell. Her 2nd go she corrected the sequence but was unable to hold the last crimp on the steep part of the wall. Ann had a lot of trouble with this problem staying too static on the lower part getting to the jug.

W#4 The Iron Cross of Doom – The Problem: Deadpoint off the start and then cross hands into a large iron cross and finish on compression slopers. Molly got to the Iron cross move but didn’t have enough power left to campus to the next hold. Ann looked in her element and got to the campus move but fell going for the next hold.

W#5 The Thin Technical Slab – The Problem: A large sweeping problem that required lots of balance and tension. Ann and Molly got to the same point falling while pulling over to the finish hold.

Hanna Copper on Women's #5

Overall the girls did great! Molly was two spots out of semi-finals by a margin of three holds. And Ann did really well for her first time at a indoor bouldering comp, she didn’t even know the format until the night before!

Men’s Qualifiers, All photos below courtesy of Aaron Hjelt.

M#1 The Hat Trick – The Problem: jump start to a good hold and then throw yourself across the slab and then finish on slopers to topout. I was called off this problem because of a non-static start and then fell going for the blue sidepull before finishing the problem, my only send of the comp.

M#2 Devious Slopers – The Problem: A compression arete on large full hand sized ball slopers leading to a very tricky topout. I’ve had a bad history with these holds so I was stoked to get to the final headwall on my last attempt and fell just after this photo was taken.

M#3 The Crimp Power Problem – The Problem: crimpy sequential roof moves lead to a large deadpoint and then campus to the top. Finally my kind of a problem. On the flash go I got all the way to an iron cross move just below the lip of the steep section and missed the hold. On my next attempts I couldn’t get back up to that point again to move further on the route.

M#4 Compression POWER – The problem: sloppy compression leading to a crimp underling and BAMM multiple deadpoints to slopers to topout. Another comp hold I have bad history with, the two slopers next to each other at the start. I was able to get to the crimp undercling on my 2nd or 3rd go but wasn’t able to stick the slopy pinch throw .afterwords

M#5 The puzzler – The problem – climb up a slab and then jump or reverse mantle your way back down. Straight out of the gate I fell, I rechalked and then got to the last move and spent about 2 mins trying to figure out how best to do the last move. Finally with 15 sec left I decided to just jump down and just barely missed the catch on the large sloper my right hand is on below.

I finished pretty much were I wanted to so I’ll call it a success overall. Roped nationals is in three weeks, just over one month after bouldering nationals. Now its time to get into route climbing shape and break into a new level of fitness!

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