We braved the snowstorm, drove up to Duluth last weekend, and I participated in my first climbing competition ever. First of many to come, I think. I loved having a goal to work towards, and I thought the competition itself was interesting and fun! This was more of a fact-finding mission for me. I wanted to see what a comp was all about, wanted to see how I would handle the added pressure, and how I would do. I learned a lot.
Here’s the recap:
What: North Shore Climbing Competition 2010
Where: Vertical Endeavors, Duluth, MN
Rules: 37 routes available, all marked with a set amount of points for completing the first, second, or third attempt. Routes were not divided into categories, so everyone there could choose from any of the 37 routes, no matter what level they were competing at. 4 hours to climb, top 4 scores counted towards total. This resulted in some folks scoring alongside folks in higher divisions, so I took that into account when looking at my own results.
I thought the toughest part was figuring out strategy. I ended up getting a solid 4 scores in a range I was comfortable climbing, and then scrambling at the end to bump it up with harder routes. It was a decent strategy, and gave me a respectable finish, but I flashed most of the routes I tried, which makes me think I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. I was working hard, but wasn’t falling off routes until the end, when there wasn’t enough time to do 2nd and 3rd attempts.
As far as the climbing goes, I surprised myself. In a good way. I climbed with control, I never felt like I was flailing about, and I received some genuine compliments on the smoothness of my climbing. This is something I’ve been working on, so it was awesome to feel that kick in during the competition. I was nervous going in, but once I started climbing, that feeling of control gave me a lot of confidence. I felt really good.
I also felt like my level of endurance was where it needed to be. The walls are taller than in my home gym, so it was a concern. I’ve been doing something right in my training, because I felt comfortable the whole way up.
What I need to work on for the next competition is reading routes and knowing more precisely where my ability level is. I underestimated myself on Saturday and played it safe. By the time I realized that I could be climbing harder routes, there wasn’t a lot of time left to do so.
Going forward? I have a couple of months until the next competition, which will be at my home gym. I’m taking it easy this week and then back into it. I’m going to spend more time reading routes and trying to hone that skill a little better. Oh, I also need to learn how to deal with slopers.
So with all of that being said… what have your comp experiences been? Any advice for strategy?