This past weekend, Seth and I made the drive down to Chicago to climb in Vertical Endeavors’ “No Holds Barred” competition. Since Seth was making the drive with me, he decided to compete as well! Friday afternoon we headed out for the six hour trek to Chicago. My sister joined us and was able to take some pictures while we climbed. Thanks, sis!
Vertical Endeavors has been the parent company for all three of the comps I’ve done this year. Duluth, St Paul, and Chicago (Warrenville, IL). Yet each competition was unique. My favorite thing about the Warrenville gym is its height, the main room having 42 foot vertical walls. Much taller than my gym in St Paul. I’d climb through a ceiling of warmer air about 2/3 of the way up the walls. Looking down from the top was always a bit of a surprise!
The format of the competition was the same as in St Paul. Each category had its own list of routes. It was a flash format with two tries on each route, and five tries on the bouldering routes. We arrived a bit later than we had hoped, so there wasn’t much time to check out the routes and make a plan before getting started. Also, there were 250 climbers competing. Add spectators and belayers to the mix and it was packed! As in, hard to even move through people packed.
I competed in the Women’s Intermediate Category, and it was a good day. I did find myself dealing with frustration a few times, but was able to walk away, breathe, and recenter. I think most of the anxiety I was fighting was related to the masses of people at the gym. In some cases, it was difficult to even get to the belayer to get in line for a route, so strategy kind of went out the window and I ended up gravitating towards areas of less density.
Even so, I felt strong, and competitive in my category. Final results put me at 9 out of 28, and not far points-wise from the top. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 8 months will bring, with plans to compete again in December. Along with climbing hard this year, one of the big things I want to work on is my route-reading. I know that, especially in a flash-format competition, that will be a huge help.
Seth walked away with a brand new chalk bag, chalk, and t-shirt, having finished third in his category. Congratulations to a very successful first comp, Seth!