February has been a crazy month and our three day trip to Boulder was no exception. Lizzy and I flew out of San Diego Friday morning so that we could compete in the Citizens comp at CATS that night. With only carry on baggage and an on time flight we were able to make our bus to Boulder from the Denver airport. One transfer lead us to within a mile of The Spot and CATS, what an amazing transit system! We grabbed lunch and walked with all our stuff to CATS. Snow on the ground was a drastic change and we exchanged flip flops and t-shirts for shoes and a down jacket.
CATS is small and was uncrowded since we arrived there with plenty of time to spare. The climbing section of this gymnastic facility has a lot of very cool angles in a very small amount of space. The walls were freshly painted but the gloss paint provided horrible friction. As well the finish holds were all odd configurations of 2 X 4’s and were not to friendly. The shortcomings in the facility were made up for by the friendliness of the staff and the quality of the problems. The various angles provided a variety of styles and the climbs were set very well. Lizzy and I had fun and her family arrived a bit after we started climbing since they had a later flight.
After tiring ourselves out we got dropped off at the Spot for our judging meeting. Lizzy and I volunteered to judge the qualifiers and the finals for the Youth section of the comp. It gave us something to do and I was happy to be involved in such a high caliber climbing event. We got to see some of the routes set on Friday night and had a lot of exposure to some of the up and coming climbing talent. For our judging duty we got an early start Saturday morning and were at the gym for almost 12 hours including our time watching the open finals. Our judging jobs were easy since the majority of the kids flashed our problems and we got to go to finals for free. Another benefit was getting to watch some of our friends and Lizzy’s sister climb up close.
The open finals were quite packed and it was great to see all the strong climbers. Video can be found at MomentumVM.com shot by Andy Mann and others. Susánica Tam, an LA local who we saw at regionals, also made a great slideshow of the event. Paul Robinson beat out Chris Sharma and the show was spectacular. The routes were more of a challenge this year for the climbers and the 4th final problem remained unsent during the comp. This is much different than last year’s nationals in Maryland. A report can be found at routesetter.com about how the field was much stronger than expected. During open finals four guys and seven girls flashed all of the problems. As well when they set a super finals problem 3 of the 4 guys flashed that as well causing the tie to be broken by the qualifiers. Paul Robinson, this year’s winner, only flashed one of the three problems he completed.
Sunday was the Youth finals and Lizzy and I got moved up a problem in the lineup so that we had more falls and more excitement. Lizzy even had one of her climbers top-out early over an out of bounds line causing the head judge to step in and confirm the ruling. I had the younger kids again, Youth D, and my problem was a bit easy for the field. It saw a majority of flashes with another three or so sends 2nd try. Three or less kids were unable to send the problem.
Boulder was a ton of fun and it was good to meet new people, including the Climbing Narc, and see some old friends. The Spot was very cool and helped expand my mind in terms of what people want in a climbing gym. It was quite small and had only 2 free standing boulders but it featured tall walls with interesting angles. I ended up winning Men’s Advanced at the Citizen’s comp which means I will have to do open next year. I hope to visit boulder again and get on some of the real rock in the area!