Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ABS Nationals

I cruised down to Colorado Springs early to watch my friends who were competing in the women's qualification round in the morning. Wandering from the parking lot into the auditorium, a feeling of nervousness began to well up. The women's problems looked really cool, very aesthetic and fun to climb on, but hard... if these looked as hard as they did, how hard would the mens be? I shook the thought from my mind and focused on supporting my friends on the wall and relaxing with those watching with me.

After checking into isolation at the neighboring City Rock at around 2pm, my nerves started to subside. I didn't climb until 4:30 so I had a few hours to warm up and mentally prepare for the event. I climbed around on the systems board and relaxed with my music blaring in my ears trying to strike the right balance between warming up enough and tiring myself prematurely.

As the hours wore on, I began to get antsy, finally feeling mentally ready and not wanting to wait any longer. A few minutes before my climb time, I was walked around the building and behind the competition wall, where I waited before moving into the front.

Turning around, I was faced with a powerful slab (perhaps V7/8) with four minutes to climb it. After a few attempts I was able to make it about halfway, before deciding to save my energy for the harder climbs ahead.
Men's Qualifier 1

Again I turned my back to the wall and waited for a few minutes. The second problem was much more my style with bigger moves on fairly good holds (clocking in at V9ish) and I was to get 3/4 of the way up by my second try. Unfortunately, I could not top this and again rested.

Qualifier 3 was significantly harder(V11/12). It began with a big dyno to a pinch on a volume, after this, you did a heel hook and moved out into to good pockets before firing into a series of bad Entrepries holds and a ridiculous top. I was able to make the 3/4 mark again with relative ease but was stymied by the upper section. 
Men's Qualifier 3
 The fourth problem was flat out hard (read V12). Poor holds and awful feet. Daniel got the furthest, and was still unable to top it. I was unable to even control the volumes which were fairly low on the route.
Men's Qualifier 5
 The last qualifier was shockingly easy (V5/6) consisting of a S-shape of good pinches with no feet. However, after the previous 4 problems, I only had one quality effort before becoming too pumped to match my highpoint.



Unfortunately, I was unable to make it into semi-finals, but I had an amazing time hanging out with my friends and watching semis and finals. I think this was an great experience and I am eager to repeat it! This competition certainly ignited a new desire to train harder and do better next year in Madison, WI!!!!

Thanks for all of the photos Michelle!

-SGP

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Well that happened fast...

As I noted in the last post, I had until early November been doing a significant amount of climbing at Guanella Pass. I made it up that way a few more times since the last post, unfortunately not being able to complete Mind Matters do to the top out being ice over, however I was able to complete Dark Horse (which may well be the best 7C+ in the state) and enjoy the waning alpine season.
Last day of the season in Guanella Pass
After being forced out of the alpine by the encroachment of winter, I focused my efforts on boulder problems in Clear Creek Canyon. Over the past month and a half I've been able to take down quite a few of problems up and down the canyon including Return of the Mossman (7C), the second ascent of its sit start Evilseed (7C+), Dark Waters Traverse (7C+), Off the Books (8A), and the Dark Waters Stand (7C).


Working on Formula 500 (V12) in Clear Creek Canyon

On the send go of Evilseed (V10) in Clear Creek Canyon

These ascents were interspersed with many a session at the DBC and many, many hours of school work and coaching all of which has paid off. I managed to pass all of my classes with A's, and feel stronger than I have ever felt. Three of the climbers from the Lakewood youth team (which I coach) climbed in regionals, one of them taking third and moving onto divisionals.

2013 has been a fantastic year for me. I've been able to climb some of my hardest ascents to date, find the elusive balance between school, and my climbing, meet some amazing people, and improve all around. A HUGE thanks goes out to my family, friends and sponsors for supporting me and helping to make this past year so awesome, and although the end of my undergraduate career and the advent of the"real world" looms in the coming months, I'm very eager to make 2014 even better.

Happy Holidays!!

-SGP

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guanella Pass

With an increasing workload at school and cooler temps in the alpine, the past few weekends I've opted to go up to Guanella Pass just outside of Georgetown CO. Guanella offers a sub-alpine environment, and climbing minutes from the road. Because of this, I've found it to be a perfect half-day or all day spot.

Although the climbing leans more toward the moderate end of the spectrum, there are a few harder test peices, namely Dave Graham's Ice Knife (8C), Paul Robinson's Poked by a Mermaid (8B), and Mind Matters (8A+). It is the later of these which I am excited about right now. Mind Matters is the most obvious line up the rear face of the boulder which bears the same name, climbing from a sit-down start to the top.

The problem has it all. From larger, more dynamic moves to balance and small crimps. It's rad and I'm stoked. For me, the problem breaks down into to very manageable sections connected by one crux move. The first section climbs from a large sidepull to a very good edge with an incut. From here you do a sometimes difficult match on an undercling and fire up to a poor crimp before quickly bumping again to a full pad edge. Then comes the crux. You get a high foot, and yard off of the edge to a good left hand undercling. I have yet to stick this move. After this there are only a few easy move separating you from the top!
This boulder is SICK!!! and I am PSYCHED!!! I'll be back up this weekend so stay tuned! Enjoy the below pics!



-SGP