Fall Flash Fest, Asheville Climbing Comp

So those who know me, and hopefully those who read this blog, know, I am most definitely an optimist.  I don’t like to rate things low, but I also have to be realistic.  So please keep that in mind as I review this past weekend’s climbing competition at ClimbMax Climbing Gym in Asheville, NC.

MORNING REGISTRATION: 2

So according to the directions if we had registered early (online) we should arrive at 10, and if not at 9.  I registered early while Paul and Ben hadn’t, so we figured 9:30 was a safe compromise.  When we showed up, there were only about 3 people in line, so we figured we were right on.  I got in line, only needing to pick up my t-shirt and scorecard, and waited literally for about 35-45 minutes.  It was so ridiculous you could only laugh at the absurdity.

There was only one girl working the table and she was incredibly slow.  When I finally got to pick up my things, Ben offered to help her out because the line was now about 15-20 people deep (one can only imagine how long this would take).  She looked confused, and gave him a ‘why would I need help look?’ and turned down his offer.  Oh well.  We did what we could.  Not a great start to they day considering I was already feeling sick and it was cold outside at that point.

We were then told to meet at 10:45 for an information meeting, so we headed to a coffee place down the street (a very cute Asheville street I might add) and got some caffeine in our systems before heading back.  Once there, we waited about another 30 minutes or so for them to actually get started.

When they did, it involved a man with a handlebar mustache (the owner), who Scott affectionately referred to as ‘Funsucker’, talking to us for about 45 minutes about all the rules.  I completely understand there are rules in a climbing comp, but at every other comp I’ve been to they’ve managed to go through them in about 10 minutes.  I’m not entirely sure why it took 45 here.

From there he finally allowed us in the gym (yes, all this was outside) to get our stuff settled, put our shoes on, etc. before beginning speech number two.  I skipped out on this one as the gym was incredibly crowded, and that combined with my headache and approaching fever was not good.

FINALLY we were allowed to begin climbing.

GYM/CROWDS: 4.

The first hour of the comp was craziness.  The gym is tiny, at some spots with about 8-10 feet between two walls that people are climbing on, and the number of climbers plus spectators made it virtually impossible to move from route to route to check them out, and incredibly difficult to spot.  Imagine this picture below with about 5 times as many people.  That was the first hour of the comp.

BAREFOOT WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE: 10!

I got so frustrated with the crowds and my climbing that eventually Ben suggested we talk a walk around downtown to escape, and I rate this decision a 10.  I was feeling pretty crappy at this point (everything above my collarbone was in pretty intense amounts of pain), climbing only easy routes, and the barefoot walk around on a beautiful day was exactly what I needed.

Luckily the spectators got bored and died off, and when we returned we had a lot more room and got in some solid climbing.

ROUTES: 4.

That’s the number of good routes I found.  At the end of the day I didn’t feel pumped or tired at all, and it wasn’t because I didn’t climb hard.  I got every route that I think I could have gotten, they just weren’t that long or super challenging at all.  Plus, the walls are plywood as opposed to the nice textured ones at TRC, and compared to the awesome routes we found there a couple weeks ago I was super disappointed.  Plus, there were spinning holds EVERYWHERE.  In the first 15 minutes of the comp I saw them fixing at least three, and I encountered my own shortly after (see below).

INJURIES: 8

Overall we did great on the injuries front, and we all made it out ready to climb again.  However, at the top of one of the hardest routes I got, I had grabbed the top and was preparing to downclimb when all of a sudden the foot hold with all my weight on it spun.  I was pretty high up so immediately clung to the top for dear life, and the texturing on the top scraped up the inside of my right arm, my left forearm and my left shin.  I also bruised my knee and hip in the process.  I totally survived, and am thankful I didn’t fall and hurt something worse, but still frustrating when it comes from something that could have been avoided if their holds were tighter.

TEAM PERFORMANCE: 9

Overall I think we all climbed hard, and worked through some hard routes which is always exciting.  Results haven’t been posted yet so we don’t know team success, but I did place 4th in the Intermediate division, which was a bump up from Rec. in the last two.  I’ll have to take at least one point off because fourth came with no prizes 😦  Only one spot away…

I hate to rate something this low, but honestly there was a ton of room for improvement in this comp.  Makes me even more appreciative for the quality of the comps our local gym, Triangle Rock Club, puts on (see previous ratings).  Their gym is nice, their routes awesome, and the folks who run it are friendly, organized and efficient.  They come HIGHLY recommended, and I now appreciate them even more 🙂

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