This weekend past would have been a great time to have a camera handy.  Our new local climbing gym, Adventure Rock, hosted its 11th annual Quick on the Draw competition.  Ryan and I volunteered for the event with the promise of free food to get us there.  It came with a bonus extra topping on the pizza by way of a free t-shirt.  How many more matching t-shirts Ryan and I will aspire to own it another story for another day.  Let’s leave that story with the tag line of–picking out a casual day outfit does require consultations in order to avoid being “one of those couples”.

Our duty through out the day was to belay and judge one route in particular. I don’t know if it was magnetism, if we have eyes for things appealing to us or if it was just plain luck but we were assigned to the most bouldering-ey roped-up route.  Pardon me for the out there humor but to us there is nothing funnier than seeing a sport route junky trying to figure out a bouldering type route.  Foot chips the size of dimes become microscopic hand crimps and that big huge thing you could take a nap on become an obstacle set for Sisyphus.  If we saw nearly one tendon snap then we nearly saw 100.  I left with teeth marks in my right hand from holding back the desire to give a little too much beta (or clues on how to over come the problem).  During a comp no one can tell a person on route a hint, an idea, nor a suggestion.  All you can give is, “Stick with it!” and “You’ve got this!”

The route was energizing and maybe a little addictive for competition participants.  A participant was allowed three tries to score points on any one route and consistently people would try the route, not do so well, think about it or watch other people climb it and then try it again.  The subsequent attempts were often times more successful for each climber.

What impressed me about this competition was the manner in which every climber and ever spectator seemed more interested in people succeeding rather than winning.  Granted, the Quick on the Draw comp is meant to align more on the fun side than on the serious but I can’t count the number of instances when the crowd would unify and cheer one climber on at any level of difficulty.

Yesterday we went back to the gym to climb.  And again I forgot my camera.  (One of these days I’ll bring it and hopefully capture some of the remaining comp decorations.)  At the gym we both roped up and tried the route we had worked at the comp.  Ryan cruised it.  Mantling the two obstacles like he was going out for ice cream.  Then it was my turn and I cruised through “the harder of the two” but fell off the second.  On another attempt I made it past no problem but an interesting point was brought up by my eagle-eyed husband that the route setter couldn’t see.  It is definitely a tall-person’s route.  If you have some inches on you the second mantle in particular isn’t as difficult because you have less distance to overcome.  Sort of like Indian Creek, if you will remember here with me, where hand size actually determines the difficulty of the route.  Big hands don’t fit into narrow cracks and small hands can’t span wide cracks so each route’s grading is really dependent on the size of the climber, much more so than with a lot of other types of routes.

Maybe we should have had a measuring stick at the comp–if you are taller than this you get this many points and if you are smaller you get this many more for completing particular parts of the route.

Hope you and yours are well.  The infamous northern winter conditions have come back slightly.  My face nearly froze off with this biting wind.  I take a scarf now to work so when I leave all you can see are my glasses.  It’s quite funny.