Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer 2012 so far!

This June, for the first time in my climbing career, I won Divisionals for Sport and Speed climbing. It was very gratifying to earn the Southwest titles on the year I was most prepared for that competition. Leading up to that weekend I had a lot more time with 4 fewer finals in school (thank god for AP's) and a dedicated climbing partner with my sister back in time- thanks Em!
Unfortunately I have no pictures, but I did earn a pink medal! (after they ran out of blue).

Then it was off to training camp. There is simply no better place to train for rock climbing- in America, at least- than Stone Summit in Atlanta. As in years past, I was pushed to work harder all the time by the other campers, among them some of the best climbers of my age group in the United States. This year, however, I was also inspired by the talents of the next generation. Mirko, Drew, Dylan, Natalia, and others were crushing routes I hadn't thought possible six years ago. I resolved to compete in more Adult comps while they're still too young to blow the rest of us away.

photo: Scot Jenerik

Next was the comp. Two things that stood out about my sixteenth Youth National Championships were amazing routesetting and the clutch performances in quali and semis that seem to be becoming my signature. First the routesetting: along with some awesome dynamic moves on the older guys' routes, they set up a brilliant pulley system to make possible an unprecedented Youth D Final in the roof. Wow. Here's a move I appreciated on our Final:

photos:Sydney McNair

Now for my own performance. In sport climbing, 17th made Semis. After the first round, I was 17th. 11 made finals. After Semis, I was 11th. Speed climbing was much the same, and I made finals with less than 0.2 seconds to spare. They run categories in backwards order of placement, so needless to say I did a lot of climbing first in the later rounds. 
Unfortunately the magic ran out for Finals, and I ended up fifth in Speed and tenth in Sport. Although my dogged efforts to qualify for Worlds in Sport for the first time since 2008 fell short, I received a second-round invitation for Speed and will be representing the US in Singapore this August.

 When my category came out for speed awards, we decided to have some fun. 
photo: Bob Lockhart

At the conclusion of Awards I was presented with the North Face Young Gun award for service, long-term achievement, leadership, and sportsmanship in competitive climbing. It felt unbelievable to stand up there with the amazing Alex Fritz and prodigious Dylan Barks, to have Josh Levin hand me the trophy, and to join a group of recipients that includes some of the most talented and respected young climbers in USAClimbing history.

 photo: Bob Lockhart

It's a good thing there wasn't an acceptance speech expected of me (I was feeling a bit shell-shocked), but if there was I'd have to thank my mom, Evolv, my sister, my friends who pushed me to work harder, my numerous coaches and mentors, and of course USAC and TNF.

photo: Bob Lockhart

When I got home my goals included staying in shape, not getting injured, and climbing outside as much as possible. I have been successful on all three counts, if you don't count the gym-hopping Josh and I did in Reno to train speed climbing.

Working the top of Lateralus 5.14a for a California Climber shoot in Malibu.

Josh and I took a road trip to Reno for speed training and were greeted with amazing hospitality from everyone at Commrow, as well as the Wang family who let us stay at their house. Thanks so much to Eric, Brian, and everyone else who timed, taped, belayed, and/or put up with us (and our weird training schedule) last week.
As a side note, Commrow has much more than speed climbing- they have a great bouldering area, a slackline, America's only 15m IFSC speed wall, and the tallest artificial climbing wall in the world. That wall stretches two pitches and over 200 feet above the streets of downtown Reno- a great and exciting way to end a day of climbing.

A good speed run with my new 15m beta. Almost lost it on the dyno!

Josh Levin managing to crush the 15m with a GoPro on his head. As a side note, Josh won his 10th consecutive Speed title this year at Nationals. He's probably the best competitive speed climber in American history, and an inspiration to climb with.

On our last day in Reno we checked out Donner Summit's Star Wall in the afternoon. What an awesome crag!

  photo: Josh's GoPro

Thanks for reading! (or skimming through the pictures)

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