Saturday, May 29, 2010

High Altitude Fitness Blacklight Comp

BADASS. That's probably the only word close enough to describe the blacklight competition hosted by High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village last month. The whole event was done really well by the gym and the setters, and Jason Kehl made a special appearance to give his slideshow and set a couple of the problems.

photo: Michael Eadington

The comp started out with the setters doing a couple last minute adjustments to the route numbers, then the DJ kicked it off and the sending began. I quickly ticked off the 2nd hardest problem and set to work on the next couple ones. I projected this one dyno problem on the right side of the topout boulder for a while with my friend, Charlie Andrews. We both ended up getting it with some extra beta from some of the locals, Paul Otis and Eric Wolff from Reno.

In the end, I finished in first place going into finals, and started getting super psyched up with the presentation from Jason Kehl and his trips to Hueco Tanks and around the country. The other four guys that qualified for the finals were Urs Moosemuller, Eric Wolff, Paul Otis, and Luke Larson.

Coming out of isolation, I was pretty nervous due to the pressure of going last in the running order and the huge crowd behind me. But I was able to calm down for problem #1 with some Eminem from Charlie's ipod and a bit of warm up in the chair. The first problem was a pretty heinous slab problem with a lot of slopers, and I barely stuck the last hold on my first go. Problem 2 was really cool as it had some glowing slots that were a lot better than they looked and I was able to flash this one easier than #1.

I heard a lot of people struggling on problem 3 while I was in the chair, but when I actually turned around to face it, it blew me away. It started out with some powerful undercling moves, then moved onto a face with a big move up to the huge SoIll eye (which happened to be glowing). The last couple moves on the face looked pretty daunting, considering they were about 15 feet off the deck with only blackness below and glowing lights all around you. However, the first few moves proved to be easier than they looked, and I was able to find the good spot on the eye and was able to fire the problem first go! Here's the video below:

video: Richard Levin

After sending problem 3 and getting the crowd really psyched, I got focused again and geared it up for problem 4. It turned out to be a long overhanging problem with an undercling move at the end. I stepped up expecting the first couple moves to flow pretty well, but I couldn't move off the first hold for a couple different tries before noticing a really good foot out right. The rest of the problem was really my style and had a couple cool heelhook moves in the middle, but was really sick problem overall.

video: Richard Levin

In the end, I ended up winning the competition, but got 3rd overall in the series, having missed the 2nd competition due to bouldering nationals. Definitely getting excited for next year though. Great comp, sick prizes, awesome people, AMAZING problems, and a super cool gym definitely have the potential for some pretty awesome opportunities! Get ready for next year...

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