Get Psyched for ABS Nationals

13 02 2009

Once again, my awesome little sister Maddy is headed to ABS Nationals in Boulder this weekend, along with a bunch of other strong climbers. Unlike last year, Luke and I aren’t going this year. Instead, we’re running a trail race (most like in the rain) at the apparently beautiful Montana de Oro State Park. Also, my chest is only just healing and I would be totally not excited to get sick (like I did after volunteering at Nationals last year) again and start coughing again. So get stoked for the falls, the sends, the upsets, the victories, and all the news that will hit the blogs on Monday.

Maddy climbing at the Circuit (I think)


ABS Nationals Recap

25 02 2008

February has been a crazy month and our three day trip to Boulder was no exception. Lizzy and I flew out of San Diego Friday morning so that we could compete in the Citizens comp at CATS that night. With only carry on baggage and an on time flight we were able to make our bus to Boulder from the Denver airport. One transfer lead us to within a mile of The Spot and CATS, what an amazing transit system! We grabbed lunch and walked with all our stuff to CATS. Snow on the ground was a drastic change and we exchanged flip flops and t-shirts for shoes and a down jacket.

CATS is small and was uncrowded since we arrived there with plenty of time to spare. The climbing section of this gymnastic facility has a lot of very cool angles in a very small amount of space. The walls were freshly painted but the gloss paint provided horrible friction. As well the finish holds were all odd configurations of 2 X 4’s and were not to friendly. The shortcomings in the facility were made up for by the friendliness of the staff and the quality of the problems. The various angles provided a variety of styles and the climbs were set very well. Lizzy and I had fun and her family arrived a bit after we started climbing since they had a later flight.

After tiring ourselves out we got dropped off at the Spot for our judging meeting. Lizzy and I volunteered to judge the qualifiers and the finals for the Youth section of the comp. It gave us something to do and I was happy to be involved in such a high caliber climbing event. We got to see some of the routes set on Friday night and had a lot of exposure to some of the up and coming climbing talent. For our judging duty we got an early start Saturday morning and were at the gym for almost 12 hours including our time watching the open finals. Our judging jobs were easy since the majority of the kids flashed our problems and we got to go to finals for free. Another benefit was getting to watch some of our friends and Lizzy’s sister climb up close.

The open finals were quite packed and it was great to see all the strong climbers. Video can be found at shot by Andy Mann and others. Susánica Tam, an LA local who we saw at regionals, also made a great slideshow of the event. Paul Robinson beat out Chris Sharma and the show was spectacular. The routes were more of a challenge this year for the climbers and the 4th final problem remained unsent during the comp. This is much different than last year’s nationals in Maryland. A report can be found at about how the field was much stronger than expected. During open finals four guys and seven girls flashed all of the problems. As well when they set a super finals problem 3 of the 4 guys flashed that as well causing the tie to be broken by the qualifiers. Paul Robinson, this year’s winner, only flashed one of the three problems he completed.

Sunday was the Youth finals and Lizzy and I got moved up a problem in the lineup so that we had more falls and more excitement. Lizzy even had one of her climbers top-out early over an out of bounds line causing the head judge to step in and confirm the ruling. I had the younger kids again, Youth D, and my problem was a bit easy for the field. It saw a majority of flashes with another three or so sends 2nd try. Three or less kids were unable to send the problem.

Boulder was a ton of fun and it was good to meet new people, including the Climbing Narc, and see some old friends. The Spot was very cool and helped expand my mind in terms of what people want in a climbing gym. It was quite small and had only 2 free standing boulders but it featured tall walls with interesting angles. I ended up winning Men’s Advanced at the Citizen’s comp which means I will have to do open next year. I hope to visit boulder again and get on some of the real rock in the area!



ABS Southwest Regionals

17 01 2008

This past weekend the citizens’ ABS southwest Regionals was hosted at Vertical Heaven in Ventura, CA. I really enjoying going to big comps because you get to see some big name climbers come and crush. It’s really motivational and it makes me think that I am part of the big community.

Chris Danielson was there to set routes along with Paul Dusatko. An interview with Chris can be found on the E-Grips site. Vertical Heaven is the home gym for Halo Holds and they had quite a few amazing features on their routes such as the B.A.H. This giant volcano hold, whose acronym likely means Bad Ass Hold, is perfect for roof climbing and heel toe cams and was featured on the Men’s #4 final problem.

Five Ten had a booth at the comp and I was able to try on a pair of the 5X which were first seen at the Summer OR Market. They fit well and had the new 5.10 heel cup which is matched perfectly with the zipper and Velcro closure. One of my friends got a pair of the new Jet7’s for the comp and really loved them. He said they have super sticky rubber and fit great. The only complaint was that they are sized quite differently and he had to go 1.5 sizes down from what he wears in the new Dragons. This weekend is the Winter OR Market in SLC and I will be interested to see if any new sweet gear is on the horizon.

There were a lot of top athletes at this comp including Lisa Rands and Alex Puccio. It was amazing to see Lisa climb and I had got to chat with her husband, Wills Young, who was really chill. Ethan Pringle showed up at the comp and climbed a few problems but didn’t really compete. He was there to sign posters since he was still recovering from a fall from the Mandala. In December he had been working the Sit Start and landed badly on his heel putting him in crutches.

Carlo Traversi was also at this comp hailing all the way from Colorado. It was pretty cool to see him climb after reading his blog. Recently he has been sending hard with the 2nd ascent of Thrice. His ascent of the climb likely sparked new interest in this Holloway test piece since it is now up to its 6th repeat after sends by Jamie Emerson, James Pearson, Daniel Woods and Dave Graham. Carlo won the ABS 9 regionals with a few flashes and a strong showing on Men’s #4 which stumped all other competitors. He was able to make it to the 2nd to last hold which was 2 holds further than any other climber. After the comp ended he got back on the climb and sent the problem!

Woods has also been busy with the 2nd ascent of Ty Landman’s Midnight Express. You can see a video of the FA here courtesy of the MoonClimbing. The video of Daniel’s ascent can be found on As well Daniel established Epochalypse which according to Chip Phillips from “links Reverse UCT (RUCT) -> Trice or 10+ moves of ~7C/7C+ traversing into 8A+”.

After sending Trice on January 10th Dave Graham went to work on Midnight Express. On his fifth day of effort he managed the third ascent in freezing conditions. So far snow and ice seem like routine conditions for those working on this boulder. These two sends put Dave back in the lead of the combined 8a global ranking. This spot, which he has held on and off for the last 6 years, was momentarily stolen by Ethan Pringle.



Plastic and Cracks!

14 01 2008

The past weekend saw a lot of rock climbing and even more sore muscles.

After fueling with pasta and cheesecake in Pasadena on Friday night, we headed up to Ventura on Saturday morning to compete in the citizen’s ABS Regionals comp at Vertical Heaven. When we arrived in Ventura and got out of the car, the air smelled disgusting – I was concerned about having to breath it all day, but amazingly I either got accustomed to it or it smelled better inside the gym. We checked in and got some free stuff in a Mad Rock bag and sweet T-shirts.

The comp itself was 3 hours long, with 60 problems, 15 each in Rec, Intermediate, Advanced, and Open categories. It being my 2nd comp ever, I struggled a bit. I tried basically all of the the intermediate problems, flashing 2 and making good progress on a lot of others, although I didn’t end up sending them. Luke was climbing in the Advanced category and did pretty awesome, winning 2nd (a free headlamp). We were able to garner some more free stuff – lots of t-shirts, stickers, and a chalkbag via a raffle and them randomly throwing free stuff to the crowd before the finals.

We were a little surprised at how few really good climbers were there, but apparently the comp didn’t really matter for people who wanted to go to Nationals. Lisa Rands and Alex Puccio were the strong women, placing 1st and 2nd in the women’s open category. It was really cool to see Lisa climb AND she put her bag next to my bag on the floor so I ran into her a lot. There were some pretty crazy problems, too – including one involving a jumpstart to campus moves to a bat hang to an upside down dyno… a little ridiculous but a crowd pleaser for sure.

We had dinner with Hartley, Jamie, and Nicole, and headed back down to San Diego, sore but stoked for a day at Woodson on Sunday.

It was a great day for climbing – sunny and warm (although a bit chilly in the wind atop Robbins boulder). We climbed Robbins Crack first – I soloed it for the 2nd time and felt a lot less freaked out than the first time, which was good. Then after doing some easier cracks that our companions could actually climb, we managed to find California Night for the first time! Luke sent this and I was making pretty good progress, but wanted to save some energy for my nemesis, Jaws. I also made the stupid mistake of running a track workout in too-small shoes last week and my big toe has been painful and oozing a little blood since, so I couldn’t fit my right foot into my smaller shoes.

Then the boys enjoyed some time climbing steeper routes in a cool cave area before we headed to Jaws to finish the day. Luke and I soloed Baby Robbins and relaxed in the afternoon sun on the top – by this time we were both pretty worked from all the climbing we’d done this weekend. Luke’s left arm was really hurting and my tips were worn down practically to bleeding!

Then it was time to throw ourselves at Jaws. Luke sent it first try, which was pretty awesome. I got pretty close to the top on my first try, but fell as one of my off-jams slipped out. But it felt pretty good. The next couple tries felt awkward for me and I never made it as high as my first go… maybe next time when I’m less tired it’ll happen. Then I just have to keep sending it to get ready for IC…

I’m pretty sore still today, but luckily its a rest day for me – just classes and homework, so hopefully I can recover before this coming weekend. I’m also feeling pretty motivated to work hard at my Tuesday/Thursday ARC bouldering sessions so that I can climb better at the next comp we go to, whenever that may be.

That’s it for now,