I’ve always enjoyed competing. When done with little expectations, it seems to produce very motivational results. What I’ve learned about climbing competitions is that it is so much a mental battle as it is a physical one. I’ve beaten many strong ‘professional’ climbers, that have the rap sheet to prove that they are by far more qualified than I am. However, for some reason, I sometimes excelled above them. My friend Alex Puccio, who is the strongest competition boulderer in the USA and has been for the past 7 years says that being an underdog is definitely easier than trying to hold the podium of prior years. I’ve never felt that pressure, since I’ve never actually been at the top of my game, not in the slightest.
I’ve probably competed over 25 times. I would say over half of them, I have won. None of these competitions were ever on a national or world cup level, most of these were local gym competitions, however, competing is competing. Everyone tries to win – they try their hardest.
This past year, I’ve done 4 competitions in China. My best result was 3rd place at two of the events: A debut in a speed climbing competition in LeYe, China, where I was paid to attend the event by the Chinese Communist Government (this was the second time the Chinese government had paid me to climb!), the other 3rd place was at Yangshuo’s bouldering competition. That was a difficult competition. With numerous 5.14 climbers, I made 11th place in the qualifiers, barely making finals. Some how I managed to keep my cool and place 3rd over all!
One of the best competitions I participated in was a ‘deep water solo’ competition in China. This was very fun and very difficult. My Chinese friend Abond, an Adidas sponsored athlete, won the event. I can’t remember what my overall result was, but I didn’t make podium. I blame it on inadequately warming up (a very crucial part of competing), and the angle of the barge. This however was a factor for us all. The bouldering setters didn’t realize that all the competitors on the floating barge would be leaning to one side to get a better view of the climber. This increased the angle and the difficulty of each climb significantly. Nevertheless, it was an awesome time!
Like I said before, and I will repeat it again because it sounds so cool: the Chinese government paid me to attend a climbing festival in a new city in Southern China. We were about 15 foreigners, staying for a 4 day event, scheduled to participate in speed climbing and sport climbing competitions.
China is set to become the next biggest climbing destination in the world. With the best public transportation in the world and un-climbed rock everywhere, it is the future.
More competition photos:
…. and in the media.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook (Yellow Cover, 2012 edition?).
(An interview in the local Rifle, CO newspaper “The Post Independent” for rock climbing achievements on plastic!.)