Holy crap there are so many people who want to rock climb in Portland.
Like… seriously. We get to the climbing gym for their competition, the PDX pulldown, and there’s already a solid 100 people. And they don’t stop showing up; at its peak, there must have been ~300 people at the gym. Which is awesome, right up until the point that I’m trying to get onto some routes so I can actually… you know… compete in the competition.
Because I’ll be honest – people weren’t really being ideal climbers. They were… well, one rule was the “one fall” limit. You come down after a fall, so the next person can try. Well… I heard the phrase “I just won’t count the points, I want to try it anyways” way too often. There were also a few folks who had never tied knots it seems, and one or two people uncertain of which direction one is supposed to climb (Hint: it’s “up”).
All of that in mind – I had a good time. My only real regret was that I ate their free pizza… that was not particularly delicious or good for the climbing feel. But aside from that, I did well, climbed hard, and enjoyed myself.
The best part? I reached my goal! There were three divisions that I could place into: men’s recreational, men’s advanced, and men’s open. Open was the top level, consisting of people climbing lead routes, and working the hardest. The top three members of the open division would compete for first place in the competition… I knew I couldn’t get into that region, but my main goal was to place into the open category.
And in theory, it was simple. I just had to lead a single route. Just one completed lead would get me into my goal. But funny story – they’re all tough.
In the end, I did two. Well… I completed one, and got halfway up a second. My completed was a 5.11c, one try, no falls. My half-way was a 5.12b, one try again. One fall though… since, you know, didn’t finish.
But I placed. I got cleanly into the Open Category, out-scoring everyone in the Advanced, and a solid 50% of the folks in Open. I did well. I am proud of myself 🙂
Ohh, you want to know what I won?
I got a little coffee mug, as free swag from one of the merchant booths. Funny story – if I had just done Advanced, and not tried to get into Open, I probably could have won. But… you know… personal pride and goal setting and silly stuff like that.