Gladiator Finals are set! Plus – The World Premiere Sneak Peek of the new E-Grips Giant Bubble Wrap Feature
The team for this comp was a little different than usual, as both Jon and Jay Jay weren’t able to come in and set. Luckily for us Nic Sherman was available for every stripping and setting session, and along with the usual team of Jonny, Carlo, Garrett, Danny, and I, we put all those sweet grips from the hold review to good use on the 42 recreational, intermediate, advanced, open, and finals problems.
Chris Danielson, who is, among other things, the rep for e-grips, teknik, and so ill holds, came in and played around with some big green pinches to make a tricky problem that later was tweaked down into A7. On top of all the awesome Hold Review Holds and features in the comp, Chris brought us a special hold to set with–E-grips brand new, never before seen, never before used, not even named yet bubble wrap sloper. You can’t buy it yet–it isn’t even on their website! We’ll only have this hold for a week, so if you want to climb on it you’d better come down to the comp and check out the sickness. Here’s Carlo trying to hold onto it in an early iteration of O9:
Speaking of O9, how many setters does it take to get a little volume on the wall?
This is the Gladiator Finals, the conclusion of SBS Season VI, and therefore the most awesome of all the SBS VI events. There will be jousting. Avery beer in cans. Epic long finals problems. Wahoo’s tacos. Tons of sweet new tester grips. A huge raffle. E-Grips Bubble Wrap Sloper sneak peek. Did we mention the jousting? We BROKE WRENCHES setting for this thing, that’s how awesome it is. So don’t miss out!!!
See you at The Spot!
The Urban Climber/Spot Hold Review of 2010/2011
The great Spot/UC hold review of 2010 has turned into the great Spot/UC hold review of 2011 (cause it took that long for all the holds to come in) but they did finally come in and so last week Carlo and the crew put company-specific problems of brand new grips up on the Left River wall for you to help us test out. The goal is to put together the most comprehensive and useful climbing hold review ever done by a climbing magazine, and we need your help.
Here’s the deal: each company-specific (i.e. all the holds on the problem are from one company) problem in the review will be found on the Left River wall and clearly labeled with the hold company. Because we set multiple problems with each company’s holds, the problems are also numbered so it will be easy for you to tell us exactly which problem had that sweet fat pinch or tricky Font sloper that you liked so much. Climb some problems, give us your opinion, and if you review at least 5 company’s holds you might even win a prize!
Pick up your review forms at the Front Desk or on the left side of the Left River wall (by the garage door). Questions can be posted to this blog, or emailed to Jackie at email@example.com. Thanks!!!
A quick personal note:
It was my intention, and still is, to post about each company that is taking part in the hold review individually upon receipt of their holds. Unfortunately, before we had received all the holds my grandfather’s lymphoma progressed I had to leave Boulder to get home to see him before he passed. This is also why the blog updates have been more or less non-existent of late, so, sorry, but I should be back in action with regular updates again soon.
Gladiator Finals are coming up!
Spot in time for the Gladiator Finals, which will be held on Saturday, January 22nd, and will include a sweet jousting rig in addition to the normal Spot comp amenities of great new problems, exciting finals, a huge raffle, and free Wahoo’s tacos and Avery beer.
The World’s Greatest Flasher!!!
Watch. This. Video.
Sorry I don’t have any event pics yet, but I will post ‘em as soon as I see ‘em. Here are Youth and Adult results. More from this and other Spot events here. Let us know if you have any questions or see any errors–firstname.lastname@example.org. And here’s a short rundown of the open finals:
Men’s Open Finals
A strong contingent of men showed up for the open category, and after crushing many (most?) of the open problems we had our 6 finalists, all who were, fortunately, in attendance (see Women’s Open Finals for a slightly different scenario). So who were these strong men? Qualifying in order from 1st – 6th were: Jon Cardwell and Matty Hong (tied for first), Colin Bauer, Ian Dory, Gabor Szekely, and Tyler Haack.
The men’s final was set by Carlo Traversi, who you probably know got back from Switzerland. Carlo quickly came up with a few neat balance moves followed by a powerful drop-down and then a sequence of burly pinch throws to a campus from the double bubble to the finish pinch. Tyler and Gabor both dropped off on the pinches before Ian barely climbed through them for the problem’s first flash. Colin Bauer came out and also succumbed to the pinch sequence, as did Matty on his first go, though he was able to send the problem 2nd try. Last out was Jon, who fought through the pinches to powerfully flash the boulder and win the comp.
Men’s Open Finals Results
1. Jon Cardwell
2. Ian Dory
3. Matty Hong
4. Tyler Haack
5. Colin Bauer
6. Gabor Szekely
Women’s Open Finals
The Women’s Open Finalists were surprisingly difficult to figure out because when we compiled the youth and adult results it turned out that 3 of the finalists, including 1st place, should have been youth competitors. Unfortunately, Megan Mascarenas (1st), Laurel Todd (4th?), Isabelle Goodacre (5th?) and Tika Anderson (6th? 7th?) had all left the gym and therefore couldn’t compete in finals. Tika made it back just before Jesse, who qualified in 1st, was to take her turn, and unfortunately we couldn’t let her compete at that point although it would have been sweet to have Tika in her first Spot finals ever. Anyways, after a bit of running around we found the top 6 competitors who were still present and got them ready for their finals problem.
This comp’s Women’s final was set by Jon Glassberg and Danny Ciavarro. Unlike the finals problems from the last 2 comps, this problem was relatively short (12 scored holds), and consistently powerful. Courtney Behnke was up first, and after a strong showing on the bottom moves she took a dramatic belly-flopping fall off the long, powerful move to the big green Climb-it rail in the middle of the problem. The crowd gasped, but Courtney jumped right up and got back on the problem for her next go. Chelsea Rude came out next and, after looking a bit questionable on the long move, turned on the power to catch the big green hold in style and hike the rest of the problem for the flash. Kara Caputo was next, and looked like she was easily flashing the problem until she just missed holding the final hold. Tiffany Hensley came out for her go looking strong, but bobbled the long move to the big green hold and landed surprised on the mats. Knowing Chelsea had already flashed, Tiffany decided to go for entertainment value and put on her crazy green-swirly goggles before hiking her way to the hold she’d previously fallen from. Once she got there she made up for Adam Markert’s not competing and hung around mugging for the crowd before making her way to the final hold where she did a few victory pull-ups before dropping to the mat. After Tiffany came the twins, Tyler first and Jesse second. Tyler was cruising, introducing a powerful and styley bicycle for the long move, but she accidentally stepped on an off foothold immediately after and had to start over from the beginning. Her next go she looked as strong but bobbled a sequence, and her 3rd go she made it all the way to the final move before falling to the mats. Finally Jesse had her turn, and she cleanly and decisively flashed her way to the win (after countbacks, because she and Chelsea tied on the final but she’d beat Chelsea in the main comp).
Women’s Final Results
1. Jesse Youngwerth
2. Chelsea Rude
3. Tiffany Hensley
4. Kara Caputo
5. Tyler Youngwerth
6. Courtney Behnke
We had some returning and some new slackliners at this year’s Highline event. One especially neat thing has been watching the progression of some of the returning slackers, including Michael Payton who has been slacking at the Spot for years now. Watch for video and pictures of the event, and if you are interested in learning to slackline or improving your skills, come to:
The Spot has been holding special multi-slackline sessions after closing on Sundays. Here is a short promo that Adam from the Climbing School (and regular host of Slacker Sundays) made:
With a team of 8 setters we finished setting, forerunning, stickering, and clean up in what may be record time. We all headed home, leaving the gym to the slackliners who came in to practice tricks and take some test goes on the line so they’ll be ready to show off all their sweet tricks tomorrow. Here are a couple of pictures from the day:
See you all tomorrow for the Highline Highball comp!!!
Food Drive wrap-up, the Beach pads get a face-lift, Highline setting starts, and Carlo & Jon are back!
Food Drive Wrap-Up
So first of all, the Food Drive was brief, but went pretty well for our first effort. Here’s the take:
The Beach Pads Get A Facelift
Josh, Brett, and a bunch of volunteers spent their Wednesday re-stuffing and shuffling the Beach’s Asana comp flooring to make a more uniform surface. Remember that landing on this surface is different than standard blue padding or crash pads, and if you’d like to know more about it please ask at the desk.
Highline Setting Starts & Carlo and Jon are back!
Today was the first day of setting for SBS Season VI Comp 3 – the Highball/Highline Comp. Last night after they finished improving the padding we stripped the Beach and the Dojo. When we strip the walls, part of the time is always spent removing stuck holds. We are only able to access the back of the Beach, part of the River, a very small section of the Hueco, and most of the Dojo, and when a hold is stuck in one of those places it’s often preferable to unbolt the hold using a long arm and wrench on one side of the wall and a pair of vice grips on the other. Last night, to welcome Carlo home, we let him be the vice grip guy on a hold stuck high on the roof section of the Dojo. As is obvious if you consider the height of the Dojo cave and the depth of the workout space above the Dojo, there isn’t much room to fit a setter in to get at the t-nuts. You have to crawl on your belly to reach some of the topmost t-nuts. Dusty is an understatement. This is what Carlo looked like after two long plane flights, a 15 hour layover in Boston, major jet lag, a few beers, an hour and a half of stripping, and 10 minutes with the vice grips. Was that shirt clean? Oops. Doesn’t Carlo look glad to be back?
When we were getting ready for the comp there was one hold that didn’t get cut off the wall. Because Psychedelia is dark, and there were no problems around it, we just taped it off for the comp and decided to deal with it after. After was Thursday, when Brett was sitting at the desk and told us to cut the hold off the wall. We decided to be generous and offered him the opportunity to cut the hold off himself, since he’d never cut one before. He was game. The above picture is him, all suited up, before he tried cutting hold.
The hold was a Voo-Doo, which means it had a special rubberized backing that they use to keep holds from spinning. He began sawing, and as the saw heated up the rubber stuff liquified and made this goo that gummed up the blade and made it hard to see what he was doing. The original blade he was using had been used before, and despite being labeled “Fire and Rescue blades”, they’re good for about 1 bolt cut a piece. Anyways, Brett sawed away with that first blade for a while, but made not great progress, and after a while we let him off the hook ’til we could go to Fastenal and get him some new blades and some safety goggles (you’ll notice that he started out with his Native sunglasses).
After lunch we came back and got Brett re-set up on the ladder with the sawzall. He made good progress at first, sawing 1/2 way through the bolt quickly. Then things started to go downhill. He sawed and sawed, and made a little progress, but he just couldn’t get through that last 1/3 of the bolt. Finally I thanked him for his help and let him off the hook, then took a different old blade (the new one he was using was pretty trashed) and went at it. After a few minutes of eyeball vibration, I replaced the blade with a 2nd new one (I hate using more than 1 new blade/bolt if possible) and quickly finished cutting the bolt. The new blade isn’t even wrecked, which is great, so we can hopefully get another cut out of it. I think the reasons this particular bolt was so epic were 1) the rubberized backing on the hold, and 2) we were sawing solid bolt (not the threaded part).
Anyways, it sucked, and there’s a lot more to say about cutting bolts, so I think I’ll write an article about it in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned for that. Til then, here’s more from Carlo:
Besides setting a bunch of problems for Psychedelia, including part of the Men’s Final, Jon spent a significant amount of the pre-comp days with a camera, making this “making of” video about Psychedelia. In it, you will hear a little about what it takes to put together an event like this, and you will see what we setters look like when we’ve spent 3 days and parts of nights in the gym, in and out of blacklight (we darken the windows on the morning of day 2, so it was like being in a basement or something) as we set and climb and decorate and do everything else that we need to do to make Psychedelia such a unique event. So forgive us for our droopy eyes and pale faces, and enjoy the vid!
As you can see, there isn’t much blacklight in it til the photos at the end. Obviously, a finals video of Psychedelia would be amazing to have, but unfortunately the black-light situation, combined with quickly-moving competitors, makes it really hard to capture good quality video that will be watchable. Mostly, Jon explained, you’d see the holds and the spectator’s t-shirts (i.e. everything that stays still for long enough to be accurately captured). So, there is no finals video. Sorry. I wish there was too, cause the women swinging from the bones and Adam Markert swinging upside-down in his spiderman costume from the toxic waste barrel were two of my all time favorite comp moments. Ever. And I’ve seen/been to MANY of comps. Here are a few pics though, and you can see the rest at: Spot Facebook Psychedelia Album by Adam Bove and if you go to our Facebook page you will see a link to pics by Danny Gale and Keith North as well.
There are a TON more photos on Facebook–just click the link above to check ‘em out.
As for the referral? Turns out other setters think the freedom we get at Psychedelia is pretty awesome: Routecrafting. So do we!
The bones and toxic barrel problems will be up until early next week, so if you want to climb on them, get to the Spot asap!
We knew that Psychedelia seemed a little crowded this year, and now that we’ve seen the numbers we know for sure that it was the biggest year yet! Between the two sessions (youth, from 1-4 and adult, from 6-9) we had 512 competitors and, for the adult session, another 478 people came in as spectators! On top of the costume contest (won by “Hamburger Helper” for the women, which was Bray Lake dressed up as the giant Hamburger Helper hand, and “Ape Index” for the men, which was some dude with super extendo-arms on his costume) and the gigantic raffle, and the fire dancing, and the fabric dancing, and the sweet blacklight artwork show by skaadi, we hooked the competitors and spectators up with free Avery beer and Wahoo’s. Cause we’re cool like that. Then we threw the most rockin’ Psychedelia finals yet.
The men’s problem had a toxic waste theme, and involved climbing up the right side of the beach to a gigantic bright-orange suspended steel toxic waste drum with hazardous green goo oozing down toward the holds screwed onto the bottom and sides. The men had to climb some difficult moves and a sloper deadpoint up the Beach, then lean/jump out to the barrel, then get it swinging and get back over to the most overhung part of the Beach and get back on the wall for the finish. The women’s problem followed a huge tape art Japanese wood-cut style wave that our buddy Hunter Damiani made for us. He was going to make a skeleton ship too, but he ran out of time. Anyways, the women’s problem climbed up the wave to some large hanging glowing bones. The women had to lean out off some slopers and grab the first bone, then swing to the next, then back down to the wall and more wave. From there they had to climb around and up to a third bone, then back onto the wall for a sloping finish. Because both problems were so much longer than the last finals, we gave competitors 5 minutes each to climb them, and if you were on the wall before your 5 minutes was up, you were allowed to finish your try.
To choose the finalists we compiled the scores from the youth and adult comps, and the top 6 competitors of each gender were, in reverse order: Tyler Haack & Kara Caputo, Alex Manikowski & Chauncenia Cox, Gabor Szekely & Larissa Phillips, Adam Markert & Nina Williams, Matty Hong & Lily Ridgley, and Rob D’Anastasio & Gabi Masse. Once the crowd got settled and we stripped a few holds, we were ready for finals.
Kara Caputo lead off strong for the women, with a masterful swinging performance on the bones that got the crowd screaming. After dropping back to the wall and climbing down and across the face she fell off 2x on the technical perch move to a pocket before the climb up to the third bone. Next out was consistent competitor Chauncenia Cox (aka Chauncey). Though she almost bobbled the bone moves, Chauncey recovered to stick the pocket Kara fell on, flip her left hand to an under-ham-hock, and slip off while slapping the huge sloper that was the first of two compression moves before the 3rd bone. Unfortunately, Chauncey was unable to regain her high point on subsequent attempts. The third girl out, Larissa Phillips, also struggled with the bones, but recovered herself and, after touching a higher hold with the wrong hand and out of order, dropped down through the correct holds and fell off just past Kara’s highpoint. Nina Williams came next, and didn’t fare much better than Kara or Larissa had. Lily Ridgely and Gabi Masse were our last hope for a send, and for some reason they both got really flummoxed by the drop down and perch moves and neither was able to best Chauncey’s sloper slap. As the setter, I wish the girls had been able to make the transition from power (bones) to technique (perch) a little bit better, but I guess it’s hard to change your stride in the dark, with a crowd screaming at you, after having already climbed for three hours. The other technical part of what turned out to be the crux was hand placements–if you got your left hand on the small incut instead of the higher sloper, it was easier to perch and surf out right, because you could pull out from the wall instead of balancing quite as much. C’est la vie though, I suppose. The wild swinging on the bones still provided a very exciting women’s finals, and we’ll leave the problem up for a few more days at least in case anyone wants try it before we take the bones off the wall. Come climb it while you can, cause everything is ephemeral, right?
Women’s Open Final:
1. Chauncey Cox
2. Larissa Phillips
3. Nina Williams
4. Kara Caputo
5. Gabi Masse
6. Lilly Ridgely
This problem got toned down a lot from the original set, and it’s a good thing it did, cause it proved to be pretty tough for all the guys in finals. Tyler Haack (a strong kid from Wisconsin) and Alex Manikowski (a few years in Boulder now) came out first and seemed to have a pretty hard time on the lower section and deadpoint. Gabor Szekely, dressed as a pirate, made a good showing and to the roars of the crowd, actually got a hand on the hanging toxic waste barrel, but he was unable to match on it and then couldn’t make it back to his highpoint. Crowd favorite Adam Markert, climbing in his traditional (and appropriate) spiderman costume, got both hands on the barrel and proceeded to spend almost 2 minutes doing various spidey poses–much to the crowd’s delight. The hanging upside-down apparently sapped his energy though, cause he couldn’t get himself back to the wall and had to call it quits. Matty Hong was next, and showed why he’s one of the best up and coming climbers in America when he flashed through the barrel and back to the wall before falling off on a difficult cross to a sloper. He fell there 2 more times, the most dramatic of which was the 3rd when the photographer’s flash went off right as he slapped, giving everybody a second of blindness in which it wasn’t clear if Matty was on the hold or flying through the air, and then our eyes recovered and he was down on the mats. Last out was Rob D’Anastasio, called Rob D by pretty much everybody, who has been the darkhorse of the American comp climbing scene for so long that it isn’t really surprising when he shows up randomly at a comp and then wins. Which is what he did here. He didn’t quite best Matty’s highpoint, but he managed to match it, and match the hold, and get both feet almost wrapped around the steel drum in the manner that, had he had another try on the problem, would have assured success as he slapped for the slopey pinch just before the finish. The crowd was going ballistic as he looked, for one second, like he was going to stick it, and then he fell, and finals were over, and everyone seemed really, really psyched.
1. Rob D
2. Matty Hong
3. Adam Markert
4. Gabor Szekely
5. Tyler Haack
6. Alex Manikowski
Youth results were posted, but we had an excel issue and they were a little messed up, so they’ve been pulled til we get ‘em sorted correctly.
Here is a silly video James Davidheiser made that shows off a few of the special problems at this year’s Psychedelia. We tried to spread out the special to all the categories–the first 2 in this video are rec problems! The 3rd is part of the women’s final. We had other special features as well that are not featured here. Remember the pvc pipes from last year’s event? Well they were back in action and on the dojo for the citizen’s comp. The river wall turned into the video game wall, and Pitfall (aka Jellyfish vs. Spider), Tetris, PacMan, and CastleVania were all represented. PacMan was especially cool, as Jay Jay painted a PacMan game on a volume and we put little holds on it that fit in the board and looked like ghosts and PacMan himself.
If you missed Psychedelia, you should come in to the gym to see more before we tear all the decorations down. Which brings me to….
For day 1 of the reset we attacked, you guessed it, the river wall. The crew was large–Me, Jon, Jonny, Jay Jay, and Danny–and we put up a bunch of problems including 3 1 spots, some 2 spots, some 3 spots, some 4 spots, and even a couple 5 spots. I didn’t get any pictures, but I think we hit all the grades with several different styles, so let us know if you want to see anything special in the next few weeks as we reset and we will keep it in mind.
As you’ve probably noticed, Carlo is still on his vacation. Things are going well, and on top of his other awesome sends Carlo just did another V14 – The Dagger. Wanna know more? Check his blog.
Thanks everybody who came out to Psychedelia–it turned out to be a pretty amazing event with some sweet costumes and a couple of dramatic finals problems. We’ll have a full write-up, a making-of video, results, and a bunch of photos out soon, but til then here are a few from Danny Gale that’ll give you a peek at what the gym looked like this year: