Saturday, November 10
I am a fan of local climbing comps. The familiar faces, the friendly competition, cheering on climbers around you, initialing score cards, the anticipation of every name called in a prize raffle; it all adds up to good times for me.
My involvement usually starts early. Not always, but often, I’m there with the setting crew; stripping walls, arranging holds, setting routes and problems. We engage in a dance of ladder dodging while stepping over bolts and screws in a manic search for just the right hold. Later comes the forerunning process. Teams of climbers work every problem looking for needed tweaks and ordering them from easiest to hardest until tags are taped and points assigned. After a little clean up, the stage is set and the comp is ready for business.
We had a sparse turnout for this stop of the fall 2012 BOTM. It was not wholly unexpected, but leaves one wondering what it will take to get this comp back to the participation it once saw in years past. It was a comfortably fun number of competitors with no fear of anyone tripping over each other or fighting for time on the wall. And so began the 12th Best of the Midwest held in Minnesota.
BOTM is an annual fundraiser. In its first year, it was held at VE in St. Paul. For the following 9 years, Rochester’s Prairie Walls played host. This year, the event was saved by the Minnesota Climbing Co-op when the event found itself homeless. All proceeds from the Best of the Midwest are donated to the Minnesota Climbers Association. The MCA is a volunteer run, non-profit organization that works to ensure access and safety at Minnesota crags. Currently, the MCA is working to open up new areas at Banning State Park and Voyager National Park as well as to secure the purchase of some private land in Sandstone, popular among our bouldering brethren.
The comp began and thirty-some climbers set out to work. Climbing and encouraging commenced. Friends and family were on hand, as well as volunteers and a handful of setters admiring their handiwork. A few hours later, scores were tallied, setting up the men’s and women’s open division finals.
The women’s final was filled with new faces while the men’s turned out some familiar ones. The women’s final problem proved to be too much for the field, with no one completing the problem. In the end, Brianna Dickenson got the furthest and won the division. Melanie Daoheuang was only one hold behind, however, and was able to combine that day’s performance with her win at BOTM Stop 1 in Madison last month for the overall title of Best of the Midwest and the cash prize that accompanied it.
The men’s final was a feat of dynamic movement coupled with precise balance. All but one competitor failed to complete the problem in their allotted five minutes. Perennial champ, Noah Ridge, flashed the problem in impressive fashion earning the win in the men’s open division. Wei Tilleskjor took home the overall BOTM title and cash prize based on his accomplishments at both stops of this fall’s Best of the Midwest.
All results from 2012 BOTM Stop 2 can be seen here.
And so it goes, and so it goes; another comp is in the books as we head into the tail end of autumn, winter rapidly approaching. For comp lovers in Minnesota, we look forward to the return of the North Shore Style Climbing Competition, rumored to be returning to VE in Duluth this December after missing last year.