Yes, yes! It is that time of year again. Time for Minnesota climbing comps to start!
North Shore Stylin’
This year, we are fortunate to see the return of the North Shore Stylin’ comp (NSS) at Vertical Endeavors – Duluth. After missing last year, NSS is back for its seventh year on Saturday, February 2.
I’ll be attending as a competitor along with some of my usual climbing cohorts. Additionally, I’ll be representing the MCA as we promote our joint Access Fund/MCA membership that benefits all outdoor climbing in the state.
I am particularly excited for the NSS because it is a prize heavy comp. In December 2010, the last time this comp went off, every participant went home with at least one prize and there were additional raffles that sent some folks home with more. That comp was also my introduction to crate stacking, which proved to be great entertainment while scores were tallied. Also, VED head setter, Justin Edberg, is a frequent contributor to Twin Cities comps and is known for terrific route setting.
Passion for Flashin’
This is, I believe, the 20th year for Passion for Flashin’ at Vertical Endeavors – St Paul on Saturday, February 16. This is a well attended event featuring top rope routes and bouldering problems for all competitors and in 2011 began including lead routes for the advanced and open divisions.
I am going to be dusting off my wrenches in 2013 and setting for Passion, my third time setting for this comp, which is a delightful experience. Head setter, Andy Nelson, raised the bar last October at Ocktboulderfest 2012 by creating hanging volumes on a couple of routes. At Passion last year, he created a giant green heart in the amphitheater for competitors to scramble up. What will he have in store for us this time?
The setting side of comps is a real community experience. Many of the best setters in town come out and try to pull out all the stops while creating fun, dynamic movement that they might not use in everyday setting. Volunteers come out to strip walls and wash holds while setters harness up and dangle from walls expressing themselves one crimp or jug at a time. Then, we get to be the first to climb each others routes in an effort to tweak, tighten, and put them in the order competitors find on their scorecards. The real treat for setters, though, comes upon returning to the gym on comp day to watch climbers figure out routes and share beta in an effort to land on the podium later that day.
This will be year two for Jug-or-Not, VE Minneapolis’ SCS sanctioned comp. As of yet, there is no link for the comp, but I have heard the rumblings in the setter community that it is surely on sometime in April.
This comp was well run in 2012 with the SCS youth competitors climbing in the morning and the adult/non-SCS competitors getting their chance later in the afternoon. In between, VE set up a high slackline stretching from the mezzanine railing to a bolt on the prow. Slackliners would tie into a top rope set up from the rafters and a belayer would catch them when they fell and then lower them to the ground below. It was a great intermission activity that I hope they bring back this year.
Stay tuned for more Jug-or-Not details as they become available.
UPDATE: Jug-or-Not scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2013
Best Of The Midwest
The Best of the Midwest is a bouldering comp that has been thrown by the MCA over the past decade. In 2012, the long standing host, Prairie Walls, declined to hold the event there after nine straight years of doing so. The Minnesota Climbing Co-op scrambled and hosted the event a couple of months later than it was typically held. Then, in fall of 2012, the MCA teamed up with Boulders in Madison and again with the MNCC to hold a two part series under the same moniker.
Though it has not been officially announced, I will say that there will not be a BOTM this spring. What is in store for this traditional fund raising event is still to be determined. Once there is an official decision, it will be announced via the MCA Facebook page (and likely here too).
As I’ve said before, local climbing comps are not solely about competition. It is a fun gathering for setters and climbers to bring out the best in themselves. For setters, it is about crafting a memorable route that will take on its own life during and after comp day. For climbers, it is about climbing hard and supporting harder. I love seeing competitors cheer for each other, share beta, and celebrate success. That, along with raffle prizes, is what it is all about.
Check out media from past years events at these links:
Jug-or-Not 2012 photos
Passion 2012 photos
Passion 2011 photos
NSS 2010 photos
Passion and Jug-or-Not Videos