Wednesday, February 16, 2011

American Bouldering Series (ABS) Season 12 - National Championship

Alex Johnson on Men's #1
I have been to plenty of ABS competitions over the years, probably in excess of 50, but I have never been to the National Championship.  It just happen to be in Boulder, CO last weekend and my friend Jon invited me to go down to the competition with him.  I was pretty excited to see the best climbers compete for the ABS National Championship.  NE2C Productions put on the competition as an extension to the Unified Bouldering Championships that they started a year ago.  They always throw a great party with lights and music and the climbers never disappoint.  The UBC is the same comp circuit that has the bouldering competition in Salt Lake City, UT during Summer Outdoor Retailer.  It used to be the Mammut Bouldering Championships.

Men's #2
The comp took place in an empty warehouse between the Scarpa and La Sportiva offices (gotta love Boulder) right off of the Foothills Parkway in Boulder.  NE2C leased the space for a month, built the wall and put on the comp.  The wall was built by John Stack's company Vertical Solutions and consisted of three distinctly different walls that offered powerful overhangs and technical slab work.  The UBC and ABS always have some great ideas for boulder problems, typically there is a gimmicky problem (crazy moves, etc.), a finesse problem and a powerful problem.  This is a great format because it lets strong and technically sound climbers compete on a level playing field.  A perfect example is the Men's #1 problem.  It forced a figure 4 move off a roof hold and almost every climber ended up using the move.  Regardless of how strong the climber was, they still had to use the funky move.  In contrast Men's #2 was very technical and took a lot of balance and core strength to get the moves just right while Men's #3 was a burly overhanging pump fest.  The Women's problems followed suit and climbers like Alex Puccio and Sasha DiGiulian had to use power and finesse to finish the problems.

Check out the video of Ian on Men's #1 after the jump!

Fort Collins' and Inner Strength's own Ian Dory qualified for the finals earlier in the day Saturday and was in 4th running order for the finals.  Ian has been tearing up the bouldering around Fort Collins and the Frontrange putting up FA's and routinely climbing problems V11 and harder.  Jon, Greig (younger, strong climber from Fort Collins), and I waited impatiently for the competition to start.  We were not disappointed.


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