We just got done doing a competition at my gym. Its called Thanksending and it was a crazy weekend. On Thursday we started to strip the walls completely so that we could then set all day Friday. To set in the gym you have to be creative, able to work twelve to eighteen hours and just be on a constant go, go, go. This was my first time setting for a competition and I have to say that it is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. I'm still an apprentice at our gym so it wasn't a requirement for me to stay for the full eighteen hours.
Competition style setting makes everything twice as difficult as setting for your usual clientele. When you have people who literally compete as climbers you have to think of more diverse moves. You have to be able to make the climbers think about the route and make each route harder than the last. Usually, we keep anything below a V2 scale all at a 48-inch reach so that kids can climb about 15% to 20% of what is in our gym. After that, the 48-inch reach goes out of the window. For competition style, the 48 inches reach still applies but it gets difficult because if you add too many feet that V1 just became a VB. You have to think carefully, place carefully and keep in mind what you are setting for.
This apprenticeship has been a lot to take in, a lot to learn and a lot to handle but I think it has been good for me as a climber. It has forced me to have to think about moves I didn't think I could or would ever do and it has started to force me to be a better climber.
Of course, after we did the competition I then had to work all day the next day which added to my level of exhaustion since I had been trying to keep up all weekend. I also got some photos of people as they climbed and even though they weren't from up on top of the wall they still were a lot of fun to capture.
If you guys have never been to a climbing competition then you should try and attend one. Its super fun to watch people put all their effort into the routes and try to figure out puzzles that setters put up for them. It shows all kinds of determination and power.
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