A few days before heading to Salt Lake City my friends Max Zolotukhin and Randy Hill came to play in the City. We did some climbing, some eating and a lot of walking. Our friend Nicky Dyal also came out to play on Max and Randy’s last night in the city. I’m pretty sure these three people are my new favorite.
Grass at Dolores Park
Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles for me, chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting for Crystal. Also from the vegan bakesale. That’s right, I ate both the cupcake AND the cinnamon roll. I will eat my weight in vegan treats any day.
A couple days later I’m in Salt Lake City, UT with Moses. We stayed at Steven Jeffery’s house along with Max, Carlo Traversi, Jon Glassberg and Ryan Olson. Steven has a vegetable garden, a kitty, and a sick climbing wall at his house. I’m incredibly jealous. The next day is the Qualifying round of the competition at the Front Climbing Gym.
After punting on problem two which was a balance/slab climb I proceed to problem three. A really hard cross over to a greasy weird crimp and a hard deadpoint to pretty good flat edge and small sidepull, followed by the most heinous lateral dyno ever. Couldn’t stick the dyno but got higher than most women on the problem.
Amy Cockerham on problem five. Cool looking problem, huge spans. I got to the big, green undercling just left of her hand but was so spanned out that I couldn’t get my foot down to the next foothold to come in and match. Most women who made the match got the next two holds as well but no one made the next dyno except Puccio who was also the only one to do this climb. I did, however, manage to find a knee-bar for the first move. Nice.
The PCI (Professional Climbers International) BBQ was fun. I could pretty much listen to Dave Graham tell stories while chain smoking spliffs everyday for the rest of my life. Most interesting, funny, and animated storyteller ever. Listening to what the guys from PCI had to say about the future of professional climbing was pretty interesting too. Something big is about to happen in the world of professional climbing and these are the guys behind it. Definitely sounds like a very large multifaceted endeavor and it’s going to be exciting to see what happens in the next few years. The Climbing community is filled with amazingly motivated and talented people.
The next day we all have to get up VERY early for Semi-finals. Steven is gone before we even wake up and Carlo, Glassberg and I carpool over to the Front to warm up. We are transported by limo to the competition. No one seems to know what is going on. We find out there are three semi-finals problems which seems like a blessing given how much climbing we did the day before. It is warm already. I am so tired from not sleeping very well and I force myself to drink a disgusting Red Bull for the caffeine. Bleh. I am in 8th place so far and hope to advance two more places to make Finals. Problem one for women is completely vertical and about V4, automatically making count for nothing since all of the women sent it. It’s pretty fun though. Problem two starts out on a steep angle and goes to about a 30-35 overhang. My first go is my best. I stick a huge move to a nicros sloper, match it wrong and fall on the next move. I had a lot of trouble sticking the sloper again after that. Lack of sleep starts catching up to me. Problem three looked really good. Didn’t have the ‘try hard’ in me to do it and fell doing a huge dyno crossover to a sloper about five thousand times. Hard but fun. Before I am even done I know that I am not in Finals. I end up in 13th place after all is said and done. My friend Portia Menlove made an impressive effort and went from 19th to 3rd after Semis. Rad! I didn’t get to watch Steven but Carlo and Jon both climb well. All three make it into Finals. Carlo makes an amazing send of problem three out-doing even Sharma and is in first place going into finals. Very exciting.
I’m a little disappointed about my performance at the competition. I know its my first competition in 3 years and 13th isn’t so bad, but in the last two weeks at the gym I had felt pretty strong so climbing poorly in Semi-finals was a bit of a let down. I still had fun though and now I am even more motivated to train and climb harder. I have resolved to compete at the Noreaster, the next leg of the UBC tour at the end of September. Hopefully I’ll be stronger for this event.
Max and I went to a yummy vegan restaurant afterwards called Vertical Diner. I forgot to take pictures of what we ate but it’s all pretty good. Vegan Diner food FTW. After feasting we go check out the OR Show. I’m overwhelmed as soon as I get there. First order of business; Fiveten booth, Nicky Dyal, Sanam Pejuhesh, Colette McInerney. Lovely ladies. I got to meet people from Fiveten that I’ve exchanged many emails with but have never met in person and see all the new shoes that are coming out. Get psyched. They are coming out with some great looking down-turned shoes that I am really excited to try. Next I visit PrAna, Jeff Leads, Beaver, very busy booth. Then Revolution and Pusher, Clark Shelk and Jonny Landry. Clark tries to crack my back. Giant Yellow Revolution pads will soon me mine. Revolution makes the good shit. I catch up with my longtime friend Rob Mulligan, see a bunch of other people I know, then it’s off to watch Finals.
Some interesting setting. I was rooting for Carlo to win because he looked really really strong and it’s more fun when the underdog wins, although Carlo isn’t exactly and underdog. Jon made a strong showing and ended up in 3rd place ahead of Sharma! The women were all pretty bottle-necked but Puccio pulled through for the win. Surprisingly, Alex Johnson was one of two women not to top problem one. Angie and Portia both looked really strong.
After the competition was over we all ditched the lame after-party to find something more fun to do. BBQ, whiskey and beer at Steven’s then out dancing at some random bar with Nicky Dyal (who is one of those people where you have to say both their first and last names when referring to them for some reason), Max, Carlo, Ryan Olson, Jon, and Moses. I love dancing even though I’m not that good. I’ll dance all night. Bad hip-hop, drunk antics, Carlo the ninja, the quest for tonic water, mustache fun, pretending to be sardines in the back of Max’s truck, fun times.
The next day I got up way too early. I go to brunch at Vertical Diner with Justin Wood, Moses, and Max. Forgot pictures again. Philosophy climbing talk. Does a five-star (or six star) boulder exist? What climbing areas are in your top five? Why isn’t Yosemite in Moses’ top five? Goddamn. I promise Justin I will post vegan food recipes on the blog soon. Back to the OR Show. Max and I find out that the best place in the Show to be is the Lafuma booth which has an excessive amount of reclining sun chairs and rugs that look like grass. More catching up with Rob, crazy rain and thunder storm, then off to the airport where Moses and I end up making our flight because it is delayed 20 minutes.
Being back home is SF felt weird for about three seconds but then I was glad to be home and to see my kitty. Salt Lake was 85 degrees, San Francisco is 50 degrees. I had a lot of fun seeing friends, competing and being in Salt Lake City but in the meantime I have taken an amazing four days off from school and now it’s back to reality and responsibility.