One of my favorite things to do is to go rock climbing, preferably outside, but when it’s too cold to go outside, I head indoors to climb.
The first time I went rock climbing was 11 years ago and I was instantly hooked. I rock climbed outdoors when I could over the years, depending on where I was living and how easy it was to get to a rock cliff. I started climbing more frequently, both outdoors and indoors, four years ago when I moved to Fredericton, joined the UNB Rock and Ice Club, and met my future husband Chris there.
The UNB Rock and Ice Club is a great volunteer-based community group that runs a non-profit bouldering gym and a variety of climbing-related activities (introductory rock and ice schools; advanced rock schools;climbing safety sessions; Banff Mountain Film festival).
Last Saturday the UNB Rock and Ice Club hosted an indoor bouldering competition. At a bouldering gym, climbers use artificial holds to climb up walls without a rope (usually no higher than 15 feet). Large mattresses are in place to catch falls. This is different than at a rope climbing gym where climbers wear harnesses and are tied in to ropes while climbing walls that are usually around 40 feet high.
Since I joined the Club four years ago I’ve tried to go to all the competitions (three a year). I love the day of competition – so many new routes to try, the challenge of trying to complete the hardest routes I can in as few tries as possible, and the competitive energy in the air . I’m usually super nervous at the beginning, my heart beating like crazy on the first few routes. After a few routes, I’m warmed up and start trying harder problems. The atmosphere at competitions is super friendly with climbers encouraging each other and offering sincere congratulations when a route is completed.
On Saturday there were two categories: open and recreational. The open category’s winner was determined in a finals round. The top six climbers from the preliminary round each climbed four new routes and had five minutes to climb each one. The winner was the one who completed the most climbs in the least number of attempts. It’s always fun to watch great climbers on these super hard routes.
I climbed in the recreational category which is a three hour competition where competitors try to climb the hardest problems they can in the least amount of attempts. A climber’s top six scores are added up at the end and the climber with the most points wins. We have a lot of strong women climbers at our gym and I didn’t end up winning the competition on Saturday, but I had a great time. I climbed hard, gave it my best, and was happy with my results. This is the last competition for the season – hopefully we’ll be climbing outside in a few weeks!
If you haven’t tried indoor rock climbing yet, I’d recommend it!