Ready, Set, Wall



Daniel Woods
Photo by Devin Balet

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Imagine an artificial boulder the size of a gigantic mushroom parked in the middle of Vail village, Colorado. Now, imagine a team of climbers ranging from 12 to 24 years old gathered in record high temperatures to challenge each other for a $16,000 overall purse. 

Starting Thursday, May 31, with routesetting and last-minute touch-ups, and continuing through Friday with an open practice session, the Teva Mountain Games 2006 climaxed on Saturday, June 3, with the difficulty bouldering comp. A tie between Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson required a super-final round to resolve the win, while in the women’s comp a neck-to-neck battle between Alex Puccio and Angie Payne was resolved with the victory of the 16-year-old Puccio from Texas. 

The excitement continued on Sunday, June 4, when Mike Auldridge’s one-hand Superman and stylish 360 freestyle dynos kept the teeming all-age crowd entertained despite the steaming temperatures. Not to mention the unexpected victory of 17-year-old Chicago native Kasia Pietras in the women’s dyno comp. The afternoon ended in style, with Alex Puccio nabbing her second victory, in the speed climbing comp, and an unexpected defeat of last year’s speed-climbing champion, Ethan Pringle, by Robby D., who, despite technical difficulties in the semifinals, brought home a tidy sum of $1,000.  

Here are some behind the scene interviews with a few of the athletes.

 

Teva Mountain Games Mushroom Boulder, Vail Colorado.
Photo by Devin Balet

 



Photo by Cody Blair

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Daniel Woods
Age: 16
From: Longmont, Colorado. 

What is it like to compete with your best friend (Paul Robinson)?
It made the super-final more fun. I’d rather compete against him than anyone else. It was fun to share Beta with him before we had to jump on the problem. He is a good friend — too bad he lives in Jersey, but he is moving here to go to CU, so it would be even more fun to be able to climb with him more than once a month, as we do now. 

Were you worried about getting injured before your bouldering trip to South Africa?
A little — that is why I tried to be more cautious doing the problems and also I decided not to do the dyno comp. 

Why didn’t Dave Graham compete?
He usually doesn’t like competing, plus he hurt his finger and he hasn’t climbed for three weeks. I think he should compete; he would do so well. 

Looks like lots of people here are your age. Why do you think older folks, such as Dave Graham, Chris Sharma, Tim Doyle, Tim Kemple, and Jason Kehl didn’t show up?
I have never met Tim Doyle or Tim Kemple. I know Jason is in Japan, Chris is climbing in Europe, and Dave is actually here. He was at the Everest Awards last night.

It would be fun to compete against these great climbers. I hope they show up someday. 

 



Photo by Cody Blair

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Angie Payne
Age: 21
From: Cincinnati, Ohio 

Indoor/outdoor climber?
I was more of an indoor climber, but I like to think of myself as more of an outdoor climber now. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
Slow and static. Not like this stuff at all. My style does not fit well with speed climbing. 

Who is someone in the women’s climbing scene that is doing it for you?
Alex Puccio motivated me a lot this weekend to try harder. 

What have you been doing in the past three months?
I was on a road trip all over the USA: Hueco, Joe’s Valley, and Squamish, bouldering with my boyfriend (Jamie Emerson). 

Any worthy ascents you wanted to share?
I impressed myself by doing Loaded with Power (V10) at Hueco much faster then I thought. 

Who are your sponsors?
Mad Rock and prAna 

What do you do to cross-train?
Animal Strength and run once or twice a week. Climb mainly, both indoors and outdoors. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
Climbing mainly with guys, and training with Jamie, my boyfriend.  

 



Photo by Devin Balet

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Alex Puccio
Age: 16
From: Dallas, Texas 

Indoor/outdoor climber?
More of an indoor climber, because I don’t get out much in Texas, but I usually go to Hueco in the fall. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
Very powerful, dynamic: burly moves, with lots of cutting-loose feet. 

Who is someone in the women’s climbing scene that is doing it for you?
Angie Payne challenged me a lot this weekend to push myself. She is such a fun person. 

What have you been doing in the past three months?
Won the ABS, finished school, having fun rock climbing indoors, getting ready for the summer to climb outdoors. I do not have so many friends outside of climbing, so I hang out mainly with climbers. 

Any worthy ascents you wanted to share?
Some V9s at Hueco last season at Christmas, but have a huge page of problems ranging from V7 to V11 that I am planning to do this year. 

Who are your sponsors?
Evolv and Sterling ropes. 

What do you do to cross-train?
Run twice a week, climb indoors where I do hard boulder problems repeats and campusing. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
A climber from Team Texas, Ryan Rodden, the strongest boulderer in our region. I train with him because there aren’t so many girls who climb in Texas. I am very self-motivated, but he pushes me in training.

 



Photo by Cody Blair

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Nick Sherman
Age: 18
From: Originally from Colombia, now lives in Orlando, Florida. 

Indoor/outdoor climber?
I am more of an indoor climber, because I live in Florida. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
Very powerful; dynamic, not endurance at all, and no dynos. 

Did you train for this comp?
Yes, I started four weeks ago, just indoor climbing. 

Who is someone in the men’s climbing scene that is doing it for you?
Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson, because they are my same age, so they motivate me to push harder. 

What have you been doing in the past three months?
Finishing high school, working at my climbing gym as a routesetter, climbing. 

Any worthy ascents you wanted to share?
When I have a chance to go outside I mainly try to climb everything I can in the time I have. I don’t care about the difficulties; I just want to get as much in as possible. No latest ascents. 

Who are you sponsors?
Tecnic and Mad Rock. 

What do you do to cross-train?
Mainly condition training: push-ups, pull-ups. I do this almost more then climbing. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
A climber from Orlando, Ryan Lauth, 20 years old, who is actually my climbing partner. 

[Note from Cookie (Mark Hobson), a friend of Sherman’s: He doesn’t even eat cheese for the fat it contains; he really wants to be a good climber so he pays attention to his diet.]

 



Photo by Devin Balet

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Kasia Pietras
Age: 17
From: Chicago, Illinois

Indoor/outdoor climber?
I am more of an outdoor climber; climbing inside motivates me to climb outside. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
Dynamic, yet trying to use technique. 

Did you train for this comp?
Not really. It was a last-minute decision. 

Who is someone in the women’s-climbing scene that is doing it for you?
Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson; I know them, so I can relate to them well. 

What have you been doing in the past three months?
I have been going to the New River Gorge, West Virginia, every weekend to climb outdoors, and spent the rest of the days climbing indoors. 

Any worthy ascents you wanted to share?
I have sent five 5.12 routes at the New River Gorge, West Virginia. Last weekend I did Skin Boat (5.13a) at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky, with only one fall, so I am excited to try it again next weekend. 

Who are you sponsors?
Statik Mountain. 

What do you do to cross-train?
Push-ups, sit-ups, and running. I climb with my team, the “Wall Phrogs,” three times a week. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
Ben Brown, a kid from my climbing team who is a little taller than me. It is fun to climb with him because of our body-type differences. 

 



Photo by Devin Balet

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Robert D’anastasio
Age: 22
From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Indoor/outdoor climber?
I like to think of myself as more of an outdoor climber. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
Short, powerful moves, no dynos. 

Did you train for this comp?
Yes, I have started three weeks ago. 

Who is someone in the men’s climbing scene that is doing it for you?
I would say Daniel Woods is impressive for his ability at such young age. 

What have you been doing in the past three months?
Finishing up architectural engineering at CU. 

Any worthy ascents you wanted to share?
Park Waters (V12) at Clear Creek Canyon, the Buttermilker (V12) in Bishop during spring break. 

Who are you sponsors?
Revolution and Mad Rock. 

What do you do to cross-train?
I like to play basketball. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
Johnny Goicoechea. 

 



Photo by Devin Balet

Teva Mountain Games: Vail, Colorado, 2006

Nate Gold
Age: 24
From: Stanford, Connecticut

Indoor/outdoor climber?
I am more of a tree climber. 

How would you describe your style of climbing?
The monkey style

Did you train for this comp?
Yes, lots of drinking. 

Who is someone in the men’s climbing scene that is doing it for you?
I can tell you who in the women’s scene is doing it for me (laughs). In the men’s scene, I guess animals, especially monkeys.  

What have you been doing in the past 3 months?
Training horses. 

Any worthy ascent you wanted to share?
A 60-foot tree with no limbs, in West Virginia. 

What do you do to cross train?
Ride horses, Animal Strength, yoga. 

Who makes you a better climber to climb with?
Watching monkeys and climbing with Chris Sharma, although that pisses me off at times too.

 



Comments

Leave a Comment