2009 24 HHH – A Recap of World's Best Endurace Climbing Competion

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500 rowdy climbers gettin

2009’s fourth annual 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell brought many new and exciting variables to the table. Ample rain, Tommy Caldwell, mucho loud screaming and the best event to ever grace the walls of Arkansas’ Horseshoe Canyon Ranch was eventually how it all turned out.

In the weeks leading up to the comp, rain had pounded the Ranch in droves leaving the majority of the routes wet, even 2-3 days before go time. As they say, the show would still go on, however the danger factor would be amplified to epic proportions. But by Thursday morning as climbers had already begun to funnel into the canyon the sun poked its head out and started its work. By Friday, 24HHH promised to be a dry affair and energy was buzzing in the steep sandstone faces. That afternoon over 300 climbers, volunteers and spectators funneled into the canyon. 4 pm kicked off the Ranch’s pasta dinner, followed up by the fourth annual slackline comp and the newly added speleo box time trials. By 8 pm Big Smith was on stage outside jamming it to a packed natural amphitheater of people wildly dancing like it was last on their bucket list. Pimpin’ and Crimpin’ polished the evening off in the barn loft with a late night party that brought forth the true meaning of Whiskey Wednesday (on a Friday).

Climber at the Far East during 24HHH. Photo by Lucas Marshall / www.lucasmarshall.com
Far East, 24HHH. Photo by Lucas Marshall / www.lucasmarshall.com

Saturday morning brought the traditional climber meeting, competitor costumes, role call, and climber creed read by Jer Collins. At 10 am the shotgun fired and all 230 rock rats spread across the canyon to claim their first spots and settle into the 24 hour grind that was to come. As the sun blazed throughout the day, climbers varied their strategies to chase shade and avoid waiting on high traffic routes. Night fell on the ranch during the 7:30 hour, and at 8 pm electric deafening screams rang acoustically through the canyon as over 400 voices yelled in unison. Goose bumps rose to the skin, energy was renewed, and tempo’s picked back up.

Every hour, on the hour, even into the light of morning, these unity yells across the canyon brought a sense of community, camaraderie, and reborn fire to climbers. Many climbers stayed strong moving fast all through the night, only stopping for food and water. Other’s stayed steady, making sure they climbed that one route each hour for the bonus points and horseshoe trophy awarded. Some couldn’t cut it and turned in their score cards early, crashing into their tents thirsting for the sleep coma to ensue. As the sun rose over the eastern walls of the canyon, new found psyche found it’s way to fingers, arms and minds. The last push was on to break records, route totals, point totals, and personal bests. At 10 am the shotgun sounded, ending one of the most difficult endurance events in the nation. 24HHH competitors turned in their scorecards, breathed a sigh of relief, and headed to the barn for the awards presentation.

Team Nineteen-fingered-two-headed-beast-of-the-rockalypse; Tommy Caldwell and Jer Collins. Photo by Lucas Marshall / www.lucasmarshall.com

24HHH had over 500 people slammed into Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in the form of 230 competitors, over 60 volunteers, and spectators. Camaraderie was high. Competition was fierce.

  • Tommy Caldwell climbed 123 routes including: (30) 5.12’s, (36) 5.11’s and (2) 5.13’s, and won the individual division by a stunning 10,000 points.

  • He and Jer Collins (Team Nineteen-fingered-two-headed-beast-of-the-rockalypse) won the team division with a combined 222 routes, and Jer placed second in the individual division.

  • 60 year old 24HHH veteran Dick Dower and Natalie Neal (Team Leather and Lace) wrapped up the team intermediate division, with both finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in the individual intermediate category.

  • The female category was deep with talent and Brittany Griffith, Kate Rutherford, and Natalie Neal brought in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall.

  • 12 climbers logged over 100 routes each, and 134 endured the full 24 Hours, gaining the traditional “horseshoe” award.

The true winners were those who pushed through the hurt and accomplished goals to be proud of. For full results visit: http://twofourhell.com/Results.html

TwoFourHell.com 2010 commences on Sept 24-26, 2010. Registration opens August 3 at 9 am and will be full within 24 hours. Mark your calendar. Start sandpapering your fingertips.

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