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Highballin' – The Spot Gym Goes Off for Highball Comp

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Vanessa Compton scopes out a problem. Click here to see more photos by Ryan Nadlonek from the competition.
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Matt Wilder, at the second place highpoint, just before falling off the final problem.

The Highball – Comp #3 of 2009 The Spot Bouldering Series – Season IV 

The Spot Bouldering Gym in Boulder, Colorado, knows how to throw a good party. Their equation is this: take beautiful women and pair them with strong men, feed them free food and beer, give them a DJ, and throw them at some balls hard boulder problems. Plus, each competition has its own theme; they’ve featured paintball, sumo wrestling, and martial arts demonstrations in the past and for this event, they ran a slackline 20-feet in the air and tied in some of the area’s most balanced men and women for toproped highline highjinx.

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John Beau yoga-asanas his way to the prize money.

The high-line event, which took place January 24 2009, was a best-trick competition, with each slacker receiving three minutes to show their skills. Highlights included Greg Kalfa’s ballsy backflip attempt and Josh Beau, looking as at home on the webbing as anyone else did on the ground (especially during his side-plank and other yoga-inspired moves).

The climbing finals featured the top six men and women from the three-hour qualifying round. They each had their turn working the final problem. The men’s problem started deep in a cave with some very difficult underclings and squeezes heading to a sloper-covered face. The women’s problem began with a sit-start and forced the women to climb nearly to the top before making a downward-angled traverse and some power moves back to the top.

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Keita Mogaki of Japan showing the Americans how to be light.
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Robin Maslowski easily slaying the women

The women’s final may have been the highlight of the event, with each finalist progressively high-pointing until both Chaunciena Cox and Robin Maslowski flashed the problem, forcing a duel. They re-climbed a problem both had sent in the qualifiers, making it a test of endurance. Cox tapped out after almost topping out, while Maslowski sent in two tries for a well-earned and exciting win.

We chatted briefly with Maslowski after the final:

Congratulations. Did you train? No…just climbing.

What do you think the grade of the final problem was? I have no clue about V-grades. I’m mostly a sport climber.

What are your thoughts on the final? Spicy! It kept me awake.

Why do you climb? Where do I start?! Too many reasons. Good people and it keeps me sane.

As climbers, often we want to be out in nature…and away from other people, so these competitions are a nice opportunity for members of the community to connect. Special thanks to The Spot and to event sponsors Trango, Evolv, and the Slackline Brothers.

Click here to see more photos by Ryan Nadlonek from the competition.