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Photo Gallery: USA Climbing 2018 Bouldering Nationals

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23 Photos From 2018 Bouldering Nationals

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Nathaniel Coleman pulls through the two-finger pockets of M4. The finale of his clutch performance, Coleman was the only competitor to flash this problem.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Alex Puccio looks long and hard at the 15 point hold on W4. She and Margo Hayes were the only competitors to establish themselves on that hold. Nobody topped the problem.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Zach Galla waits his turn on M4. The 17-year-old climber surprised many by making it to Finals in his first Open Nationals.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Ashima Shiraishi competed despite a shoulder injury. Pictured here on Semi-Finals W4, she seemed to do just fine with a little tape and a lot of grit.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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The crowd cheers a great performance in Finals.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Meagan Martin shares some beta with Brooke Raboutou during route preview. Climbers have two minutes to view each problem, after which they will not see the problem again until they make their attempt.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Matt Fultz, Nathaniel Coleman, and Zach Galla collaborate on beta during Route Preview. Such teamwork is common at comps, and competitors can often be heard cheering on their rivals.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Meagan Martin and Nathaniel Coleman entertaining the crowd. Men and women climbed simultaneously during Finals, and each climber got 4 minutes for each problem. Competitors tackled one problem at a time, with each climber attempting each problem in sequence. Men climb M1 and Women climb W1 simultaneously, then men climb M2 and women climb W2 simultaneously, and so on.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Claire Buhrfeind makes the grab on W1. Claire and Alex Puccio were the only women to top this problem, made more difficult by the slick white surfaces on the large volumes.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Nathaniel Coleman makes it look easy, most of the time. Coleman was the only competitor to flash M1, but three others topped it on their second attempts.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Brooke Raboutou navigating the delicate footwork required on W2. The Star Destroyer shaped volume was dotted with chips, making it difficult to grab and requiring precise foot placement.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Sean Bailey wasn’t the only competitor to fall spectacularly on M2. While all competitors eventually topped the problem, Nathaniel Coleman was the only one to flash it.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Sean Bailey recovered quickly, however, flashing M3. Matt Fultz and Nathaniel Coleman matched his effort, making problem 3 the most flashed men’s problem.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Ashima Shiraishi was the only woman to flash W3, and Brooke Raboutou was the only other woman to top it.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Brooke Raboutou falling big on W4. She was in good company. All struggled with the overhang, and Alex Puccio and Margo Hayes were the only competitors to establish on the first big sloper after the roof.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Zach Galla leaping for the finish on M4. Unfortunately he couldn’t land this dyno, ending an impressive run at his first Open Nationals.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Most successful comp climbers develop a pre-climb routine that they practice before each and every problem. With her back to the wall and face to the crowd, Ashima Shiraishi ensures that her shoes are tied just right.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Multi-day competitions are tough on the tips! Margo Hayes and Claire Buhrfeind attend to their fingers between problems in Finals.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Nathaniel Coleman exhales and shakes out before beginning his Finals run.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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If you’re going to do well at Nationals, you’d better get used to cameras following your every move. Here Nathaniel Coleman sequences Semi-Finals M4.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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The youth movement continues across both categories. Drew Ruana, climbing here in Semi-Finals, is only 18. Two of the male finalists and four of the female finalists are still teenagers.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Alex Puccio acknowledges the crowd after topping W2. Alex often turns to the crowd for energy, perhaps one of her secrets to longevity. This was her eleventh USAC Open Bouldering National Championship.

Photo: Andrea Laue

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Nathaniel Coleman celebrates after topping M3. Coleman flashed all four Finals problems on his way to winning his third consecutive USAC Open Bouldering National Championship.

Photo: Andrea Laue

Alex Puccio confirmed her dynasty and Nathaniel Coleman perhaps started his own on Saturday night in downtown Salt Lake City. A large crowd gathered at the Salt Palace and thousands more watched online as 12 competitors, 6 of each gender, competed in Finals for the title of USA Climbing Open Bouldering National Champion. The culmination of the National Cup Series, the weekend of competition also offered a look at several potential 2020 Olympians.

Following strong showings in the National Cup series, Matt Fultz and Carlo Traversi entered Finals in first and sixth place respectively. Drew Ruana and Zach Galla, both teenagers, made their first appearances in Open Finals. Just missing the podium in 2017, Sean Bailey returned to Finals in 2018, and defending champion Nathaniel Coleman lurked in fifth place entering the round.

The women’s Finals field was stacked. Margo Hayes, recently famous for becoming the first woman to climb 5.15, entered in sixth place. Ashima Shiraishi and Brooke Raboutou, World Champion and Pan American Champion respectively, were just starting school when Alex Puccio won her first national championship. Reigning Junior World Champion Claire Buhrfeind and Meagan Martin of American Ninja fame rounded out the field.

Nathaniel Coleman flashed all four problems on his way to the title, but that doesn’t mean the competition wasn’t close. In the end, the podium finishers on the men’s side were separated by attempts, with Sean Bailey taking 4 more attempts than Coleman. On the women’s side, Ashima Shiraishi or Brooke Raboutou could have stolen the crown from Puccio with a top on the final problem. In the end, both defending champions stood atop the podium again.

Results

Women’s Open Bouldering National Championship

  1. Alex Puccio
  2. Ashima Shiraishi
  3. Brooke Raboutou
  4. Claire Buhrfeind
  5. Margo Hayes
  6. Meagan Martin

Men’s Open Bouldering National Championship

  1. Nathaniel Coleman
  2. Sean Bailey
  3. Drew Ruana
  4. Matt Fultz
  5. Zach Galla
  6. Carlo Traversi

Women’s Bouldering National Cup Series Podium

  1. Alex Puccio
  2. Brooke Raboutou
  3. Kyra Condie

Men’s Bouldering National Cup Series Podium

  1. Nathaniel Coleman
  2. Carlo Traversi
  3. Matt Fultz

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