On Saturday, March 27th, approximately two hundred people arrived bright and early to get checked in and ready for Chattanoogas first indoor sport climbing competition. By 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Urban Rocks Gym filled with activity of at least six different climbing teams. Out of 77 competitors, some were already tied in getting ready for their first climb of the day, while the climbing teams warmed up with synchronized jumping jacks and a pep talk to get psyched about the competition awaiting them.
With a packed house and adrenaline levels running high, it was an exciting afternoon for anyone in the gym. Parents, grandparents, friends, and fellow climbers lined the gym floor, the mezzanine, and any other available spot to watch the next generation of competitive climbers pull down hard, take big falls, and make some epic sends.
Competitors came from all over the Southeast, even as far as Wisconsin, to show what they are made of against some of the best youth climbers in the region. Despite the seriousness of the competition, if it were not for the scorecards in hand, spectators would have been hardpressed to tell that each climber was competing against the other. Competitors from different teams came together by the common goal of conquering the climb.
It is exciting to see these climbers, although competing against each other, help each other out as competitors strive to climb their five hardest climbs, explains Urban Rocks manager Jonathan Berry. To a new competitor, this event may seem a bit nerve-racking with cheering spectators, falling competitors, and the intimidating overhanging rock walls, but despite the intense atmosphere, once that climber is cheered to the top of the wall for the first time and is returned to the ground elated, any apprehension dissipates.
This SCS Locals competition was sponsored by USA Climbing (USAC), the national governing body of competitive climbing in the United States. Climbers compete in local comps across the region for a chance to compete in Regionals, Divisionals, and the grand finale Nationals. Five months of planning went into this event and a special thank you goes out to Emily Taylor, her secondhand man, Paul Mailman, and all the generous volunteers that donated their time to the competition.
Other people that helped make this competition a great event are our local sponsors: Rock Creek, Greenlife, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sweet Peppers Deli, Lupis Pizza, Good Dog, Ghengis Grill, Stone Cup, and our climbing sponsors: The North Face, Prana, Climb On!, La Sportiva, Clif Bar, Native Eyewear, E-grips, Urban Climber, and Climbing Magazine.
To see full competition results, check out usaclimbing.org.