Monday, February 6, 2012

Boulderpalooza 2012

By Aubrey Wingo

On January 7th of 2012, climbers from around the state of Florida swarmed Gainesville Rock Gym for their annual Boulderpalooza bouldering competition. Among these climbers, the best of the Team Aiguille boulderers as well as many other Aiguille members dominated the population to tackle their steep roof climbing, long traverses, and top out bouldering; something that Aiguille folks do not get to experience as often. After talking with a few of these Aiguille climbers, I got the feeling that this was the most impressive Boulderpalooza yet!

Starting at 10:00am sharp, boulderers scoured over their scorecards, trying to find out which area they wanted to start in: upstairs, downstairs, the tunnel, the top out boulder, the lead area, where?! Parents and friends followed in tow, willing to give everyone a helpful spot and judges stood by directing traffic to provide fairness all around. Routesetters Andrew Wolfe, Ivan Vargas, Giuseppe Marchionno, and Casey King had their work cut out for them as the best of the best travel to come to Boulderpalooza every year.

When I talked to three time Advanced Women’s competitor Jessica Jenkins, she reported the routes “were more different, more unique this each wall,” giving props to the routesetters for their creativity. Eight time Open Competitor David Eisenstadt also agreed that the routes “were amazing, really well set” and compared to other Boulderpaloozas, “there were definitely quality routes and they definitely put a lot of effort into the comp”, and enjoyed that it was “less crowded”. The winner of Men’s Open, Ben Hoberg who has attended the competition “multiple times” said that “the problems were probably the best they’ve ever been...the hard ones, at least, there were like four that I couldn’t do.”

Once the competition was over, everyone waited for the scores to be tallied while cheering for their friends in a very impressive crate stacking competition (8 crates, incredible!) Like every year, the big pull for Boulderpalooza 2012 was the amazing sponsorship from La Sportiva, Bluewater, Petzl, Evolve, Friksn and more. Competitors even had the option of demoing a pair of La Sportiva shoes thanks to Steve Baker! Every competitor that placed in the top three walked away with enough swag to go on a climbing trip at that very moment, and going into the raffle is certainly even more chaotic... Shirts, chalk, coozies flying across the gym with tons of competitors diving to get a piece, constant groans of pain with one excited winner every time a new number is called, the mood was so tense!

All competitors were treated like royalty, being served tons of food, great music from Grooveshark where they could even request the songs they need to pump them up, and even free massages to everyone! If you have not attended Boulderpalooza before, its about time for you to experience one of the best boulder competitions in the South. Sad to say, I was not of these competitors this year but only a supporter, spotter, and photographer but from personal experience, I can say that this competition is a blast! A big thanks to Ken at Gainesville Rock Gym for always putting on a great show and we at Aiguille hope that our members will join me and others to check it out this year!

Be sure to check out my photos from Boulderpalooza 2012 on Aiguille Rock Climbing Center’s Facebook Page and see even more of what you might have missed, check out this video!
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