Monday, August 6, 2012

Heat Wave Summer Party Recap

Slip n' Slide provided by Inflatable Bouncer Rentals
By Aubrey Wingo

Every summer, we are constantly fighting the heat wave of sunny, flat Florida. So what can you do to beat the heat and fight the height? You throw a party! On July 28th, Aiguille introduced the Summer Heat Wave Party to the facility, offering all brand new lead routes, top rope and boulder routes on the wave and the diamond, a luge racing-style slip and slide, contests, smoothies from the Lyman Climbing Club, a massage therapist, BBQ and more! Most importantly, we featured our first Used Gear Sale, where items in “extended stay” lost and found are put out for sale and all profits made are directly donated to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition.

The stripping of the walls began late Wednesday night; all the wonderful brand new holds we saved for our 2012 SCS Competition got to come down and experience a new position in the gym.  Head Setter Mark Mercer and fellow gym setters Aubrey Wingo, Doug Lutz, and Alex Velandia would take the bulk of the load in routesetting. With the roped walls however, the casual nature of the Heat Wave would give other employees, and guests, new opportunities to get to show their creativity and set as well. In past years, the summer event would usually end up being a bouldering competition amongst other fun activities, but Mercer and crew decided that this event should be dedicated to our customers, our members, and our friends, boulderings and leaders alike. Over twenty routes were set of all difficulties and different styles, with half of these lead routes. The bouldering walls of the Wave and the Diamond bursted with color once again, setting in the monochromatic fashion, with a much wider and newly cleaned array of hold choices. Davis Stewart’s Yellow on the Wave and Mark’s Orange on the Diamond seemed to generate the most traffic; both completely different routes but requiring technical finesse and crucial footwork, making these boulderers think intensely about what beta to use. All in all, we hope that our customers and members know how much we appreciate them and that these routes are all dedicated to you.

When approaching the gym, customers and members alike certainly got a head-turner as giant palm trees and rainbows shined over the side of the building. In actuality, this vision of happiness was in the form of a slip and slide provided by Inflatable Bouncer Rentals. Adults and kids of all ages changed into their suits to launch themselves under the rainbows and down the slippery slide to a mini pool as fast as they could. The best part came thanks to the slide’s two lanes, allowing users to race their friends!  Some of our members certainly became creative towards the end of the day, imagining the most unique ways to make it down the slip and slide... (and let me tell you, it wasn’t the kids!). The slip and slide was a huge success, and a perfect way to stay cool between climbs and in the hot sun.

During Aiguille’s Heat Wave, we hosted three contests throughout the day: a Cornhole Tournament, Water Balloon Toss, and Hula Hoop Contest.  And up for grabs in these contests?  A free embroidered Aiguille Trucker Hat! Cornhole, which is often called tailgate toss in football season, produced some strong competitors and we certainly took the rules seriously. Team names included Weak Employees, The Beets, and our winners Tall Order, with teammates Jess Jenkins, and dark horse 9 year old Parker Page, who shock and destroyed the competition with his consistent toss technique. The Water Balloon Toss, which started a bit unorganized due to the huge (but totally awesome!) amount of people participating. The staff, including yours truly, were worried that the balloons would never pop as some would drop and bounce around without breaking, almost mockingly. Eventually the teams were narrowed down and in a double knockout round, Tyler Ryan and Sean-Michael Smyth would be victorious, proudly displaying the winning balloon for all to see.  Finally, our Hula Hoop contest would prove who out of the bunch would have the best core strength, and stamina in their legs. There were two heats of “hoopers”, each and every person having their own techniques on keeping the hula going and the hoop at the waist. Our contestants were so good that the staff had to throw a few wrenches into the system, like making them close their eyes, stand on one foot, turn around and circles, etc. Eventually new member and frequent summer camper, Sophia Dietrich and long time member Nadine Karaze would win their heats and go head to head in a double hoop hula-off. Nadine would prove victorious but both her and Sophia would be rocking the new trucker hat style!

While brand new hats were being worn about, much of the day’s attention would go to the Used Gear Sale dedicated to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (or SCC). Climbing shoes as low as $15 in various different condition were cleaned to look new and looked for new climbers to own them. This was a great opportunity for young kids who have outgrown their shoes, or a poor college student just needing something instead of their blown out disasters. All chalk bags were taken on a very eventful trip to the laundromat (it’s very hard to explain the purpose of chalk bags to a laundromat customer) to bring back their color and quality to almost new. We also had a silent auction for two particular chalk bags: one handmade and one of a kind, and another from VooDoo, a retired company and thus, a rare find. Customers also had the opportunity to name their price on water bottles and sunglasses, all towards the SCC. After Saturday, we have still sold some gear here and there for those who couldn’t make it, and right now, Aiguille has raised about $900 for the Southeastern Climbers Coalition. That is phenomenal and it’s all thanks to you, not only our customers, but our Aiguille family. We will keep the sale open until later in August as we hope to reach $1000 before we send out their donation.

With a BBQ, contests, and climbing to keep all customers busy and having fun, the laid back atmosphere and friendly competition of Aiguille’s Heat Wave Party made it a perfect event. A big thanks goes our to setters for working long hours into the night: Mark Mercer, Aubrey Wingo, Doug Lutz, Alex Velandia, Dean Pflaumer, Davis Stewart, Harry Higbie, Tina Manner, and Meagan Martin. Thanks to Justin Steakley and Dean for doing a majority of our stripping and to Josh Jimenez, Kreg Dobzinski, and Tara Ziegler for getting soggy and pressure washing those holds.  Thanks to Inflatable Bouncer Rentals for the slip and slide and to Katy Tusing with Park Avenue Massage and Boutique for the great 10 minutes massage sessions. Thanks to the Lyman Rock Climbing Club for making our customers awesome smoothies and to Lauren Day for grilling us all those amazing burgers all day!  Thanks to Justin for making our amazing new Aiguille cornhole boards.  Thanks to our sponsors, Mountain Khaki, Clif Bar, Arizona, Rock Candy Holds, Vision Climbing, Motavation Volumes, Joshua Tree, and more for always supporting gyms and its members with awesome prizes.

And finally, THANK YOU CUSTOMERS! Because of you, Aiguille is in business and we are in the business to provide fun, education, and an overall great experience, whether you are there for a day or training for your 8a send. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being you and we hope that you all had a great time and continue to enjoy the new routes.

And mark your calendars, Aiguille’s 4th Annual Dead Hang Party and Competition will be on October 26th for more fun!
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