Sunday, February 15, 2009


Yesterday was qualifiers.

[note: for nonclimbers, i apologize for using any climbing lingo. I get so used to the language that i do not notice and forget to explain. To start off, a "problem" is a "climb." If i say something that you are confused about, just ask. =)]

There were 4 problems. 4 minutes to attempt each problem. Each hold you controlled was worth a certain amount of points. You could attempt the problem as many times as you wanted within the 4 minutes. After the 4 minutes of climbing, there was a 4 minute break before the next problem.

Before the climbing, everyone is held in a room called isolation so that we will not be able to see the climbs beforehand. Everyone warms up and gets ready in iso. Well, I was the last one in my category to go, so i was in there a while!

I went out to climb and immediately got shut down. On the first problem, there was a hidden hold that I did not see until my last attempt... and by that time, i was tired. Even when i was reaching for the hold, I couldnt get my fingers on it. It was a really long move!!! I got mid-way.

I did much better on the second one. The first part was pretty hard and I almost fell on that part everytime (but i managed to get through) and then a HUGE move to a big green hold. I stuck the green one and reached out really far to a blue crimp and fell. There was only one hold after the blue crimp. I was pretty close!

The third one was more my style, but still had a really long move near the top that I fell on both of my attempts.

The fourth one was ridiculous. A full on dyno... (a dyno is basically a HUUUGE jump to a hold... hands and feet both come completely off the wall) Needless to say, I did not get this huge move.

Overall, the problems all had extremely long moves. If you know me as a climber, you will know that I am pretty good at finding my own way through long moves, but since this was nationals, they also did not supply many footholds, so it was hard to find new beta. I honestly did my best for what they gave me. But these problems were anti-my style.

I got 16th place. 16th in the nation.

This is the first year i didnt make finals. BUT you know what? I'm almost GLAD. I'm glad for a few reasons:

1. I am always happy for humbling experiences. Perhaps my ego needed a rest. One reason why I climb is because there is always going to be rock that humbles me. Not even the best climbers in the world can do everything.

2. This really inspired and motivated me to train harder.

3. I GET TO CLIMB OUTSIDE TODAY! Since I am not going to finals (which is in an INDOOR GYM, by the way!) I get to climb OUTSIDE. I have never had the opportunity to climb outside in Boulder, CO, because I usually make finals. Climbing outside is the only reason i climb inside. I climb indoors to train to climb outside. Climbing outside is the real deal...

This experience made me re-ask myself why i climb. Do i climb to win? NO. I climb in competitions because they are FUN and i like challenging myself. This is a real challenge and I am happy that it happened this way. You cant win all the time, right!?

NOT TO MENTION, i moved up a division this year. I am the youngest in my age category. I am not trying to make excuses, but I feel like next year will be much better since I will be more used to this category.

Thank you to everyone who supported me. I really appreciate it.

I am sorry if i let you down.

I had really high expectations but I just wasn't aware of the style of climbing here. I had so much fun though, and I will have even more fun CLIMBING OUTSIDE TODAY!

ALso, i went to the Open (adult) finals yesterday and even the best of the best (who i've never seen fall) were falling all over the place on their climbs! It just goes to show that the route-setters this year were not messing around!!! They made some ridiculously hard climbs!!!

Okay, well i'm off to go climb outside.

here are some pics from qualifiers:
this is nicole, another raw vegan climber!!! super cool and 80/10/10


Daniel Brayack said...

Who cares Ash - as long as you did your best - besides - isn't that MORE motivation to get stronger and climb harder?

Personally - I cannot identify with you...on comps - because I can't stand comps - I don't think climbing it trying to be better than other people - which inherent with comps (regardless of what people say)

I hope you have a SICK day of bouldering outside - tell us all about it yeah?

Daniel Brayack said...

Oh and 16th is still pretty darned good....

Universal Rhythm said...

I agree, I'm not a huge fan of comps. Actually they make me physically sick. (Well iso comps do anyway)You should go to RMNP if you're in Boulder, it's only like an hour away and is AWESOME for bouldering.

Omegachuck said...

Wow Ash! Didn't know you moved up a divison this year. but great job on 16th!!....either way it seems just wicked that routesetters make it so tough. Somehow I get the feeling none of them even try their problems!
(do you always seem to draw the last group to climb?) Sounds like a good time though. Agree with Anna that you should get out to RMNP, at least to Lumpy Ridge since it's easy access. Got your pad with you out there? Look forward to the photos posted up later this week.

cindy said...

It is great to read your summary and details of the competition, Ashley. I think you have everything to be pleased about at doing your best and also, not as an excuse either, but, being youngest in your category--(and me not in the climbing world at all)--but it sounds like next year will be a very improved year for you.

I'm glad you got to go climb outdoors then. I hung out a lot in Boulder for my craniosacral studies and it is gorgeous!

When I graduated, my fiance took me to the Julien, it was pretty nice!

I'm glad you have more motivation to climb and train stronger now. I am having a hard time getting over the hump after quitting stimulants for working out. Sarah says it is just a matter of time and healing from it ... :-) But enough about me.

Congrats, thanks for being part of my journey. You are awesome Ashley. :-)

Sarah said...

Hey Ashley! 16th in Nation in a new division is still amazing! I'm glad you learned a lot from the experience, and had fun doing it. That's all that matters.

P.S. I left something for you on my blog today ;)

Wendy said...

Hey Ash! 16t in the Nation is AWESOME. I am really proud of you and I can't WAIT to see your pictures! Wendilou ;)

Jessica said...

I think you did great and even more so congrats on the positive outlook on things.

Omegachuck said...

I love the last working out the impatience on the warm up wall, and sitting all alone, the last competitor in isolation on that lonely chair. That has to be the toughest part of comp. In gymnastics, at least the last athlete up to compete is surrounded by team and can watch the events that lead up to her final events. That photo of you on the chair really hits it on the head.

badash said...

it was pretty nerve-racking to be the last competitor.

And the holds were getting greasy by the time it was my turn. =/

next year is going to be THE BEST.

Wendy said...

I think it's funny that the green hold (i don't know what you call them) in the last two photos looks like a big head of lettuce. ;)

You are Amazing, Ash.

Lisa (Pixywinks) said...

Congratulations! It's all very good. And 16th is awesome! I think that green hold looks like lettuce too. Or cabbage maybe.

thinck said...

seeing all the pics again and hearing your comments and your perspective really put a smile on my face tonight!

calaismarie said...

i'm forever learning from you. it's so humbling to ME to watch such a young, fresh lady already so capable of the awareness that draws lessons out of every circumstance - to the point of being unable to call things like this 'good' or 'bad'. those are completely mute, aren't they?