The Road Ahead.... Divisionals in January

I could not be more excited and elated to announce that I will be adding another big check mark on my routesetting resume with my first ABS Divisionals at The Front in Salt Lake City!

To me, The Front is synonymous with PCA, or the Professional Climbers Association, and some of the first competition climbing that I had ever seen.  I started climbing in 2006 and when I started working at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center the next summer, I would watch PCA on VHS tape on a busted VCR where it would discolor and warp, but was still enthralled with watching what I thought was the good ole days of comps when everyone hit the top and screamed like apes and were forced to make deadpoints to the smallest of screw ones.  I didn't even have setting on my mind at this point, and now going back, you respect the classics... you get psyched to see old Teknik white bottomed Fat Pinches and when Egrips most used sloper was Ty's Big One.  Even a young Sharma next to Obe, before owning a gym was even an inkling of an idea.

Now, with a beautiful new bouldering cave, I find myself staring at images and videos of The Front's walls, trying to begin to envision what possibilities might form.

Front Climbing Club SLC's New Bouldering Cave from Grit Visual on Vimeo.

But to be honest, I'm pretty terrified as much as I am psyched.

What is there to be "afraid" of?  I mean it's not the type of fear that keeps me from doing something dangerous but its the type of fear that resides mostly in doubt.  Last summer, I was fortunate to be able to fill a spot at the SCS Southeast Divisionals in Miami.  I loved what I produced but was slapped in the face with how much improvement I needed.  I had never set on a roof, never aid climbed on slings, hadn't set a 13b in my life.  I spent day after day balancing back and forth between pride in my accomplishment to frustration in my inadequacies.  As much as I felt appearence-wise I had held it together, I still had Molly Beard, and fellow Florida setters Corey, Ray and Aaron to put my shit back in place if I was wrong. In the end,  I didn't have as many tweaks as I thought I would have.

I still look back today and even as I type this, I flinch for a moment.  Why do you want to do this?  I want to set for National and International level competitions.  I want to teach clinics.  I want to spread my passion for this as far as possible.  What do you need to do?  How can you improve?  I need to be stronger.  I'm stronger than I was before.  Much stronger.  But I want to be stronger than that.  I can be stronger than right now.

What do you have to offer this routesetting team?   With the path that routesetting is taking, this "modern day routesetting", this is where I am rallying for creativity.  Back in Florida, I was inspired daily by Mark Mercer, one not very vocal in the internet scene, but always lurking through the forums and competition videos for the next spark and awesome competition videos.  It would almost interrupt the day to day gym management position I had along with routesetting, poking his head through the office door, saying, "Come look at this."  Mark is active within USAC and like me now (trying), always finding new ways to move the climber.  Now, I can only bombard him with texts in requests of much needed advice.  Setting life at the Boulder Rock Club is great, but with a much different clientele less interesting in the competition world and more focused on training for the outside sends.  Styles are less dynamic, dramatic, complex, but not bad.  Just... less inspired for creating the show that competitions tend to create.  The Spot has been a nice change of scenery recently, and focused a bit more of what I'm trying to accomplish.

I felt this way back in June 2013, and I feel the same now.  But I know how it turned out, and I'm going to turn it out this time.  By doing what I know, and doing it well.  I was taught youth competition setting, and I love setting bouldering more than ropes.  This is everything that I have been waiting for and I know I'll have an amazing crew behind me.  You won't see inadequacies on my face and nothing is going to stop me from setting these kids some badass boulder problems.

Maybe these doubts... are simply just my sick, twisted, self-destructive motivation for greatness.

I guess we will see!

Thanks for the read, everyone.

One more awesome video of this venue:

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