Bouldering competition for ages 6 and up in Gypsum on Saturday |

Bouldering competition for ages 6 and up in Gypsum on Saturday

Derek Franz
Eagle Valley Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Anyone 6 or older is invited to crank plastic at Gypsum Recreation Center’s bouldering competition Saturday.

The entry fee is $10, and competitors will be split into two divisions: ages 6-15 and 16-and-older. Prizes will be given out to the top three in each division, and an overall winner will also be determined.

Ages 6-15 compete at 10:30 a.m. while the 16-and-up division competes at 1 p.m. Competitors must be registered and signed in at least 30 minutes before their divisions’ starting times. Late arrivals will be disqualified.

“Bouldering” generally tests a rock climber’s power and technical skill. Such a route is usually low to the ground and only a few moves long, though each move is relatively difficult.

The judging process for competitive climbing has become much more refined through the years. So much so that climbing is currently being considered for a summer Olympic event in 2020.

The format of Gypsum’s bouldering competition will be much the same as anywhere else. The wall will be “fresh” when the competitors arrive – all the routes will be new, never seen before. Each competitor will have an hour to complete as many routes as he or she can. Points will be awarded according to each route’s difficulty and how many tries it takes a climber to do that particular route.

A judge will sign off for each route a climber completes. One climber might only do a few routes that are very difficult, while another might not do the hardest routes but succeed on a large number of easier ones. Either climber could win.

Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District’s Casey Shilling is the competition’s main organizer. He’s run, or helped run, climbing comps since about 2004 – several in Leadville, at the Colorado Mountain College Timberline Campus, and a few back in Pennsylvania.

As of press time, only a few people were signed up for Saturday’s comp.

“I’m hoping we have a bigger turnout,” Shilling said. “This is a benefit for the Youth Climbing Club, so having more people show up would be nice.”

He said the rec district is trying to get enough prizes so that every attendee can bring something home, but it’s hard with no idea how many people are going to come. Some of the prizes already lined up are donations from local businesses and rec center passes.

As far as future Gypsum Rec bouldering competitions, Shilling hasn’t been able to think that far ahead. However, he certainly plans on having another competition later this year. First, he’s got to see how this one goes.

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