Drill guns are a-blazin’, the music volume is pumpin’, and the competitors are lining up behind the turnstile. It’s the final moments before the competition, with a sea of bouldering problems just waiting to be beta-ed and bouldered!
If you missed out on this year’s Bloc Party, you’ll want to read ahead, as this season’s annual bouldering competition shaped up to be one of the best! With show-stopping moves on our most clever and advanced problems, every climber’s attempt left onlookers with heart-pounding anticipation.
There to heighten the mood was Planet Granite San Francisco’s veteran Emcee, Joey Paris. You know, the guy who looks like Tarzan? Ya! With a goal in mind to spread the hype, Joey brought with him a spontaneous and cheerful voice that was infectious to the crowd. All while adding a touch of class with his white, dress shirt, sweet suit pants, and luscious surfer locks. Joey’s constant interaction and encouragement of competitors propagated cheers and comradery throughout the event.
“Come on, dude! You got this!”
“Stick with it! Don’t give up!”
“Seeeick, man!” (‘Sick’ – slang for super cool!)
With great setting comes great problems. Many competitors stepped up to the mat to find themselves in the dark as to the grades of the climbs, but ready for the challenge. Once the challenge worked its way into the rotation of climbers, many favorites were unveiled.
PG Member, Michael Debernard reminisced on his favorite climbs to spectate. “Oh! Number #41 on the prow. That route was insane! There were no feet, only overhang holds. Just completely nuts.” said DeBernard.
“Also #14 was really fun to watch. It must have been a significant grade jump from the other problems around it. I saw many competitors flash #11 nearby, but I don’t think I saw a single person complete 14.”
Also among the favorites, was #36, a slopey route that had competitors slipping off with ease, even if they were able to compete #35 or #37.
But among that shakes, shivers, and slips the hype stayed high and the atmosphere remained positive as the Onsight finales drew near.
Finally, the moment came. Competitors lined up, backs to the walls, and the crowd inched forward as the setters made finishing touches to the brand-new problems. Once the timer clicked on ‘start’, the top 5 men and women brought their A-game in this prove-all showdown. During the first round, the women sent the problem without a sweat, and looked on to the next route.
Shouts from Emcee Joey could be heard through the mic, getting everyone charged up and ready to support the competitors:
“Let’s get Ross up this problem! Come on, everyone!”
Once the second round rolled through, both the men and women found themselves at an even more challenging event. Competitor Margaret Georgevits, who finished 6th in the Women’s Open reflected on those moments:
“Ya know, watching the final routes was really great. Having been a competitor in those problems before, I’ve learned a couple things about the finals. The crowd wants all the competitors to fall in different spots, and only one competitor to make it to the top, and that’s exactly what happened in round 2.” Georgevits explained.
“It was really lovely.”
Round 3 was the most brutal of them all, producing not a single send among the male competitors and only on send from the women. But don’t worry! Winners were still to be announced!
With an intense Onsight Final, the following fantastic competitors took home the cash and the glory:
Women’s Onsight Finals
1. LILA NEAHRING
2. CARINA CLAASEN
3. JENNY KNALL
4. MADISON CLINE
5. KARA HERSON
Men’s Onsight Finals
1. ROSS FULKERSON
2. JOE DIAZ
3. BEN PARKIN
4. CHRIS KOSCIELNY
5. JACOB SCHARFMAN
“Aww, they’re just lucky I wasn’t competing!” joked PG Instructor, Joey Barbito. Watch out competitors, looks like there’s someone looking to call the shots for next time!
Overall, Planet Granite deemed this year’s Bloc Party Finals to be a huge success! So much thought and care went into planning these bouldering problems, and we could not be more appreciative of our setters for a job well done. With the help of a fantastic team and wonderful supportive members, this year’s Bloc Party will be truly unforgettable.
To view more photos, check out our album HERE.
To view scores, click HERE
And thanks to Max Stuart for these awesome shots and Daniel Le for that amazing recap video!!
And of course, without our amazing sponsors, this event would not have been possible: