On March 4th, Planet Granite Belmont hosted the Friction Series, which is a roped climbing competition designed to bring out the Bay Area’s climbers for an evening full of climbing, great music, and food.  This would be my first climbing competition, so I was definitely looking forward to the night’s events.  The energy and enthusiasm of not only the climbers, but the spectators as well, was definitely a sight to be seen.  It was an event that definitely brought together the climbing community.  

This competition was the biggest turn out so far at the Belmont location, bringing in members from San Francisco and Sunnyvale’s locations.   I have never seen the gym so packed with people from all backgrounds of climbing; kids to adults and newbies to veterans.  The eruption of applause when Mike Kerzhner completed the pink 5.13a was priceless.  Everyone on the floor was cheering him on just waiting for him to finish that final move.  Alex Plotnikoff, one of Planet Granite’s youngest climbers, blew away the competition in the Women’s Advanced category.  

Mike Kerzhner crushing one of the Open routes.

Alex Plotnikoff, age 8, who won our Advanced level comp!

A great aspect of competitions is that the routes don’t have grades.  It introduces a new challenge to a lot of climbers, who can find themselves psyched out before tying in because of the difficulty of the route.  The best part is, that without these grades, climbers feel more inclined to attempt climbs they would’ve never tried before.  I personally could not wait to try some of the routes and then find out what the grades were.    

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photo by Andrew Batman – psyche was high!

Overall, this competition was a great success.  I was thrilled to be part of such a  fun community based event that brings together people of all types and levels of climbing.   Planet Granite was sponsored by companies such as Patagonia, Evolv, La Sportiva, and more.  The night was filled with great prizes to raffle as well as a FREE Friction Series t-shirt, pizza, and beer.  Planet Granite Sunnyvale is looking forward to hosting the last competition and Onsight Series Finals on Friday, April 8th.  See you there!
Lizzy Trower showing us how it’s done.

Check out more photos of the event by Michael Sevy here.
Check out your score here.

Kelly is PG Belmont’s Youth Programs Coordinator – be sure to stop by and say, “hi!” next time you’re climbing or working out.