Andrea on the Womens Onsight Series Final with the crowd below
The author, Andrea, high on the Onsight Series Final Womens Route with the crowd cheering wildly below.

This past Friday, I got to compete in the Planet Granite Friction Series Route Competition at PG Sunnyvale and, honestly, it is was probably the most fun PG event I have been to so far. I have been competing in higher level competitions for many years, but the Friction series competition brought me right back to my first competition ever: a small “home competition” at the climbing wall in the school gym in Hungary, where I started climbing. That comp was for members only,  and the entrance fee was a bar of chocolate.  There was only one route that each climber got one chance to try, and the final ranking determined the order in which you chose one of the entrance fee chocolate bars.  While the prizes in the Friction Series were a little bigger, the point is the same: bring together the local community of climbers in a setting where they can push each other and encourage each other while doing what we all love to do – climb!

Keith on Open #12
Keith on Open #12

Upon arriving at the event, I went straight to the Open Routes to sequence the climbs.  Open Routes #9-11 seemed not too bad, but Open #12 looked HARD. After warming up on some boulder problems, my friend Keith and I jumped on the routes. I quickly got through Open Routes #9-11 and then went to belay Josh Levin on the night’s first attempt on Open #12. He fell, which didn’t make me any more optimistic about it’s difficulty.

Andrea setting up for the hard move on Open #12 Josh almost sticking the second box on Open #12
Andrea checking out the ‘horrible slopey hold’ – Josh almost sticking the crimp on Open #12. He sent it 2nd go.

I jumped on, felt kind of shaky, but made it to the point where he had fallen: a bouldery section with a huge move to horrible slopey hold, then a cross through. I grabbed the slopey hold, freaked out because it was even worse than I had imagined, and ended up falling.  Josh, Mike, Brett and I each took turns on the route. We cheered each other up as high as possible, but Josh was the only one successfully able to finish. 

Finals competitor Lizzy with on the Open Series Final with the crowd cheering
Lizzy on the Womens Onsight Series Final with the crowd below. Photo by Blase Iuliano.

Next came the Onsight Series Finals. It was cool to see that the route setters had put up some really creative lines for the finals – routes that made transitions from one part of the wall to another. It was also great to see everyone gathered to watch and cheer for us competing in the Finals. All of the climbers put on a great show, and I won $150 in cash, even better! Overall, it was awesome to see all the PG climbers unite for such an awesome event.

Scores from the event are posted here:

Photos from the event can be found on our Facebook Page here:

Andrea and Head Setter Moses
Andrea and Head Setter Moses Potter.  Photo by Ivan Cua

Andrea Szekely can be found training at PG almost every day, often making the hour drive at 6am to PG SF to climb on different terrain.  She is offering a Redpoint Clinic at both PG Sunnyvale and SF for those interested in learning her secrets to climbing 5.14.