Mix sick bouldering skills and positive vibes, add a little competitiveness, food, and beer, blend thoroughly with the welcoming atmosphere of Planet Granite Belmont: throw it ALL in the frying pan and you have the 3rd annual Bloc Party. This was the second round in our three-part bouldering competition, and it certainly exceeded expectations. At first, the night started off quietly, but there was an underlying energy powering people to climb at their best. Soon, as locals began to meet other climbers representing both our San Francisco and Sunnyvale locations, and welcoming members from other Bay Area climbing gyms, the mood became less about competing against one another and more about camaraderie. Focusing less on personal performance and more on encouraging fellow competitors, people of all levels combined knowledge, shared technique, and cheered each other on.
All levels of skill – from people who have recently been introduced to climbing to old vets – were present. There were even some groms, representing Planet Granite Team, holding their own against the adult competitors. One mother was very pleased to watch her son enjoying the competition and cohesion between climbers, stating “I love to see him push himself like this”. The energy level progressed as the night went on, but a very mellow attitude seemed to keep smiles on everyone’s faces. Even those who were struggling to complete problems on the on the 7th and 8th attempts seemed to be able to laugh through the frustration and feed off the encouragement of friends and strangers alike.
However, it was a competition, and many people were there to send. Incredible feats of athleticism were displayed as people pushed hard to achieve new personal bests. There were cheers all around for those who succeeded, and spectators shared in the disappointment of defeat for those who didn’t. In all three of the women’s divisions and in the men’s advanced division, the winners were undisputed. But, in men’s recreational and open divisions, ties were broken by a hang off. Three athletes from rec. and two from open locked off one handed on jugs under the overhang in the lower bouldering area. They held on as long as they could, and the last man hanging determined the winner.
As climbers relaxed and began plowing through the pizza, appetizers and beer, we moved on to the dyno comp where competitors donated a dollar to the San Bruno Fire Relief Fund for a chance to launch themselves to the highest holds they could manage to reach. This recharged the atmosphere as everyone moved to the center chamber to watch as contenders soared through the air to seemingly impossible heights. As the night came to a close, winners got the first picks of the prizes on the table. Then raffle numbers were called off for the remaining prizes, and we showered the crowed with stickers, posters, chalk samples, and other promotional giveaways. Everyone was laughing and smiling as they began to filter out of the gym and into the streets. In all, the night was full of solidarity, community involvement, and a lighthearted competitiveness.
First off I need to give love to route setters and the staff at Belmont for organizing and executing this event flawlessly. Also, BIG UPS to our sponsors – Redwood Trading Post, Teavanna, REI, Metolius, Evolv, La Sportiva, Blue Water, Rock & Ice Magazine, Black Diamond, Red Chili, Wild Country, Petzl, and Prana – who continue to provide support and prizes at all of our events. Lastly, thanks to all of the competitors, their guests, and everyone else in attendance that got down on the vibe and made the night a success for us at Planet Granite.
OH YEAH, AND…
Lauren Grey – 1st Place Recreational
Alyse Dietel – 1st Place Advanced
Lisa Tang – 1st Place Open
Alexander Vo – 1st Place Recreational
Aaron Dawson – 1st Place Advanced
Brett Ashton – 1st Place Open
RESULTS SO FAR…
The top five overall men’s and women’s competitors will be invited to showcase their skills once again at the Bloc Party Series Finals taking place at our Sunnyvale gym on November 19th. You know I – Garrett – will be there taking a shot at the crown and mixing it up with the locals. I hope to see you there too, but until then, stay sticking to the wall like funk on rock shoes!
|Top 10 Men’s Overall Score from the PG SF and BL Comps|
|4||Antonio Aljer||A. Gro||35,220|
|Top 10 Women’s Overall Scores from the PG SF and BL Comps|
Garrett is an outdoor enthusiast. When not working at Planet Granite SF, he can be found enjoying a variety of adventure sports.