On May 13th, 47 of Planet Granite’s climbing team headed over to Berkeley Ironworks for the Sport and Speed Regional Championships and they did great! Of our 47 climbers, 28 qualified to climb at Divisionals in June! After that, we expect a good number to be going on to Nationals in July! To top it off, Planet Granite won the Sport Team Championship AND the Speed Team Championship! Check out our results on USA Climbing’s website here!

To get some insight on the comp, we talked with Justin Cubbage, Head Coach of Sunnyvale, and Tim, a Sunnyvale coach and competitor who placed first in the Male Junior category!

Tim on the wall. Photos courtesy of @andrealaue |

Turns out, climbing competitions determine who is the best climber by illuminating not only who has physically prepared themselves but who have come mentally prepared for the challenges ahead of them.

Justin: I was really impressed with how a lot of our newer climbers did once they were on the wall. You can tell they were nervous at the start, when they were on the ground, but once their feet left the ground, they climbed as though it was another day at practice.

Tim: Yeah – we’ve done a good job of drilling that into them. It can really play with your head if you can’t do the first one. The more experienced climbers, the ones of us who have been to comps before, we know better but for newer climbers, it can be tough. You could really see how well they did though. One of them got really pumped after the first route but was able to push through and got 4th place in a difficult category. I talked to him after and he said he was sure he wouldn’t be able to make it while he was up there!

Justin: There are two parts of the endurance training we undergo in practice – how to not get pumped and how to push through once you are.

Luckily, on most comps it seems the first route is usually fairly easy for the climbers– some routes are as easy as 5.9 but that is not always the case.

Tim: The first routes at regionals tend to always be gimmes, kind of like an extension of your warm up. The first ones never seem to have falls – maybe one or two when your feet slip but usually they are MAX 5.11a climbs. This comp? In my category, HALF of the juniors didn’t top the first. This one was more like a C going into a D.

It was cool though, and surprising. Two of the women’s categories even had a dyno, which was the first I had seen in a sport comp at this level; I’ve never even dynoed in a sport comp.

The setting style was very bouldery too. Well, it was extreme in the style that it was set. So normally, you have some variation where it does some technical and some power but this one, if it was techy, it was all techy. And if it was bouldery, it was all bouldery.

We had a lot of new climbers at the comp as well. “In iso [isolation – where the climbers go before they climb so they do not see beta on the route], we had a section with competitors from all of our gyms. There were a lot of younger competitors – lots of Rock Monkeys from Belmont and San Francisco especially. Not just comp team kids” said Justin.

Another fun aspect of this year’s regional comps – super routes! A few of the categories were tied for first so they had to do tie breaker routes. For the Male Youth A category, that included altering a previous route to make it even more difficult. For Female Youth C, the super route was from a different category. But Ross and Gwynnie grabbed first in the end by making it to the top of their super routes the fastest and getting first place in their categories!

One last fun fact about sport climbing comps: In bouldering comps, you warm up in iso by bouldering. In sport climbing, you also warm up by bouldering. This can prove to be challenging, since you are preparing on a 10-15 foot wall to compete on a 60-70 foot wall.


Photos courtesy of @andrealaue |