10th place at The Unified Bouldering Championships Pro Tour (UBC) Seattle

This weekend I competed at the Unified Bouldering Championships in Seattle. A great opportunity to experience a new state and compete within a field of strong climbers like Alex Johnson, Angie Payne and Nina Williams. It was a crazy stressful morning to get there. After only 45 minutes of sleep, because of a late-night ending birthday party for Pascal and a very early departing plane, we literally raced to Denver to catch our plane. Missed it… Fortunately they gave us a new ticket for the next flight, so a little bit later than expected we arrived in Seattle. A few hours later Tiffany arrived, a great climber with who we hung out this weekend.

We arrived on Thursday, which gave us the chance to discover Seattle. First stop was the Music Project Museum. That place is great, a must go when you visit this town. It’s a very interactive place, where you can immerse yourself in the history of music and film. You can enjoy a concert of Jimmy Hendrix while browsing through the original written lyrics of some of his songs. After that you can play the piano, guitar or the big percussion board. Finish it off with an awesome AC/DC-like picture of yourself, like Tiffany did:

When we got kicked out of the museum, we went to the Athlete’s Reception at Stone Gardens in Bellevue. We got a super nice Adidas soft-shell in my favorite color, got our picture taken and enjoyed seeing this nice gym with routes defined by holds of the same color instead of tags. After a great beer and pizza (I was the only one who was completely happy with it, probably because of my cold whereby I couldn’t smell/taste well, haha) we went to our hotel. Pfew, best thing in the world to fall down on your bed after a night without sleep.

Tiffany and I went into the isolation together. She had to climb an hour before me, so I relaxed while watching everybody warm-up. We got the big bouldering space, with all kinds of walls to warm-up on. That was very nice. I had to start as one of the last in a field of 25 competitors. The first problem looked a lot harder then it really was. I took my time and flashed it.
The second problem looked really nice and easier then the first. It turned out that it was one of the hardest. I couldn’t figure out how to do the second move and kept loosing my tension.
The third problem was long with big slopy holds. It started with a really cool round volume for your feet, followed by a dynamic move to a pincher. I managed to get to the last hold of this problem, but unfortunately couldn’t do the last move to the finish hold. After this problem I was super pumped, like I never was before in a comp.
The fourth problem was in a dihedral and looked really cool. I screwed up my first try because a hold was way too chalked up. After I brushed it really well, I climbed the whole problem. I’m convinced that I could have flashed this one too.
The fifth and last problem was probably one of the easiest, together with the first one. I was climbing like an idiot however. Lack of tension, technique and endurance. If I look back at the videos that Pascal took (see below) I feel ashamed. But yeah, it was enough to make it to the semi-finals so I was super, super happy!

Me in the third qualification problem
Hungry after qualifiers!!! 

The scoring system was different then I’m used to, by the way. There are no bonus holds, but every hold counts. A distinction is made between tops, points (of the holds), flashes, attempts to top and attempts to highest point. The fun thing about that is that every effort counts. I got a lot of points for my attempt to top in number three. Most people fell at hold number five, I came to hold number thirteen and the other people topped it.

I did better in the semi-finals, however it felt like I wasn’t because I couldn’t top any of the four problems. The first one was a slab. I’m pretty okay with slab climbing, but at one point (the second to last hold) I didn’t know what to do. It was a great problem.
The second problem was funny. Two pockets on a volume, whereby you can turn around to get the second one. When I climbed the problem, I noticed that you didn’t have to cut feet, so that made it a bit easier than I expected and more fun. A move from an undercling to a small crimp, was the part that I couldn’t do. Bummer, because I’m pretty good in crimps normally and the rest of the problem looked awesome.
The third problem was really funny. It went around a round corner and required a lot of of side-tension. Dynamic start to a sloper pinch, balance, small crimp around the corner, more balance followed by an awkward jump which I couldn’t do. Should have tried harder though 🙂 Focus point for the future.
The fourth and last problem was super aesthetic with black, big volumes. It started with a big move to the left, heelhook in order to match, big move to painful small hold of which you needed to lock-off to get to another big round volume.

Me in the first problem of the semi-finals
Tiffany in the third problem of the semi-finals

We could follow the results live on the screen and started to wonder if the judges gave  me enough points. I counted the holds of every boulder with the head-judge and we came to a total of 28 holds instead of 26. This was a difference between 13th and 10th place (and price money). Fortunately Pascal filmed me in every problem. It turned out that the judges missed the fact that I touched a hold in problem number three and the last problem. I felt like a whiner, but in the end I’m glad that I made work out of this because I’m super happy with my 10th place on this comp! This scoring system has advantages and disadvantages. In the semi-finals the number of holds were really important for the results. There were two girls without any top that made it into finals. Only four girls managed to top a problem in the semi’s. It was hard but very well and varied set! I enjoyed climbing in this competition a lot!!!!

Waiting for the last problem of the semi-finals 

After the semi-finals we went to the movie Dredd and enjoyed the warm jacuzzi of the hotel. Then it was time to watch the finals and that was an awesome show!! The problems for both men and women were super technical and great to watch. It made the finalists think and work hard. Great setting. After two super exciting hours, the UBC Pro Tour Champions were Alex Johnson and Josh Larson! Congrats!!

The guys of LT11 always make awesome videos and so they did of this comp. Here it is:

2012 SBC PRO HIGHLIGHTS from UBC Pro Tour on Vimeo.

I combined all my climbs in a video. It shows every problem in the qualifiers and semi-finals. For myself it’s a huge motivation to watch, because I see the mistakes that I have to work on in the future.

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