Parkite among winners of The Mine Bouldering Gym’s Winter Competition
The Mine Bouldering Gym hosted its Winter Competition Series finals on Wednesday, where Las Vegas resident Miriam Borgstrom took first in the women’s open and Parkite Doug Ayers took first in the men’s open.
Using an on-site format cribbed from USA Climbing, staff members turned the gym’s most overhung section and its surrounding walls — called the cave — into a five-route arena.
Facing into the cave, the routes were, from left to right, blue, gray, green, yellow, and purple.
The blue route was composed of broad, shallow holds that crept up the face of a bulge in the wall called The Shield. Gray was more of a competition route, embodying the new direction of climbing — more delicate, balancing moves that incorporate elements of parkour, with less of the traditional grunt work of climbing. Then green and yellow routes returned to the classic style, sending its climbers on a power-endurance trek beginning from the back of the cave, out its lip and up to the ceiling.
Lastly, another technical route in purple used smooth holds and volumes.
“It’s always a little different setting for competitions, because we know exactly who is going to be competing,” said Luke Turkington, a manager at The Mine. “We take into account their height, their ability, their strength and all that, so you can really customize the climbs to the competitors, which is cool.”
Setters added holds to the routes to make them appropriate for youth and intermediate climbers, then removed holds to return the routes to their original form for the open divisions.
Competitors in each age division had to climb three assigned routes from the five total that spanned the area.
The youth female division went first, with Lucy Jibson taking first, followed by Kaitlyn Reital and Kendall Kanarowski. David Diamond took first in male youth, followed by Calvin Marsh and Jacob Chamberlain.
In male intermediate, Sebastian Miller, Oliver Barlow and Tex Luedtke finished first, second and third respectively.
The women’s open division had only two competitors — Stella Strader and Borgstrom — but both were very strong. Strader trains with The Front Climbing Club’s sport climbing team, though she favors bouldering, and Borgstrom, the 14-year-old daughter of Las Vegas snowbirds, said she recently climbed her first V10 route when she sent Monkey Trench in Red Rocks, Nevada.
Borgstrom said her favorite climb was the green, overhanging climb springing from the cave.
“The last move, going to the last hold, was really hard,” she said. “I had to tighten my core, and I was kind of shaking, barely touching.”
Borgstrom completed each of the three routes assigned to her division. Strader finished one route and got to the second to last zone of the other two routes.
“All the routes were really cool, and there was great setting today,” Strader said after sifting through her second-place winnings. “I was kind of disappointed on the result of my second one. I grabbed the top hold but I couldn’t match it to save my life. So that was really upsetting, but you do what you can do. You move on to the next problem and crush. I tried purple, and on my last move I used everything I could and matched it so that was rewarding.”
In the men’s open, Reed Chamberlain took third, Akshil Patel took second and Ayers won.
Akshil described the toughest route, the long yellow route extending from the cave, as his favorite.
“If I had just a little more endurance in me, I could have made that move,” he said, referring to a shoot out to a dome above the lip of the cave. “Because all the moves before it were really good. They flowed, really well, which, as long as you sequence it well enough, you’re good to go.”
Flow didn’t mean ease. To get to that point, he had to get through eight severely overhung moves — “They were all at a 60 degree angle,” he said.
“Even though I say it flows, you have to put a lot of tension in behind it.”
Ayers, a Park City resident, finished the season having only left one route unfinished — the final route of the men’s open championships. It was also his favorite of the night.
“It was long; real rock climbing — a long nine, 10 moves out the roof, power endurance,” he said. “I liked it. Didn’t succeed, but I’ll come back again.”
Ayers was first introduced to climbing during a Boy Scout trip in 1990.
“It was the first sport I ever did that I’ve had any success at, and that’s been my passion pretty much ever since,” he said, adding that 28 years later, he still can’t get enough.
He started competing in low-level climbing competitions soon after the Boy Scout trip and entered into elite competitions in the early 2000s.
“Then (I) got married, settled down, had kids and took sort of a breather,” he said. “Now that my son is 12 — he competed today — it’s something he and I can do together and mom climbs when she has time.”
Ayers plans on competing in an outdoor summer series in Jackson, Wyoming, where he recently moved from.
The Mine’s summer series will begin in June.
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