Climb­ing goes in­side Al­bu­querque: where a com­pe­ti­tion is also a fi­esta

The Taos News - - SPORTS - By Sheila Miller For The Taos News

Stone Age Climb­ing Gym hosted its an­nual Yank-N-Yard com­pe­ti­tion Oct. 19 and 20, with par­tic­i­pants of many ages and ex­pe­ri­ence lev­els and a

$6,000 purse for any­one will­ing and able to climb for it.

Boul­der­ing is a form of rock climb­ing that does not in­volve ropes. Boul­der­ing climbs are typ­i­cally more boul­der­like than clif­flike in height and are called “prob­lems,” a re­flec­tion of the fact that fig­ur­ing out how to climb them can be just as hard as ac­tu­ally do­ing it.

The Yank-N-Yard took place in three rounds: the USA Climb­ing Youth Lo­cal Com­pe­ti­tion with 97 climbers, an Adult Cit­i­zens’ Com­pe­ti­tion among

137, and an Open Com­pe­ti­tion (the one with the cash prizes) with 41 par­tic­i­pants. The open qual­i­fier was on Fri­day evening, fol­lowed by the youth and cit­i­zens’ com­pe­ti­tions Satur­day morn­ing and af­ter­noon.

The top five climbers from the open qual­i­fier on Fri­day night were in­vited to on-sight (which means climb­ing with­out prac­tic­ing or prior in­for­ma­tion) four boulder prob­lems Satur­day at 6:30 p.m. be­fore a packed house of hun­dreds of cheer­ing spec­ta­tors. One distinc­tion that sets in­door climb­ing apart from other sports is that the fans cheer for every climber and every at­tempt, even each move. Most climb­ing fans are climbers who know how dif­fi­cult it is.

Climb­ing re­quires power, bal­ance, agility and tremen­dous core strength. Un­like most other ac­tiv­i­ties, climb­ing also de­mands finger strength, the abil­ity to sup­port and move one’s en­tire body weight while cling­ing to tiny or awk­ward holds. All of these traits were on full dis­play Satur­day evening af­ter a com­mu­nity event that in­cluded food, live mu­sic, beer and the cel­e­bra­tion of the cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pants and win­ners. (Those win­ners were Josh Kawane for the men’s di­vi­sion and Alila Allen for the women’s.)

The prob­lem set­ters (the peo­ple who make up the climbs for the ath­letes) cre­ated an en­ter­tain­ing set of eight prob­lems, four men’s and four women’s, that had the com­peti­tors fly­ing through the air (both up and down) and demon­strat­ing their abil­i­ties to bal­ance with their feet on the small­est of cracks and their bod­ies in vir­tu­ally any po­si­tion.

Two climbers at a time, one man and one woman, had four min­utes to puz­zle out and com­plete a prob­lem. The other com­peti­tors were not al­lowed to ob­serve. There were four rounds.

The first men’s prob­lem sent dozens of at­tempts sail­ing through the air though Matt Luntz man­aged to crack the code. The prob­lem re­quired not only one dyno (a move where the climber must loose con­tact with the wall com­pletely and jump up­ward to a new hold) but a dou­ble dyno. Luntz had to do it twice, how­ever, as the fi­nal move was also tricky. He stuck it the sec­ond time he reached it and was the only one to solve the prob­lem. Luntz con­tin­ued his streak, com­plet­ing every prob­lem and win­ning the men’s Open Com­pe­ti­tion.

The win­ner on the women’s side was Abi­gail Cza­jkowski, who demon­strated over­all strength, power, con­trol and men­tal prow­ess in every round.

The gym plans to host an­other Yank-N-Yard as part of next year’s Prime8 South­west­ern Climb­ing Fes­ti­val.

Jeremiah Cur­tis

A climber seems to defy grav­ity as he uses the tini­est of body sur­faces to grasp the makeshift boul­der­ing wall at the 2018 Yank-n-Yard com­pe­ti­tion in Al­bu­querque Oct. 19-20. The in­door com­pe­ti­tion at­tracted sev­eral high-level “prob­lem” solvers from the re­gion, vy­ing for sub­stan­tial prize money.

Kerr Adams

Climb­ing fi­nal­ist, Matt Fultz eyes his op­tions dur­ing one of his as­cents at the Yank-n-Yard com­pe­ti­tion in Al­bu­querque Oct. 20.

Kerr Adams

Ari­zona climber Jocelyn Mor­ris plays it up with the ap­pre­cia­tive crowd at the Yank-n-Yard Oct. 20. Many climbers at the event re­ceived cheers from all the spec­ta­tors in at­ten­dance—giv­ing them a needed boost to con­tinue their re­spec­tive climbs.

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