Climbing in age: As Eagle Climbing + Health turns three, gymnasium helps to usher in subsequent evolution of USA Climbing

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Participants and spectators gather on Saturday at Eagle Climbing + Fitness for a USA climbing event. The gym is celebrating its third anniversary this week.
Monkeyhouse Carbondale / Courtesy photo

EAGLE – Eagle County climbers have been using the 8,500 square meter indoor area at Eagle Climbing + Fitness for three years.

The Chambers Avenue store celebrated its third anniversary on Saturday by doing what it does best – hosting a huge climbing event.

Approximately 160 participants from across Colorado and New Mexico visited Eagle on Saturday to take part in the USA Climbing Event, the first regional bouldering qualification event of the season.

For the past three years, Eagle Climbing + Fitness has hosted high school, college, championship and regular U.S. climbing events and has shown that it does one of the jobs it set out to do to create another competitive climbing venue to Travel to reduce loads for western slope climbing clubs.

The climbing events in the USA have also developed significantly during this time. With climbing now an Olympic sport, participation and standards at local events have increased, said Larry Moore of Eagle Climbing + Fitness.

The gym employs Ben Rathbun, a Level 2 US Climbing route setter who often acts as the head route setter at events. The jury evaluates the event live from electronic telephones or tablets. USA Climbing sends ambassadors such as regional coordinators and representatives of the rules committee to regional climbing competitions. International evaluation standards are now also used.

The USA Climbing competition at Eagle Climbing + Fitness on Saturday was the first bouldering event of the season for most of the regional participants.
Monkeyhouse Carbondale / Courtesy photo

In Olympic or World Cup climbing events, competitors are scored in both a zone grip – an area in the middle of the ascent where control is established – and a target grip at the end of the ascent.

Locals have long been familiar with the international system, as the Vail Valley Foundation’s annual summer mountain games have often hosted a bouldering world cup in the past. In recent years, due to COVID-19 precautions, the World Cup-level competitions have not taken place in the large formats of the mountain games.

USA Climbing has since switched to the international point system for regional competitions such as the Saturday at Eagle Climbing + Fitness.

“The USA climbing competitions used to be all or nothing, you get points when you get to the top, but you don’t get points for anything else… but we saw the international format with the zone where you get points can Because at the World Cup that we held in Vail for 12 years, ”said Moore. “And now the zone format is being introduced even at the qualification level for the youth competitors.”

Moore said the momentum was shifting in that direction even before sport climbing became part of the Olympics for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“In the run-up to the Olympics, it got more and more popular, we had more and more athletes wanting to go to the regional championships, and that made these events really big and made it harder to accommodate the climbers,” said Moore.

USA climbing contestants hit the walls in the first bouldering competition of the season on Saturday.
Monkeyhouse Carbondale / Courtesy photo

Not competitive format either

Moore said the Saturday event was the 45th USA Climbing competition he has hosted in his career and the first to use the zone format and have USA Climbing representatives on hand.

“It was nice,” said Moore on Saturday. “I used to be the one who had to enforce all the rules, so it was a relief to be able to refer people directly to a USA Climbing representative to answer questions.”

Events can be a little more intimidating than they used to be, which is why it’s nice that there is a high school option for kids as well, Moore said.

Colorado Rocky Mountain School coach Dave Meyer describes the American Scholastic Climbing League as something that isn’t about winning kids or getting them to the Olympics.

“The focus is on bringing all children who are climbers together in a really positive, supportive and networked atmosphere,” said Meyer. “Because if it’s all about the individual and defeating people, you can do that with USA Climbing.”

Eagle Climbing + Fitness is hosting high school, college, and USA climbing championship events and plans to begin hosting adult city series events.
Monkeyhouse Carbondale / Courtesy photo

City series is coming soon

Moore said with the high school and U.S. climbing options for kids at Eagle Climbing + Fitness, the gym currently lacks just one option for adult recreational climbers looking to test their skills in a competitive setting.

“That’s next,” said Moore. “We are working on getting weekly series of events such as kayak or mountain bike competitions going.”

In the meantime, Eagle Climbing + Fitness is celebrating its third anniversary with a special offer for customers that runs until November 9th. Those interested in joining the gym can skip the $ 75 admission fee if they sign up on Wednesday or earlier, Moore said. Anyone who purchases a month or longer membership during the anniversary celebration will be entered into a prize draw for a free one-month membership.

“The website says see through Sunday, but we’ve extended it to November 10th, which is our real anniversary,” said Moore.