UDC & Psychedelia

It's been a while. That's all I've got to say about that. 

I've been getting my outdoor climb on recently. This is quite the change from previous years, when I was essentially a gym rat. Not that being a gym rat is a problem, but it's not as much fun as going outdoors. Not nearly as much fun. Of course it helps that I now have a rope (+the other equipment) and a Boulder Canyon guidebook. 

Looking down from the Second Anchor on Hunky Monkey (5.11a/b), Lost Angle Wall,Upper Dream Canyon
One of my new favorite locations is Upper Dream Canyon. Although it's a little off the beaten path (it requires a 15+ minute walk), and a bit of a longer drive, it's simply amazing. In addition to the spectacular sport climbing there (trad racks are expensive...I don't even know where to start), every time u take a breath and look around, you see massive cliffs surrounded by pine trees speckled with yellow aspens, with a creek providing a soothing symphony of rolling water. Throw in the fact that your 100+ feet off the ground, with 100 more to go, and the skies are gradually changing from deep blue to pinkish-orange...and well, you can't ask for much more.
Looking up from the second anchor on Autumn (5.11a/b), Lost Angel Wall, Upper Dream Canyon 
What I can complain about, is Psychedelia. What everyone raved about going into the comp (climbing speak for Competition), was that it was like no other competition you've been too--essentially a rave with a climbing focus. The backdrop: a black-lit climbing gym with fluorescent and neon tape artwork of skeletons, cities, waves, pacman-games, bugs, and various designs mixed with glowing hand-holds.

With something this spectacular (and it was spectacular: I spent the first 20 minutes just walking around the gym in awe), you're going to draw crowds. Which they did. In record numbers. This makes climbing hard. It means that you get on the wall once every 15 minutes.

This lead to issue #1: no warm-up. It's tough when you have to wait 15 minutes to climb. Not warming up, as I've discovered in the past, is a great way to destroy yourself. Which, naturally, is issue #2: injury. On the third problem I hopped on, I noticed one of my fingers acting up a bit. When you're hopping on problems which are pushing the limits of what you can climb, having a bum finger is not desirable. Thankfully, by climbing a few easier problems (or problems that didn't aggravate my sore finger), I was able to shake the sensation.

Issue #3: Climbing Poorly. This is my own fault, a result of #2 & #3. Still, when there's an hour to go in the competition and you've barely been on the wall...I can't put all of the blame on myself.

And Issue #4: Not enough food & drink. I paid $25 for the competition. I was expecting: climbing until I couldn't, having some food/beer afterwards, enjoying the post-climb party, being able to watch the pro comp, and enjoying the ambiance. I would have been pretty happy with two out of four.

What I got: less than 20 problems worth of wall time. And half an hour of the pros competing (which was pretty cool). When I finished climbing, I went upstairs for food/beer and was greeted by two folded tables and buckets full of ice.

Not going to pay $25 for that again.

Conclusions: if you're going to see to one Spot Comp, make it Psychedelia. Pay $10 to get in, get all the free food/beer you want, dance to the music/rave atmosphere, watch the fire-dancers, but don't bother climbing. It's worth it.

But if you're going to a Comp to climb, go to another one.


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