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The Winter State Games of Oklahoma 2017

This was supposed to be “the most chill comp I will ever attend.” This past January I participated in the first Winter State Games of Oklahoma at Climb UP gym in Norman. This was also my first climbing competition. I didn’t know what to expect walking into the gym that day. I’ve never been to a climbing competition before so this was new for me. It felt like the first time I stepped into the gym.

I saw several people looking at the problems and figuring out the beta. My eyes grew wide. I’ve never seen that many people in the gym before. The only thing I thought to do was walk around and see what was set.

Before the event began, the competitors were given the instructions and rules for the games. Here is where I first learned about the redpoint format.

Redpoint Format

How this is conducted is, climbers choose which problems she/he wants to do in whatever order and grade within the allotted time given. We were given three hours to climb.

Each problem had a certain number of points assigned to it. Grades weren’t given the problems. The easiest problems had the lowest point value. The higher the points, the harder the problem is.

If a climber sent the problem, the points allotted are awarded. If the climber couldn’t finish for whatever reason, she/he could have what is called attempts at it. Climbers could have as many tries as she/he wanted on a problem. Attempts were considered only if there is a tie. Whoever had the least number of attempts on a problem would get the points.

Climbers were only allowed to touch the starting hold on problems beforehand. Spectators were prohibited to give beta while the climber worked the problem. But they could after the climber was off it.

At the end of the problem, one or two holds were taped to indicate the finish. If there was one stripe, the climber needed one hand on the hold and stay steady. If there was two, the climber matched on the hold for it to count.

Volunteers would watch the climbers indicate and prove if she/he did it by marking on the climber’s scorecard. (Now looking back at this, compared what I experienced at Threshold, I really appreciate having them.) There seemed to be enough to do so.

After the announcements were done, we were free to climb.

Go Climb!

Attempting an intermediate problem at the Winter State Games.

During the comp, the mood was upbeat and supportive. Not just chill. I would get caught up in cheering people on when I wasn’t climbing.

I climbed the easier problems first to get them out of the way. As I moved to the harder ones, I made attempts. Some I sent and some I didn’t.

However, I did fall from two of the high-ball problems. Luckily, they were after I sent them. Thankfully, I didn’t hurt myself as bad as I did at Threshold. Those falls might be the reason why I'm skittish about climbing the comp wall.

And the Winners Are…

Winning 1st place in women recreational.

After the event ended, the scorecards were turned in and the points were counted for placement. The awards were given to whoever had the most points in each category. There were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for recreational (beginner), intermediate, advanced, and masters (older climbers). I signed up for recreational.

When they reached women’s recreational, the announcer said my name for the 1st place. Wait, what?? I got first place! Holy shit! This was awesome!

Here’s the thing though, my name was the only one in women’s recreational. It was surprising. I thought there would be more signed up in that category. I guess not.

My husband I were curious to see where I was compared to the men’s rec and women’s intermediate. Afterward, I asked one of the judges if I could see the final scores for those two categories. She said sure and showed them to me. I would have been 2nd against the guys and close to 3rd in women’s intermediate. That made me feel good.

Looking Back

Overall, I thought my performance at my first comp was good. It for sure was a learning experience. Especially since I went in without knowing anything about climbing comps. Even with getting hurt, I had fun. I wasn’t expecting to place and I got first. I admit I wasn’t sure if I should have been happy or disappointed that no other women were in the recreational category.

After competing in the winter games, participating in more comps was something I wanted to do. Which brings me to the summer games which are a little under two weeks away. I’m looking forward to it and I hope my experience is as positive as I had at this one. Until next time, happy bouldering!