Part of the reason we went to Atlanta, other than to visit my parents and have fun with airport security, was so that Ella could compete in US Climbing Nationals, which were held at Stone Summit Gym in Atlanta. This gym is brand-new, and it is amazing. Ella and I walked in the first morning and our jaws dropped simultaneously. Below is just part of the main climbing wall - it continues on to both the left and the right. The walls top out at 50 feet - almost five stories. If you click to embiggen the picture, you can see that there are seven climbers going at the same time.
Friday, however, she climbed like a rock star. This is just one of the two overhangs she conquered without problem. She fell three holds before the top, but it was still an incredible climb. She moved from 27th to 8th place, which qualified her for semi-finals on Saturday.
Saturday didn't go so well. She fell right after I took the above picture. The reach from the foothold on the right to the one on the left was too far for her. Shorter climbers than Ella had managed to get across by swinging over, but they all paused to work out the solution. Ella just went for it instead. Sigh.
This is the second time Ella's climbed at summer nationals, and the amount of improvement she's made since last year is just amazing. I can't wait to see what next year holds. At the rate she's going, she may actually make finals. But the most important part is that she has fun doing it.
Her overall results were 16th out of 36 in technical and 13th out of 36 in speed. Not too shabby for a 9-year-old.