Saturday, July 17, 2010

US Climbing Nationals

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.


Ella climbed in both the technical and speed climbing events, and she had a mixed comp. Thursday's event was the first qualifying round for technical, and she climbed really well until almost the top, when she had what her coach called a "brain fart" and just let go of the wall. She said she got her hands mixed up on the holds and couldn't figure out what to do next. She ended up 27th out of 36 girls.

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.

10 comments:

Murr Brewster said...

Nine? Shouldn't she be in her bedroom watching TV and getting fat? Seriously, that wall looks like a whole lot of fun and a little scary to watch your young 'un on.

yogurt said...

Rock star. I like that pun. And I agree - scary to watch little on here. But it's so great she is this adventurous and likes such an exhilarating sport.

Eternally Distracted said...

She is one tough little cookie... I had no idea they had competitions for this kind of stuff. It's great!

PeaceLoveGuac said...

I'm a little queasy just looking at those photos. Way to go, Ella!

Susan said...

Wow! I wish they had these competitions when my daughter was young. she would have been great at it. That place is amazing and so is Ella!

Becca said...

that's frickin amazing!

the mama bird diaries said...

Not too shabby at all.

And that place looks AWESOME.

Shelly said...

That's just awesome!

Joan said...

You go, Ella! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

he he, now that I'm cruising your blog I had to hunt down the climbing related posts.
John has mentioned on a couple of occasions he'd like a small army of Ellas on the team. She is so strong but more importantly she has a drive and a head for it. I'd like her to rub off on Gretchen a bit. Who, by the way, has been a bit upset that this was not the week she was going home with you guys.
-Kaci