You probably heard about the Southeastern Climber's Coalition Hospital Boulders Sickness Comp (short for competition) held this past weekend unless you've been living under a rock. Sorry...couldn't resist. It was their 2nd annual bouldering event in Gadsden and I went to check it out.
Upon arrival I found Cody Roney, executive director of SCC. She agreed to walk me through the venue and give me a little background info. SCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving climbing access in the southeast for future generations. They own the Hospital Boulders property and allow folks free access using the instructions on their website.
So here's how it works. There are different climbs, they're referred to as problems, marked with paper on the boulders throughout the field. They range in difficulty from V0 (easiest) all the way up to V17 (shear insanity). There is also a point value and description included.
Competitor's can climb all day and attempt as many problems as they like, as many times as they like. To earn the points, your climb must be witnessed by two other climbers or one judge. You then add up the ten highest point values at the end of the day and turn them in.
So let's talk about the climbs. I saw some amazing athletes that day, and may or may not have met Spider-Man. Seriously, this is crazy cool. The strength, flexibility, and creative problem solving was amazing to witness. The climbers have crash pads under them to break a fall. It didn't look like enough to me, but Cody explained that they also had spotters. The spotters stand with arms raised and will actually push the climber towards the crash pad in the event of a fall.
This year's participation nearly doubled from the 80 climbers who attended last year. As I wandered around I spoke with people from all over the southeast and from as far away as Montreal.
If you're interested in learning more about climbing, the SCC will be at Ascend Weekend at Cherokee Rock Village in April. Make plans to attend and learn more about this sport which takes place all over the Greater Gadsden area and the southeast. You might even want to give it a try! The only equipment necessary is a crash pad, climbing shoes, and a sense of adventure.
We'd love to hear from you. Have you tried bouldering? Post your pics on social media and tag us or use #greatergadsden. You may be featured in an upcoming post. And remember, wherever you live or wherever you are, be a tourist in your own town.