Bouldering Competition Brings Rocky Challenges to LaHaye Student Union
- Rock climbers of all skill levels could compete in the LaHaye Student Union’s Golden Boulder competition.
- Community and food brings some students to the competition, even if they are not huge rock climbers.
Liberty’s Recreation Center hosted its bouldering competition Nov. 10, titled “The Golden Boulder.”
Over a period of about a week, the rock wall management team at LaHaye completely reset the rock wall to build a series of bouldering problems.
Each of these challenges consisted of specifically designed problems that were set on each wall. Each wall was composed of different-colored grips that climbers could choose from. Those who fell were cushioned by protective padding added to the base of each wall.
The different walls arranged with problems varying in difficulty from left to right. Some of the walls were very complex structures that sometimes required climbers to maneuver upside down in order to reach the top.
“We set a little over 40-something boulder problems within a three-day span of time,” Joey Saunders one of the managers of the rock wall said. “Normally we only reset one wall a week when we rotate, so the whole thing gets switched out every two months. It’s definitely a pretty big undertaking.”
Liberty sophomore Rachel Bernards tried her hand at climbing each of the walls using beginner-level problems.
“Basically, there are different levels you can climb at — beginner, intermediate and expert,” Bernards said. “For each level, there are several different problems. You write down the number of times that you do each problem and you try to do each of the problems for the category you pick. I chose the green grips on each wall. I did the light green on wall two. That one was tricky because I actually had to climb between two walls, and it involved a lot of changing balance to maneuver around.”
For each level of difficulty, a wall may have one or more different colored problems for a climber to choose from. Part of the bouldering challenge involved only using grips of the same color as the first grip you use to get to the top of the wall.
“Each wall has every level of difficulty, so you can choose to do either the easiest or the hardest on each wall,” Bernards said. “On wall two, there were two beginner-level problems, and even on wall eight there is a beginner-level. Beginner level refers to the difficulties v.0 to v.3. The levels go all the way up to v.10. These ones offer barely any hold and are only for experienced climbers.”
First place winner in advanced was Weston Martin, second was Caleb Peacock and third was Brandon Bajromoski.
In the intermediate category Zachary Lamothe claimed first place, Taylor Cedeno took second and Cole Loomis earned third.
For the beginner category Madeline Ott took first, Abigail Daniels for seconds and Kristopher Burke took third.
In other accolades, the first female was Casey Mahoney and the winner of the dynamic competition, which focuses on jumping from hold to hold, was won by Bajromoski.
Rock wall attendant Hannah Martin noted the diversity in the competition this year.
“Something that was definitely unique to this comp is that a lot more females placed,” Marin said. “Most of the time it’s male dominated on the podium. It was just cool to see.”
Nguyen Tran, a transfer student, enjoyed his first time bouldering at the event. He also focused his time trying to learn beginner-level challenges before trying harder levels.
“I arrived here at the beginning of the event, but I left for a few hours before coming back,” Tran said. “I’ve done a decent amount of the beginner-level problems at this point.”
Brad Beals, a graduate student, worked on climbing some of the intermediate problems. It was no easy challenge.
“I am climbing the intermediate category here, so I’ve been mostly doing v.3s and v.4s while trying out a few of the v.5s,” Beals said.
While nearly everyone at The Golden Boulder enjoys a good climb, most of the people at the event come just to enjoy a good time of community, fun and food.
“The overall atmosphere of this event is just awesome,” Beals said. “The best thing about climbing at Liberty – really, climbing anywhere – is the community. Everyone is very tight-knit and just comes here to have a great time, even if they are not the best climbers. Everyone here encourages one another. It’s really easy to arrive at 4 p.m. and spend five hours here and still be having fun because we have such a great community.”