But why compete? Loads of us are put off participating in climbing competitions because we don’t want to score badly, or look silly, but is winning the only reason we compete? After all, there can only be one winner – does that mean the rest of us have wasted our time?
Although we rarely plunge into a competitive environment with the intention of losing, there are many benefits of competing that go beyond the podium or showing off our muscles…
Climbing comps are a breed of their own. Unlike certain other sports that might be in the news at the moment (ahem), we tend to leave the spirit of hooliganism at home (or wherever it belongs) and embrace a spirit of camaraderie with our fellow climbers, spectators, or humans.
The nature of climbing means that we can be united by a shared nemesis problem to solve or absorbed by someone else’s battle. Either way, we’re all cheering each other up the wall and we’re all rooting for each other, no booing here!
You may not be gunning for the podium, but you can’t deny that competitions make us try harder. Like, the hardest we ever try.
Why? Well. the atmosphere is contagious for one, with both your competitive spirit and the support of your peers giving you that drive to get up the climb. You often get extra points for the flash (topping the boulder on your first attempt), so are more likely to try harder for that too.
Competition format means that you’re less likely to limit yourself to grades too… We’re all guilty of telling ourselves ‘[INSERT GRADE/CIRCUIT] is too hard for me so I won’t try it’… competitions free you from the shackles of grades and circuits so you can just enjoy trying hard!
… or the Wednesday crowd, or the Friday crowd…
Everyone has their routines, and climbers are no exception! We all have our set days for climbing, for example: I always climb on Tuesday and Thursdays, if I climb on a Wednesday I’m left confused about what day it is for the rest of the week…
However, there are loads of people who exercise their passion for climbing on other days of the week who we’ll never meet! Competitions bring us all together without forcing us to break our routines, the Wednesdays meet the Tuesdays , the Thursdays meet the Mondays, and we all have a beer together whilst we’re waiting for results.
We’ve all hit the dreaded plateau. You know what we mean, the period when you’re training regularly and eating well but not seeing the improvements you were expecting.
Staying motivated when you’ve hit the plateau is hard and a lot could be said for setting yourself a goal.
Competitions are a great motivator when you’re looking for something to work towards in your climbing. Marking down your climbs also gives you a chance to reflect on how you climbed, and participating in a monthly series lets you gauge how you’re doing month on month.
What better reason to compete that for the sake of enjoyment?
Comp-style boulder problems are often unlike what you’re used to, a bit more exciting to watch and with some silly problems too (who can forget the Hangar Kayak, or the trampoline slab). The time limit to competitions gives it a manic game-like feel, and after all that excitement you can kick back with a beer and some good food. If that doesn’t tempt you, we don’t know what will!
Hang on a second… We say it’s not about winning, but we all feel good when we do well. There are often throw out/raffle prizes at the end of competitions, as well as the podium ones. That means you might end up going home with some goodies even if you don’t make it to the podium!
Best in the West summer comp is on from tomorrow at 12pm.
Unlike our regular Winter series, Best in the West will have qualifiers from 12 – 4, with finals from 6pm – 9pm. There will be over £1000 in cash prizes up for grabs, top setting from our the team, DJs, craft beer, and great food… it’s definitely one worth coming along too!
Come and join us on the walls to see how far you can go, or hang out and watch the battle with a cool beer. More information on the website and Facebook.