The UConn climbing team went to an intercollegiate competition in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Sunday, Feb. 5. Four team members from UConn placed in a large tie for third, along with students from other schools.
The competition was hosted at MetroRock Bushwick. The UConn team had over a dozen competitors, and there were 50 people competing in total. Climbers came from four different college teams in the Collegiate Northeast Division of USA Climbing.
This particular competition was a bouldering competition, meaning the climbers were not harnessed to anything, but rather had to compete on a shorter wall, finding ways to get through courses that they were seeing for the first time with limited attempts. Climbers were expected to start on clearly marked starting holds, then work their way to established finishing holds or the top of the bouldering wall, with opportunities for more points on more difficult courses.
This was a very challenging competition for all of the schools, according to Luke Case, a fourth-semester history major on the climbing team.
“It was very difficult, not just for us, but for every school there,” Case said. “Everyone alternates trying the route, and in between, we’ll discuss different ideas about how to approach doing certain moves.”
According to Case, the challenging nature of the competition led to all the teams coming together and advising each other on how to overcome the difficult courses
“Usually, we don’t work with other teams, but when the routes are that hard, any ideas help,” Case said. “The other teams were super friendly.”
Case emphasized the importance of working together in order to find ways to overcome the new routes presented in competitions.
“I think that’s probably the biggest team aspect of climbing, just figuring out how to approach different climbing problems together,” Case said.
The team works hard to prepare for their competitions, according to Case. He described workouts such as weighted pull-ups and max hangs to improve grip, strength and stamina. The team alternates among workouts such as these most weeks, but begins to mimic the contests as they grow closer, Case said.
“Coming up to the competitions, we do mock competitions at Central Rock Glastonbury, where we practice,” Case explained. “We simulate what you would be doing at a competition, trying new climbs and limiting your amount of attempts.”
The team is looking forward to two more lead climb competitions in February and March, in which the competitors will be harnessed and belayed on a higher wall. Case said many of them would be participating in the upcoming Rec Center competition on Saturday, Feb. 11 as well. They will also be competing in the Collegiate Northeast divisionals in Littleton, Mass. on April 1.