Looking more like monkeys than men, climbers who qualified for the regional championship of the 2013 American Bouldering Series will find themselves in Ogden this weekend.
On Dec. 7 and 8, The Front Climbing Club in Ogden will host this year’s ABS Regional Championship for the Southern Mountain Region. Top youth climbers from Utah, Arizona and New Mexico will travel to Ogden to attempt to qualify to continue on to the divisional and national championships. USA Climbing is sanctioned by the International Federation for Sport Climbing, the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee.
According to Shad Burnham, manager of The Front, the competition will bring approximately 200 climbers ages 6-18 to Ogden. This is the second year The Front has hosted regionals.
“There are more competitors this year than last year,” said Burnham, who added that securing the competition for another year was exciting for the gym.
The bouldering wall at The Front is 18 feet high, and thick padding on the ground helps stifle possible injury from a fall by the climbers. Bouldering does not involve the use of a rope and harness.
Burnham said that, for the duration of the two-day competition, 60 bouldering routes — or problems, as they are called — must be set up and taken down behind curtains. Six routes can be on the wall at one time per division per gender.
“We actually have it totally insulated so you can’t see anything going on in the bouldering area,” he said. “There is a bit at stake here; people are flying in from all over, and so we need to make sure it’s totally fair and no one can see the wall ahead of time.”
With 20-30 volunteers per day judging and scoring routes and maintaining gym traffic, Burnham said volunteers are still needed to help assure a smooth competition. He said his gym and Ogden itself are still really small fish in the climbing destination pond, but that “it’s a really cool opportunity for us to showcase the city and what we are doing. It’s pretty cool to see that kind of talent in real life.”