Competition with a side of guac


Climbing is the only sport I know that can casually combine the shared love of a fruit with physically rigorous activity in one exciting event. The Avocado Cup Bouldering League Qualifiers hosted by Mesa Rim Gym on Tuesday, January 24th was just that. After our regular two hours of training in the indoor gym, LJCDS Rock Climbing team members, Talia Soalt (‘17), Luke Ford (‘17), Jack Dickson (‘20), Avi Schlafman (‘20), and I adorned our wrists with neon green wristbands and entered the local competition. Although the word “competition” might incite stress in some athletes, in the local rock climbing community this was nothing more than an event where people young and old can gather to climb uniquely challenging routes and socialize with other rock climbers. Each boulder problem was assigned a certain number of points that corresponds with how challenging the route is. The climber that accumulated the highest number of points between the two Qualifier events (this past Tuesday and Tuesday, February 7th) would move on to the Final competition. The winner of that event would be named the 2017 Avocado Cup Bouldering League Champion.

Bouldering is a style of climbing that, because of the shorter wall height, does not involve ropes or harnesses. Compared to rope climbing, bouldering features a lot more powerful and technical moves. It’s also much more social! Climbers can work together to figure out the best and most efficient way to reach the top of the wall. It’s not unusual to see people calling out suggestions or offering words of encouragement while others attempt a challenging route. The climbing community at Mesa Rim is always so friendly and inviting, and interacting with strangers by asking for advice or cheering them on is a common occurrence, even in competitive spaces. Honestly, the majority of the people climbing that day were probably there simply to be a part of the friendly community and climb some awesome routes (I know I certainly was). This friendly sense of teamwork, combined with the more extensive planning that goes into these competition-style bouldering problems, is what makes local climbing competitions so fun.

Mesa Rim Gym took this positive energy surrounding the climbing competition and added a “Guac-off”; a competition of homemade guacamoles. I regret to say that I was much too invested in the bouldering to taste-test guacs, but the concept of this joint competition was amusing and added a playful twist to the event.

Although our team did not compete to win, we had a really great time regardless. The five of us were able to bond not only as teammates and friends, but with our coaches and other climbers as well. We also got really cool green shirts with avocado designs to commemorate the event!

I encourage all those who are searching for a fun-loving and exciting new sport to try to come out for the Rock Climbing team and experience this down-to-earth community! Email [email protected], or find me in person if there are any questions on how to join the team.