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Dark Horse Climbing Comp! December 19, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
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This past weekend I had the opportunity to photograph the Dark Horse Climbing Competition at Metrorock climbing gym in Everett, MA.

That was pretty cool – some of the best young climbers from around the country going mano a mano  for real prizes, and for the love of trying reealy  hard.  😉

The three finals problems were set up so the competitors couldn’t see more than one at a time. Unfortunately, that meant that neither could I! As the competitors started at five minute intervals, I ran my butt off to get these shots, especially because I like to photograph these things from above, which meant climbing down from a shot, running around the gym and climbing up somewhere else.

And despite growing a few new muscles in the process, I missed a lot of the action – bummer!

But then, that’s how it goes when one person tries to be in three places at once.

So here are a few of the early highlights culled from the 440+ shots I took, most of which have yet to be processed.

Isabelle Faus holds onto a whole lotta nada as she balances around the holdless corner on Problem #1:


Francesca Metcalf goes wide at the start of Problem #3:


Meagan Martin defying gravity on Problem #2:


…and Sébastien Lazure snags the improbable fly-by cross-over on Problem #3, launching from the light blue hold at lower left:


My shoulders hurt just looking at that one. 😉

I may have more to share soon, but meanwhile, congratulations to all of the participants for their amazing efforts!

A Climbing Competition. October 4, 2012

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Last weekend saw the Fourth Annual WMCC Rendezvous, a gathering of local and visiting climbers for a little socializing, exploring and friendly competition.

The weather was wet, so most of the “competition” took place at Central Rock climbing gym in Hadley, MA. Big thanks to those folks for hosting this very busy weekend.

Friday night’s action was a “bouldering” comp, with people of all (well, most) ages pulling down. The routes were steep:

…up artificial rock walls with bolt-on holds:

There was an enthusiastic crowd of spectators and supporters mingling below, and a great atmosphere:

People took it seriously enough to work hard – young kids:


Apes, which I confess is my tribe:

…and Ballerinas, to quote the late, great Scottish climber, Tom Patey:

Sharply focused spiders:

…and relentless machines:

…plugging along on the undersides of the bouldering cave. That’s some brutish terrain, but it’s not limited to the boys – strong women can play here as well:

…and they did. Great efforts, everyone!

In the end, it was less about “winning” and more about trying for one’s personal best. A lot of yardsticks got moved forward because of the competitive yet totally supportive atmosphere.

And it was great to watch the improbable being made to look easy.

…and the look of competence in a person’s eyes as they latch that final hold:

This shoot was a mix of Ollie and Gizmo, a bit too mixed up to go into. Let’s just say that my sensor needed a cleaning after all of those lens changes in a chalky environment. 😆

Back From The Black October 2, 2007

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Hoo-eee, there’s pavement, and daylight, and electricity, and… my ‘puterbox!!!

Hi Y’all (pulls pine needles and dried leaves from scalp)! Good to be back (removes smoked jeans and annealed undies)! Ya shoulda been there (just kiddin)!

So my Gathering of Climbing Dirtbags was a huge success, eliciting unintelligible moans of presumed pleasure from The Flatlanders who were enticed to visit the Great North Woods, despite their preconceptions of the dismal climbing to be found in these parts.

Little did they know.

But NOW they know. I served them up a smorgasboard of lithic loveliness which had them massaging their groins in anticipation, and later, drooling all over each other in their feeble attempts to describe their experiences (as though we weren’t all there to see how it unfolded.)

The Jon snagged the best line of the day, which he named Caravan (as is the prerogative of the First Ascentionist):


Thirty feet of really steep, thin climbing. The man’s got a head on ’em. Kudos, my friend.

Other stuff went down, including Holedondita, sent by Nate


and The Coffin, here worked by my friend John:


I tell ya, as a broken old fart, I was roundly impressed.

So despite its dismal failure as a fund-raiser, the weekend was a super get-together of climbers from the larger region. And despite my inability to participate in the climbing, I enjoyed scurrying around with my camera and watching folks enjoy the fruits of my months-long labors, cleaning the boulders and making the surrounds inviting.

I’m already psyched for next year’s gathering!

The Days Grow Shorter September 23, 2007

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And there’s less time to play outdoors after work.

Unless you bring a lantern 😉

Welcome Autumn, the best time to climb in New England.

And me all lame and shit.