Even though Rosa Serrano, 8, only started rock climbing a few weeks ago, she attracted quite the crowd.
Dozens of Colorado State University students and community members huddled around her to cheer her on as she braved a difficult route during Sundayâ€™s inaugural bouldering competition at the Campus Recreation Centerâ€™s climbing wall.
â€œI used to be absolutely terrified, and hated watching her climb around on rocks that were really high up,â€ said Lana Serrano, Rosaâ€™s mother. â€œBut sheâ€™s gotten a lot better, so I can breathe a little bit easier.â€
Rosa was just one of more than 60 participants in the competition, participants who ranged from seasoned climbing veterans to people who had only just started rock climbing.
Competitors were grouped by skill level and had two hours to complete as many routes as possible. These routes were allocated points based on difficulty level, and competitors lost points each time they fell off the wall.
â€œItâ€™s a really great opportunity to watch people grow and improve their skills,â€ said Fea Unger, a climbing wall attendant who helped coordinate the event. â€œEven though itâ€™s technically a competition, weâ€™re more about just having fun.â€
Once climbers completed routes, they had to have two witnesses sign off that they were successful on their scorecards. Routes were classified as recreational, intermediate, advanced and open; each was marked on the wall in color-coordinated tape. Climbers had to stay within these routes or their attempt didnâ€™t count toward their score.
The laid back atmosphere of the competition was complimented by a booming playlist of â€˜80s hip-hop and free Red Bull energy drinks.
Chalk covered climbers had the opportunity to try as many routes, of as many levels, as they wanted, with climbers spotting each other over difficult sections. Because scoring was done mainly through an honor system, no official winners were declared and instead, all participants were entered into a drawing for various prizes.
The entry fee was $12, which included a T-shirt to commemorate the event.
â€œIt was a really fun way to finish off Thanksgiving Break,â€ said participant Emma Giles, a sophomore fish, wildlife and conservation biology major.
The competition was organized by the CSU Outdoor Program, and is said to be the first of many.
â€œBouldering competitions are a really big part of the climbing community, and we wanted to bring that sense of community and fun to CSU,â€ said Ben Gerding, climbing wall manager.
â€œItâ€™s something thatâ€™s really meant to bolster our community here, and in that regard, it has been a big success.â€
Outdoor Life Beat Reporter Allison Sylte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.