By Rachel Holzhaeuser
Bumping it up to allow for some Halloween spirit, this year’s competition will be on October 24. Prizes will not only be awarded to highest performing competitors, but also those who participate in the costume contest. So get ready to get your boulder on and show off that banana costume in the back of your closet.
To get an inside look at what goes into coordinating the event—and most importantly the routes—we asked our Climbing Wall Manager Anika Ramey for some insight on what goes into setting up the Harvest Hang.
The Harvest Hang offers 4 different competition categories: recreation, intermediate, advanced, and open. There are 10 routes in each category, ascending in difficulty, and 2 final problems for both the men and women’s category.
Let’s talk about these final problems. Designed to stump even the most talented competitors we see, they’re a bit more cryptic, and certainly more challenging. Anika let us in on a secret that they usually include some sort of party trick. This could be “dynos,” which is when the climber loses some or all points of contact in order to reach a distant hold, or “bat hangs,” where the climber hangs from only his or her feet. These are only a few possibilities, though, so be sure to stick around for these final ascents for the chance to witness other flashy moves, too.
The difference between the routes you’ll see at the Harvest Hang and the ones you can see on any normal day at the CSU Climbing Wall can be pretty significant.
“Route setting for the competition is typically different from everyday gym setting; the movement shouldn’t be obvious—it should take the climber a bit of thought and technique to finish the problem—and the problem itself should be aesthetically pleasing,” Anika said.
And just because the easier routes are designed to be easier for the climber, doesn’t exactly mean it’s easier to create.
“While it can be easy to make the difficult routes look cool and the movement more puzzling, it’s often a challenge to do this with the routes in our easier categories. It’s easy enough to set a route that is just a ladder (good holds moving straight up the wall with good feet), but the real challenge is to set a problem that makes the climber have to think and be specific in their movement,” Anika said of the challenges the easier routes present during the setting phase. “It can take hours to set, fore-run, and perfect a route.”
While route setting is deemed most important for the Harvest Hang preparation, that’s not all there is to it.
Sponsorship requests are sent, new holds are ordered while thousands of old ones are stripped and washed, and not to mention the obtaining and organizing of prizes. (This year’s to include crash pads, chalk buckets, brushes, hats, guidebooks, and more!)
This Harvest Hang is taking a whole new turn with the costume contest.
“This [the costumes] will add a creative, fun, and casual element to the competition. A lot of our competitors are new to climbing, so we try to foster an easy-going, fun environment, rather than a serious, competitive one,” Anika said.
Of the route setters masterminding the creation of the competition is Climbing Wall Employee and Head Route Setter John Marlatt. John has experience route setting at Miramont and has set routes for multiple competitions including the Collegiate Regionals. Under John’s guidance, experience, and advice, all of the setters and employees are striving for high quality routes that will guarantee a good time.
Registration for the event is underway and costs $12 ahead of time, and $14 the day of. However, if you’re looking to have a t-shirt to remember the day by, be sure to register at the Service Center by October 7.
Remember that we invite everyone and anyone who is interested so feel free to compete, or at least spectate. And don’t forget the costumes! We’ll see you there.