Competition Recap: Mt. Gretna

On Saturday, I got outside for the second weekend in a row – quite an accomplishment for a gym rat like me!

The second annual Gretna Bouldering Competition took place up at Governor Dick Park in Central Pennsylvania. The event was “geared toward raising funds to be used at the park for bouldering needs as well as raising awareness of good ethics for bouldering” at Mt. Gretna. It was a great event with a lot of awesome climbers coming out in support – plus, there were great prizes, raffles, and burritos (mmmmm…)!

Early in the morning, I picked up the two Earth Treks Rockville coaches, Will and Michelle, and headed up to Pennsylvania. Despite leaving a bit later than planned, we still got there in good time, got registered, and started climbing. Once there, we met up with a handful of other ET climbers and proceeded to have a great day.

Gretna is made up of a smattering of diabase boulders of fair quality. The climbing is generally very frictiony and balance-oriented, though there are plenty of exceptions. The boulders are all spread out over a decently large patch of land, and it definitely took some trail-finding to make our way around. Hunting is also allowed in the areas surrounding the park, so it was a little disconcerting to hear gun shots at first…but by the end, we didn’t even really notice.

The climbing itself was fun, and everyone had solid days. Will sent two V8s, Jules won her category, and I ended up sending my first outdoor V5 (twice!) and V6. It was definitely good to send those grades outside – I know I should be so grade-focused, but I’m glad to have done it, and now I feel as if I can move forward a bit more confidently. Everyone else climbed quite well, especially considering it was the first outdoor climbing experience for some of them.

Photo credit: Jennie Jariel

But really, the best part about the day was just being outside on real rock and out in the community. It’s always good to connect with other climbers and contribute to a good cause – especially to one that goes towards conservation and stewardship of an area. Climbers could definitely do more to support the sport and community in those areas.

At the end of the day, I walked away very satisfied. I didn’t focus on the competition aspect at all – it was more about just being outdoors. I got to spend a great day doing what I love with wonderful people, plus I climbed well, won a 5.10 t-shirt in the raffle, and got a burrito. All-in-all, a fantastic time for sure.

Looking forward, there’s nothing too big on my plate in the near future. Some more indoor climbing, a handful of rest days, and hopefully another day or two outside. Otherwise, time to get back to training – routes season is fast approaching, and I need to start getting in shape for that. Need to get strong, need to build my endurance, and need to work on my lead head. Fingers crossed for some big things in the Spring.

As always, thanks for reading – I truly appreciate it. Til next time, stay stoked and climb on!

Photo credit: Jennie Jariel


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