This past weekend, I drove up to Hadley, MA, for Ring of Fire, an absolutely amazing sport climbing competition held at Central Rock Gym.
I had been planning to compete since the first Ring of Fire last year, but 3 torn pulleys in my left ring finger have kept me off the wall since the end of March. I couldn’t stay away from such an awesome event though, so I attended as a Skratch Labs Athlete Ambassador and spread the love to all who were interested!
Two of my friends from Earth Treks, Mark and Veronica, accompanied me up to New England. Both of them competed and did so well! Proud of both of them.
The comp itself was fantastic. The youth climbers got on the wall first and showed everybody what the future of climbing looks like. These kids are so strong and will be crushing for years to come.
After the little crushers finished, it was on to the adults. Each category had 3 climbs, and each climber had only one go on each route. Qualifiers lasted for a few hours, and when the dust finally settled, a final field of 9 men and 9 women was set.
After a few hours to allow the setters to prepare the finals routes, the gym re-opened, and finals began. Youth competitors went first, and they put on quite a show.
But the grand finale was watching the pros go at it! In the end, Five Ten athletes Jon Cardwell and Sasha DiGiulian walked away with victories. All the finalists did impressively well, including 13 year old Kai Lightner. The kid is as humble as they come, but he’s incredible strong. Kai finished 8th and went into finals in first place! You’ll be hearing plenty about him in the coming years.
Watching all the climbers compete was an inspiring experience. It definitely made me miss climbing and competing. But being out in the community was just plain awesome. There’s no other word to describe.
I LOVED getting the chance to interact with climbers of all ages and abilities. I LOVED getting the chance to promote Skratch Labs and show the climbing community why I think it’s so awesome. And I LOVED getting the chance to spend time with old friends and make some new ones. I got the chance to catch up with my friend Sasha DiGiulian, I spent time with friends from Earth Treks, and I met Daniel Woods, Meagan Martin, Jon Cardwell, and Chelsea Rude. Just an incredibly positive group of people, and exactly what I needed at the time.
It was a fantastic weekend, and I can’t wait to return next year as a competitor. I’ve got a year to get healthy and get strong – I think I can do it!
Check out some pictures from the event below: