Last Thursday I decided to hop in the car, drive to Canada and check out Toronto’s Summer Sweat Fest bouldering series. This year, the 5th in the event, there are 5 comps held on Thursdays throughout the summer and a series finale on October 19th, 2013. Several different gyms in the Toronto area are participating in the series. The one I drove up for was at Climber’s Rock in Burlington, ON, which is also where the series finale will be held.
Now a scenic drive and a bouldering comp are reason enough for me, but this time my main aim was to check out the live, real-time, electronic scoring system they were using for the open competitors. I wanted to see how it worked and learn more about it. Here are the basics: When you get to the gym you pay your entry fee and receive a climber number. When you are ready to climb, you go up the check-in desk (the person with laptop) and give them your number and the number of the climb you want to attempt. They type it in and it is automatically sent to tablet/smartphone of the judge in charge of that problem. That judge then calls the climbers names in order. The judge records the result of the attempt (send, fall, technical, etc) and the program tracks the time the attempt occurred, how many attempts it took and anything else that has been programmed. The running score of every competitor is shown live at the event, as well as posting to the web. My husband was able to track all of my climbing from his computer back in New York.
This system has so many things going for it and overall I’m a fan. There are a few kinks to iron out here and there, but most of those are related to execution, and not design, of the program. I would LOVE to see this implemented at more comps. While I don’t know all the technical details on how it works, I’m sure that the program could be modified to accommodate different scoring systems. By adding more equipment and staff, it could be used at larger events for both open and citizens scoring. Some of the biggest things on the plus side are the ability to see the scoring and know what is going on throughout the event (a rarity in climbing), not distracting the judges while they are watching climbs by turning in cards and getting the results quickly at the end of the event. This last one would be especially nice at comps that have separate finals rounds. Finals competitors would know that they have moved on quickly and be able to get ready in iso and finals would actually be able to start on time which would hopefully increase spectator attendance. Climbers, if this is something that you would like start seeing at our comps in the Northeast, let’s make some noise and see if we can get it here! Gym owners/managers, if you are interested in this for your comp(s), please contact me here or on Facebook.
As for the actual comp…it was a blast. It was fun to try out a totally different format. I was definitely not used to it and it required a very different strategy than what you use for traditional redpoint comps. The problems were fun and incorporated lots of different moves and styles between them. Everyone was super friendly and I got to watch some great climbing. Who knows, maybe I’ll make the drive again next week!