There’s a week and a half left until The Heist. As far as I know, this is the first event of its kind and it sounds amazing. Everyone involved in the comp is putting a ton of work into it to make it a success. But one big part of the event’s success is up to us, the climbers. We need to participate! This comp is going to be very high-quality and well-run with problems appropriate for every level. This is an especially great opportunity for anyone who has been hesitant to try a comp. There will also be clinics the following day, so you can make a weekend of it! An interview that the ladies over at Crux Crush did with the developers of The Heist provides some great insight into the event, competition, and climbing.
If you still aren’t swayed and are offering up excuses, here’s some free advice:
Excuse #1 – I’ve never been to a comp before.
Allow me to be cliche for a moment and say, “Everyone has to start somewhere!” But there’s a reason why cliches become cliches. There’s some truth in them. You do need to start somewhere and this is a great place to start. The comp was conceived, and is being designed, with collaboration and inclusiveness in mind. The goal is to foster the female climbing community within the greater climbing community. Doesn’t that sound like the way you’d like to start?
Excuse #2 – I won’t know anyone there.
Well, you could always bring someone else with you, but let’s assume that, for whatever reason, that isn’t possible. Who cares? It’s no big deal. I have gone to a lot of comps by myself, at gyms I’d never been to before, and for a long time I didn’t know a soul at any of them. But I quickly found that the climbing community is so friendly and welcoming that even the less-than-extroverted can strike up new friendships quite easily. Since this is a big event with a wide draw, there will be a lot of people in the same boat. And they will need people to hang out with, sign their scorecard, spot them, share beta, etc.
Excuse #3 – But I’m not a very good climber.
You are probably better than you would say aloud, but, even if you aren’t, it doesn’t matter. That’s why there are categories. If they only wanted elite level climbers, they wouldn’t have a Beginner category. And guess what, only 1 woman is going to win (well, maybe 4 if you count the winner in each category). That doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t compete. This is where we get to test ourselves, against the wall, against each other or maybe just against ourselves. I know my nerves are often a far greater adversary than any climber I’m up against.
Excuse #4 – Well, if I’m not going to win, what’s the point?
Fun and learning! It’s a whole gym full of brand-new problems. They are bringing in route-setters from all over, so at least some, if not all, of the problems will be set by someone whose style you are unfamiliar with. And for this comp the problems are not only being set by women, but they are setting every problem keeping in mind that it will be climbed by women. There will be some beta-sharing, of course, but you will learn the most just watching and trying. And others will learn by watching you climb. Each climber brings a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, experience and style with them. We all have something to learn and something to bestow, regardless of category.
Excuse #5 – But I don’t know if I feel like making the trip.
I can’t guarantee this, but I think this comp will be seen down the road as an important milestone along the path of climbing, competition climbing and for women in climbing. Wouldn’t it be great to look back and say that you were part of it?
Okay, if you are still offering up excuses at this point, I give up. I hope, instead, that you are convinced and already registering for the comp. I hope to see you there! Now it’s time to climb:)