Outdoor Adventures Hosts Climbing Competition

By Gracie King | Feature Editor | mhk1724@jagmail.southalabama.edu 

Photo by: Andrew Bryant | Photographer

Outdoor Adventures (OA) held its semi-annual rock climbing competition on Saturday, March 19th. Climbers had the opportunity to compete in three different events – speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering – for various prizes from recreational event sponsors Alabama Outdoors, Escape Climbing and College Outside. 

Speed climbing is where a climber is belayed and attempts to climb the industry-standard speed route as fast as they can. Dylan Hoard, a Pensacola resident who drove to Mobile with some of his climbing buddies, completed the climb in just nine seconds, handsomely sweeping his other competitors.  

While the speed climbing event was based solely on seconds per climb, the lead climbing and bouldering events were divided into ability levels. Lead climbing, a complex form of climbing where the climber attaches themself to gear whilst ascending the wall, was split into the Advanced and Open divisions. The bouldering event, where climbers go up short “problems” of 15 moves or less, was split into the Recreational, Intermediate and Open divisions. 

Edward “Jimbo” Powers, a regular at the OA rock wall, opted out of competing but still enjoyed getting to watch his friends climb. 

“Watching the climbs is sometimes just as fun as actually competing. I get to see my friends push themselves, solve problems and have fun with each other,” Powers said. 

Though prizes like HydroFlasks, fleece blankets and climbing t-shirts were up for grabs, it was hardly a competitive atmosphere. Participants cheered for their friends and congratulated them when they finished their problem or route. 

“Usually, climbing competitions aren’t really that cutthroat or intimidating,” said Colin Blount, an employee of OA and competition route setter. “Even though it’s an individual-centered sport, we’re all climbing the same problems and have the same end goal.”

The winners of each event are as follows:

OverallLead Open Lead AdvancedBouldering OpenBouldering IntermediateBouldering RecreationalSpeed Climbing
1st Dylan HoardWill MassingillAnthony Funderburg Colin Blount and Will MassingillLayla WalesAnthony Funderburg Dylan Hoard(9.03 sec.)