Words by Brianne Schaer Instagram: @brianneschaer
Images by Crystal Tan Instagram: @madambackwords
This year's Fall Bouldering League at Sender One Climbing SNA has come and gone, and this year was the biggest one yet! The 6-week battle-royale gave teams of five a chance to compete for the title of Bouldering League Champions.
There were lock offs, dynos, and comp-style problems. Each week offered new challenges for teams, who worked to complete as many problems as possible, while building friendships and cheering each other on.
"This is my fourth or fifth time competing," said Corey Cosby from the first-place team, The Pumpernoodles. "It's fun; I'm friends with a lot of the people competing, and the league offers a good, healthy competitive atmosphere. Anyone thinking about competing next season should just sign up. You will meet so many people and make so many friends and lifelong climbing partners that it is worth it for that alone."
The Bouldering League is an inclusive, community-focused competition, and is largely scored based on individual climber growth. Climbers of all skill levels worked together to push each other to climb their hardest every week.
"This was the biggest Bouldering League we have ever hosted!" said Wayne Huang, Sender One Fall 2018 Bouldering League Commissioner. "One of the most rewarding parts of the whole experience for me was convincing some climbers who were either not planning on initially doing Bouldering League, or who were on the fence to try it out, and then later hearing that they had a really great time. To me, climbing has always had the most open and unique community of any sport, and it really shines through during Bouldering League in my opinion."
In the spirit of keeping the competition friendly, the actual grade of each route is hidden. This can encourage climbers to try problems that they may not even attempt otherwise.
"It's been a good run," said Blaine Smith from team, Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder. "Our team got the chance to cheer each other on and we all really stepped up our game. The fact that the grades are blind really made this happen. It's easy to get that grade stuck in your head, but when you come in and just go for all the climbs you think you can do, you surprise yourself. Most of our team members are climbing at levels higher than what they normally would have attempted."
Above everything, Bouldering League serves to strengthen the sense of community at Sender One Climbing, and to encourage everyone to try hard in the process.
"Joining the Bouldering League has pushed me to do things I'm uncertain about," said Rika Williams of team, Crimpy Jugs. "I've enjoyed meeting new and supportive people who have helped me to improve. It doesn't really matter what level you are. It feels so good to feel that kind of support from people."
As the chalk settled on the final night of Bouldering League, the top three teams were:
First Place: The Pumpernoodles
Team Members: Anni Vanderpool, Britney Berkstresser, Christian Monter, Clayton Boyd, Corey Cosby
Second Place: I Like Big Jugs and I Cannot Climb
Team Members: Bao Phan, Emily Nguyen, Jasmine CHoi, Paul Huynh, Rikka Cornelia
Third Place: Beta Bots
Team Members: Astrid Dawson, Christine Kim, Diana Keyes, Garrett Keyes, Greg Keyes
This season was also full of many hilarious and clever team names. The War on Jugs was awarded the best team name. A few hilarious honorable mentions were: Crimpanzees, Chalkoholics, and Crimp Scampi.
Another team name that holds a lot of significance was, Panda Express. The name serves as a memory of a team member who suddenly passed away from an unrelated medical issue. This team member's nickname was Panda Express, and his climbing buddies decided to name their Bouldering League team after him.
"I'd like to, both personally and on behalf of Sender One, thank every single participant this year," said Huang. "We wouldn't be here without the community we are lucky enough to host, and each year only serves to further reinforce that to me. Climbing, specificially in our community, is such a unique space in that it is friendly, open, and welcoming, but also that it sees so many people of all ages and from all walk of life intermingling. I firmly believe that fostering and supporting meaningful interactions between different people is not only the key to having a healthy community, but also to teaching each person's individual growth."
The next Bouldering League will be held in Spring 2019 at Sender One LAX! There are two leagues per year: one in the Fall at Sender One SNA, and one in the Spring at Sender One LAX. More information will be released as the time nears, so keep up the stoke and stay tuned!