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Woods climbs on a level of his own

TMG pro bouldering 1 KA 6-2-07
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VAIL ” If Daniel Woods can’t climb it, chances are nobody can.

Woods, who picked up his second straight Teva Games bouldering title Saturday in

Vail, is the thermometer for those setting the climbing wall.



So when the third problem (a specific route of holds on the wall) in Saturday’s event gave Woods trouble in Friday’s practice, it had to be changed.

“I set it a little hard, and he said he can’t do it,” said Jamie Emerson, who also climbs with Woods in Boulder. “If he can’t do it, it needs to come down. “He’s on another level than other climbers. We always set to the highest competitors, and that’s one of the big challenges of rock climbing. (Daniel) can do seven one-arm pull-ups. He’s ridiculous.”



Woods was the only competitor to power his way through the first two problems without a hitch and made it to the highest holds on the third problem out of anyone.

Asked about his strength, which puts him at a higher level, Woods said, “It’s pretty

cool. But there’s definitely a lot more stronger guys out there than I am.



“It’s nice because I train with Jamie, and I train with all of the guys (competing Saturday). We know (our) styles of climbing. They threw some tricks at us, but it was still good. That’s what I love about this sport ” there’s always a challenge for everyone. There’s something that’s going to push limits, and this pushed my limits,

and it ended up I couldn’t do it.”

Saturday’s setup also favored another powerful climber on the women’s side “

Alex Puccio.

Puccio, who won last year’s competition, was flawless Saturday, solving all three problems on her first try.

“I was totally not expecting to get as far as I did,” Puccio said.

Second-place finisher Paige Claassen put some pressure on Puccio when she solved the third problem on her first try with Puccio still waiting her turn. Claassen flowed through the third problem, moving past the most difficult section without

a hitch.

“In practice the beginning seemed easy, and then the first blue hold was awful. I wasn’t expecting to (stick it) and thought, ‘I have to keep going now,'” Claassen said.

Puccio, who was the last female climber to go as she was the highest seeded, had more trouble waiting than with the third problem itself.

“I hate going last because the pressure is on,” Puccio said.

Angie Payne was third for the women.

Woods and Puccio are 17 while the oldest competitor was a spry 25-year-old Charles Fryberger.

“I think there’s a trend in people who are older and really good climbers; they don’t really compete that much because they make a lot of money already,” Puccio said.

“It’s getting younger each year. I’ll probably stop competing in a couple years.”

A good chunk of the competitors at the Teva Games go to school in Boulder or live

nearby.

Paul Robinson who took second will be a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder while third-place finisher Robby D’Anastasio just graduated from CU.

Woods and Robinson enjoy training together, as they feed off each other’s styles.

“Paul and I have different climbing styles,” Woods said. “He’s good at crimps and technical stuff, and I’m more of a power rock climber. I’m kind of helping him out with power issues, and he’s helping me out with technique issues, and we’re kind of colliding and becoming two mutants, so it’s nice.”

“It’s amazing,” Robinson said. “This year I moved to Colorado, and I’ve seen my

climbing skyrocket.”

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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