New gym in Eagle hosts USA Climbing competition
EAGLE — Eagle Climbing + Fitness has been open for one week, and is already attracting climbers from around the region.
Bouldering competitors from Utah, Grand Junction and elsewhere around the state visited the new gym on Saturday, Nov. 17, for a USA Climbing competition, organized by the Eagle Talons local climbing club.
Organizers weren’t surprised to see about 50 kids show up to compete, but when 24 adults also entered the competition, Talons coach and gym manager Larry Moore said they may have stumbled upon a new competitive attraction for adults in Eagle County.
“We had a lot of folks where this was their first time ever competing,” Moore said. “Many adults don’t really know how a climbing competition works, so to have the opportunity to learn about it and to participate in it is a cool experience … to be on the stage for a moment and enjoy that. We had really good reception.”
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The Eagle Talons have had the reputation of hosting a good event in the climbing world for years from its former space in the Vail Athletic Club, where they were able to make the most of a small space. With more than 8,000 square feet now dedicated to indoor climbing in Eagle, branching out to the large adult community of climbers in the area is an exciting opportunity, Moore said. The new space is able to host a competition in one room while leaving open other climbing rooms in other parts of the gym.
“For adults who come in and see there’s a youth comp going on all day long and they can’t come in that room, well, they can try those same problems later that night without any kids around, just adult competitors,” Moore said. “They got to try all the problems with other people who were trying them for the first time, and they could learn from them and experience it together and not have to worry about any other guests in the facility at that point. It was a different experience.”
Moore says they’re going to include an adult competition at every kids event the gym hosts moving forward.
“We just want to add that social element to our facility,” Moore said. “Everybody’s cheering each other on, supporting each other, watching each other and learning. It’s a really cool environment.”
WORLD CUP TECHNIQUE
If the atmosphere at Saturday’s event reminds you of the citizen’s bouldering competition at the GoPro Mountain Games, that’s because Moore and his team have long examined the bouldering environment there as a best practice of sorts.
With both general public opportunities and a World Cup professional competition, one can learn a lot about the technical aspects of hosting a bouldering event by studying the Mountain Games, Moore said.
And there’s a lot to it.
“I’ve been around that event for so many years now that I know exactly how they do what they do, and we just copy it,” he said. “We close a small area of the gym, set boulder problems during the day, mark on the wall so you know how to put the hold back up on the wall the exact same way, take pictures of the problems, pull all the holds off the wall because you can’t let the competitors see them before the competition, and string them up on a piece of rope in the order that they go back on the wall.”
By using that technique, Moore was able to keep the gym open throughout the process of setting the 40 boulder problems that he needed to have ready for the competition.
“We learned that skill from (the World Cup), which we brought into our gym to reduce the impact on our members,” he said.
On Nov. 30, Eagle Climbing + Fitness will host the local premiere of The North Face’s film “Reel Rock 13.” The event will double as a fundraiser for the Live Like Logan foundation, which seeks to help children with financial need to explore non-traditional sports such as climbing.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.