Vail Teva Games: Cheering fans excite boulder climbers
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Daniel Woods conquered the Teva Mountain Games’ bouldering walls Saturday to finish in first place among the men, but not without a little frustration that goes along with territory of the sport.
In the only International Federation of Sports Climbing World Cup event in the United States, 12 finalists competed for the glory of coming in first place Saturday afternoon in Vail.
Bouldering is a spectator sport at the Mountain Games – hundreds of people crowd into the area around the Vista Bahn chair lift and really get into the event.
The crowd at the Mountain Games is what many of the competitors enjoy the most. Most of the athletes feed off the enthusiasm coming from the spectators. Without the noise, the athletes’ concentration is almost too much.
“It feels amazing to have the crowd behind you,” said Daniel Woods, the American climber who won the men’s competition.
As Woods attempted the fourth wall for the men, he kept getting stuck on one of the obstacles, which are called “problems” in the language of sports climbing.
He said the fourth climb wasn’t the hardest, but it just had one “really weird move” that he couldn’t seem to tackle.
The guys who went before him got stuck on the same move, which many attempted from a backwards position on the moves before it. They’d have to gain some momemtem and swing their bodies around to try and grab the next block. Most of them fell on that move and some just couldn’t get past it.
For Slovenian climber Jernej Kruder, the challenges were welcomed.
“I like the American style (of bouldering),” Kruder said. “There are good holes and lots of dynamic moves.”
It was Kruder’s first time visiting the United States and climbing here. He said he hopes to return. He especially enjoyed the cheering crowds, and it didn’t hurt that he brought some Slovenian friends and colleagues with him who created a special cheering section just for him.
The women, who compete on different walls than the men, had similar challenges on their fourth wall. American Alex Puccio, of Boulder, won last year’s World Cup in Vail and finished fourth this year.
She said the walls weren’t her style, so she was just happy to finish as well as she did.
“You just want to do the best you can,” Puccio said.
Anna Stohr, of Austria, said she was so impressed with all of the women in the competition. Stohr finished second and was thankful for the crowd to have helped get her there.
“It’s such a nice crowd,” Stohr said. “They really cheer for you.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.