Last weekend, Caroga Lake hosted the annual Southern Adirondack Rock Climbing Festival. As part of the festival, a bouldering competition was held at Nine Corners Lake boulders on Saturday. I was scheduled for a friend’s bachelor party at 2:00 pm, but Heather and I were both too excited about the comp to miss it, so we planned to show up for at least a few hours.
Arriving at the parking area at 9:00 am, we were shocked by the presence at least 20 vehicles in the lot (later, on the way out, I counted over 40). Boulderers aren’t known for their alpine starts, so it was encouraging to see so many out so “early” for an all-day event.
The format was that of a standard bouldering competition: each climber’s final score would be determined by the total V grade of the 5 hardest problems on their scorecard, with an additional point for flashing a problem. Justin Sanford, the event organizer, had placed laminated signs detailing names, grades, and descriptions of popular routes near each boulder group. Additionally, all problems from Adirondack Rock were in play, so there was plenty of climbing to keep everyone busy.
Despite the competitive backdrop, the scene felt like more of a fun social hangout. For most of the morning, Heather and I wandered around the main set, casually climbing and chatting with other climbers. We met a lot of new people, including the makers of STONELICK crash pads, and the owner of The Edge, a promising new climbing gym opening soon in Albany.
With just a few hours to climb, both of our scorecards ended up disappointingly empty. Heather’s only official send was Stairs, because she spent most of the morning working her project, Meat and Potatoes. But her hard work paid off with major progress, and only our lack of time kept her from sending. Most of my effort was spent failing to climb The Origin and Everything in the Bible is True, but I at least filled my scorecard with flashes of Stairs, Andrugen, Meat and Potatoes, Tea Time, and Dave’s Problem.
It was disappointing to leave before climbing anywhere but the main set of boulders, but we had a great time. Justin did a great job organizing the competition and getting everyone oriented. With any luck, and probably a lot of hard work, this will become an annual event!