Phoenix Bouldering Contest 2001

The Phoenix Bouldering Contest is held each year at Queen Creek in Superior.
It's one of the biggest rock climbing competitions in the country and attracts
all the best climbers from Phoenix and across the country. This year we went
down to see the action and watch our friends Rachel and Michelle compete.

Sun & Snow
It rained for the past couple days but today is perfect, about 75 with a cool breeze. Checkout the snow on the nearby mountains!

Magma Mine
The old Magma copper mine is at the top of the road through the canyon. (Magma Mine Rd. is the turnoff from the highway)

Here's one of the first climbing areas we came to. There are over a hundred routes laid out for the contest. Most are top-roped like these.

More Routes
Here's another area of the canyon with higher routes. Not just bouldering, which is the term for climbing close to the ground usually without ropes.

And More Routes
There seem to be about a dozen different areas like this in the contest, each for different skill levels.

Climbing Area View
A great view of the mountains and one of the climbing areas near the top of the canyon.

Climbing a tough overhang. The goal is to get to the top unassisted. The ropes, if any, are only for safety.

Dave And Dogs
Dave's here to watch. A lot of cool dogs brought their people out!

Tough Move
All that chalk's used for a better grip on the rock.

First on Top
We here this is the first guy to make it to the top of this today. It's about 15 feet high, notice no ropes.

Ropes aren't just for safety. He's got to find a way down now.

Here's someone on the same route. No problem after seeing the first guy do it.

Hike Through Canyon
We decide to hike down through the canyon in hope of finding Rachel and Michelle. If you can't find the cairns (rock piles) which are located every ten feet (!), they have pretty girls on all the rocks. Like this one who directs us through this cave.

On Crack
You'd have to be to climb this stuff :)

Awkward Move
Part of this route requires sticking your hand deep in this rock and gripping from beneath. Some tough routes were worth 20 points. This one is 900 points.

On the Big Wall
Coming down from one of the longer routes. We figured this to be about 75 feet or so to the top.

It's Michelle!
We finally find Michelle and Kenny. Squeezing in this tough 20-pointer just prior to the final bell. She completes her maximum 8 climbs for the day.

It's been a long day but she nails this one and wins first place in her category. Great job!

Rachel Nails it Too
Here's Rachel confidently completing her final climb.

Sharma and Caldwell
The two top climbers in the world are working on the next route over. Center is Chris Sharma and Tommy Caldwell to his right.

Chris Sharma won handily although they say he was off after spending months in a monastery and overindulging in the weed of choice.

Group Shot
Scott, Annie Karine, Robert, Michelle, and Kenny

Hike Back
It's a short hike back to the main camp area after the competition. Some of the 500 or so contestants and about twice as many spectators.

Tug of War
Back at camp there's entertainment, booths, food, and activities like this tug-of-war. Needless to say, these aren't the winners.

The band is just right for the occasion. Feels like Woodstock.

Cool Sounds
Pretty unusual to have a sitar in your band.

It's a bird, it's a plane
We missed the dino contest, but here's a cool shot of a guy warming up.

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