By Lucas Bundy
As Head Routesetter at CityROCK, I’ve had a goal of wanting to host an adult sport climbing competition with a number of strong competitors, great sponsors, and a somewhat familiar redpoint format with a unique twist. I envisioned a competition that would be a highlight of our event schedule every year.
When we started planning the event, we didn’t know if we would get the 60 competitors we hoped for. We didn’t know if sponsors would help us with the cash purse and prizes. We had all the questions you have with a new comp: Would spectators show up? Would competitors be able to do the routes? Would people be psyched on it? Did we have enough holds and volumes? The right holds and volumes? Did we have enough rope? How much impact would it have on our members? Would they be psyched to climb in a comp with well-known climbers? Would the comp bomb?
Fortunately, our inaugural Battle Royale was a huge success. We met the comp cap. People were psyched. We had enough new lead ropes. Climbers of all abilities got to climb side-by-side with Colin Duffy, Natalia Grossman, and Mike Anderson, to name a few. Spectators watched competitors battle it out in finals. All-in-all the comp was what we wanted it to be.
Battle Royale is a competition for the sport climber who wants to have fun at a high-level event with an opportunity to win money for climbing. We want to pay climbers for climbing well at our gym. That’s pretty cool. That money might go to an Olympic hopeful to support their training, or to help fund a climbing trip. Its cool that sponsors like adidas TERREX helped fund those dreams in 2019 and now Heuberger Subaru has ponied up even more for 2020.
Setting for Battle Royale is a production unlike any I’ve participated in to date. This year, our team will be joined by Augy Cohn and Daniel Cornella, which means that half of the setting team setting Battle Royale is setting for USA Climbing’s Sport Open Nationals. We’ll have a few tricks up our sleeves and know it’ll be a great competition for both competitors and spectators.
Redpoint qualifiers and onsight finals happen on the same day. In order to keep competitors from seeing the finals routes, we put them on the pillar and shroud them behind a huge tarp, which we set inside during the week. It keeps the event exciting because no one knows what’s behind the tarp until the big reveal for finals.
The most unique feature of the event is the “Battle” route. This route is different from the other redpoint round climbs. Those climbs are “do or don’t”, “all or nothing” format. You climb it and redpoint it, or you don’t. The “Battle” route is a high-point route. It is, in a way, a hybrid between onsight and redpoint in that you can try the climb as many times as you want. You will be scored on it like in an onsight round with each hold scored in ascending order. Establishing and maintaining the highest point you can, not the top, is the goal.
The “Battle” route lends a bit of strategy to the competition. Do you go for it? How much energy do you burn on it trying to get into finals? If you burn too much, will you have enough left for finals? If you flash the hardest redpoint climbs, how hard do you have to try to get that spot in finals?
There are 10 spots for men and women in finals this year. Two redpoint qualifying rounds with 40 competitors max in each. You might flash the hardest redpoint routes, but you won’t have any idea what the high point is for the other redpoint round. That’s exciting.
We hope to see all 80 spots filled for this comp. We’re giving $750 to 1st, $350 to 2nd, $150 to 3rd. And, the coveted trophies with the golden, silver, and bronze Black Diamond draws. If you don’t want to compete, we invite you to come watch finals. You can grab a bite or a beer from the Ute & Yeti, head out to the floor, and watch the many talented climbers show us how it’s done in finals. We’ll have a raffle, per usual, thanks to our awesome sponsors, where you can win draws, ropes, grigris, and more.
We hope to see you there!