Gravity Brawl 2008 Wrap-up

Gravity Brawl 2008

Photo: Tim Kemple

At the end of March, the 2008 Mammut Bouldering Championships Pro Tour got underway with Gravity Brawl ’08 at the New Jersey Rock Gym. Overall the event sounded like a resounding success with Matt Bosley winning for the men and Paige Claassen winning for the women.
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Here are a few links to wrap everything up:

After you digest all that, I’m wondering how people feel about the direction indoor comps are heading (or trying to head). Do you like the emphasis on creating a spectacle or show out of the climbing or do you prefer when the climbing speaks for itself?
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Will climbing comps ever appeal to a mainstream audience? Register your thoughts below…

Posted In: Competitions, From The Narc, Gravity Brawl, Mammut Bouldering Championships
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6 Responses to Gravity Brawl 2008 Wrap-up

  1. project abandoner April 18, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    i think it would be horrid to be climbing under blasting techno with an announcer chanting my name.  big indoor comps don’t look like they would be particularly fun to attend either.  of course, i’m a ‘scene hater’ so what do I know… (something about 150 people in puffy northface jackets and prana beanies sitting in the cold waiting to watch indoor climbing strikes me as unappealing).personal preference aside, i think the spectacle route is the best way to go if one wanted to popularize comp climbing.  i mean, i’ve had to turn my college classroom into a spectacle in order to get my students to even show up (strobe lights make learning fun), so it doesn’t seem odd that climbing comps would be going in the same direction.  if they sold beer and foam “sharma” fingers, i think climbing would be on ESPN in no time. 

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  2. Tony April 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    The last two comps I’ve been to the beer was free.

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  3. Rhoads April 18, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    I just had a huge success with a comp format where the goal was to climb as many routes or boulder problems as possible in 2 hours. I chose the finals by asking anyone who was interested in finals to write down their hardest send of the day. We did not close down prior to the comp to set and only did a little extra setting in the prior week. What was so great here was that anyone could compete and not feel outclassed if they didn’t climb hard. The finals were a show. I threw in people I thought should be in finals even though they didn’t turn in a score card cause they were trying to be modest (Thanks Pi, Simon, and Hefty!) In short it was a laid back comp. The beer and food was free!I get VERY turned off at overly competitive comps where kids and their moms are freaking out, there are so many people you only get one shot at the route, and the techno is giving me a headache. That’s not what climbing is about.If you are talking about the “mainstream audience” and you mean Nascar watchers or Baseball fans I say fuck them. They aren’t climbers and they will only bring our pastime down to the sludge of entertainment these sports and their like dish out on a daily basis. If “mainstream” means regular or occasional climbers that just haven’t stepped up to the next level I say we should make the comps more accessible to the common climber and keep comps a fun gathering or show.Also, our comp made us no money, we gave it to charity, I wish I would see this more often.

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  4. Max April 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    From a competitor/setter standpoint, the mammut comps are waaaay more
    entertaining/fun to climb in/well run than any other type of big
    competition such as ABS nationals or the teva games. Also, the crowds
    at these comps are a heck of a lot more psyched then the crowds at
    these other events. Makes it nice when you come out for finals and
    people are actually cheering rather then just watching quitely. Keep it
    up, Pete.

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  5. The Narc April 21, 2008 at 6:49 am #

    Rhoads – I don’t think your comp format is for everyone but I have always enjoyed them…some of the more fun comps I’ve done.  I also like the idea of giving back the proceeds from the comps to access initiatives.

    Max – It is good to hear that competitors are liking the amped up format.  I thought that the atmosphere at ABS Nationals this year was pretty similar and people were pretty psyched but that is the only big comp I have attended so I’m not sure how it compares with other events.

    Tony – Free beer is nice at comps except when there is only 1 restroom and zero room to physically move about the venue to access said bathroom.

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  6. cultureshock April 23, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    I think that Max put it perfectly. It is the crowd that makes the gravity brawl’s so fun. I know that some people are averse to cheering and the loud music but I love having people believe in me and it helps me send.

    I have been to the last two bouldering nationals and the gravity brawl in 06 and 07. At the gravity brawl the crowd really does go wild. The problems are sick, every one up close at the NJRG and knowing the “score” does help. The bouldering nationals are fun but I like the addition of having Jason on the mike. I can still remember last year when D Woods flashed the 3rd problem and P Rob had fallen off problem 4 giving Daniel a chance to win. Everyone wanted to see the last problem sent since Daniel was the only one to send problem 3. SO MUCH ENERGY!!

    It will be interesting to see what happens at the WC in Vail…. Hopefully it will be a good show!

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