The Battle in the Bubble comp went off Saturday night in Boulder, CO and fans watching both online and in person at the Boulder Reservoir were treated to quite a show. The comp culminated in an exciting head to head finals with Daniel Woods besting Julian Bautista for the men and Alex Puccio snatching victory from a very game Angie Payne.
The format used differed from most climbing comps in that finals started with 10 climbers and after each problem some competitors were eliminated. As the night progressed the field was whittled down from the original 10 to 6 then to 4 then to 3 and then the final 2. The final 2 faced off in a “1st ascent” format where they traded off 5 attempts with the first climber topping out the problem winning the comp. This made for an exciting final, particularly on the women’s side, as Angie Payne nearly sent on 2 consecutive attempts as Alex Puccio initially struggled before latching the finish hold to secure the win. Daniel Woods had things well in control on the Men’s side, setting an early highpoint of the last hold that Bautista could never match. (Similar to ABS Nationals this year, Woods sent the problem after the comp ended had been decided)
While exciting to watch, the online broadcast was not without its problems. The audio was off the entire night, first behind by 10 seconds and then ahead by a few seconds. There was also a lot of downtime during the comp pushing the running time to over 2 and a half hours (and the end time to almost 11 pm CST) which was a bit too long for me. The resolution of the live feed was also lacking which made the high quality (and much appreciated) graphics used on the feed very difficult to read.
Despite theses drawbacks I think the Battle in the Bubble was another step in the right direction as far as broadcasting comps to the masses is concerned. The problems were exciting to watch, the action was easy to follow and there were plenty of positive developments to build on for future comps.
Additional reviews of the event from people who attended are available at The Spot’s Blog, B3Bouldering and Mountains & Water. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you were at the comp or watched online.
I’ll be sure to update this post with any additional reviews or media as they become available…
Update: There was a slight mix up with the initial results I posted. Chauncenia Cox actually finished in 4th followed by Flannery Shay-Nemirow and not vice versa.