The 2011 edition of ABS Nationals is in the books with Alex Puccio and Sean McColl winning the event in exciting fashion. In case you missed it here a few posts from over the weekend to get you caught up:
- 2011 ABS 12 National Bouldering Championships Qualifier Results
- Live Blogging Coverage Of 2011 ABS 12 National Bouldering Championships Finals
- 2011 ABS 12 National Bouldering Championships Final Results
Of particular interest if you are looking for a blow-by-blow recap would be the live blog post in which I tried my best to keep up with the action as it unfolded. Climbing Magazine also has a recap of how each problem went on their website.
There has been a lot of reaction in the comments of a few of those posts with people registering their opinions on all aspects of the comp from the scoring system, the rules governing who makes it to finals as well as numerous comments about the broadcast. I’d like to thank everyone for sharing their opinions. I know the guys from ne2c are absolutely reading what you are saying, and they are absolutely using your feedback to help shape future broadcasts so keep it coming.
From my point of the view the comp seemed like a success. The fact that it was even broadcast for everyone to watch was a big improvement. While there are many thoughts I have about the event I thought I’d just share a couple of things I thought went well and a couple of things that could use some improvement.
What went right
Compared to years past which saw the event held in gyms like The Spot that weren’t really designed for holding large events the move to hold the comp in a large warehouse was a big plus. The Vertical Solution walls that were built for the event looked great and they allowed for each gender’s finals problem to be climbed side by side which made spectating easier, at least for those of us watching at home.
For those of us watching at home the live broadcast has improved greatly compared to prior years. The use of things like replay and a separate booth of commentators instead of the house MC gave the event a much more polished look and sound. The rotating cast of co-hosts that joined host Jason Danforth in the booth was a nice touch as well, particularly Christian Griffith who I thought added a great deal of insight with his comments.
What needs work
The one main critique I have had in the past and continue to have is about the “zone hold” scoring system used. I’m not sure what the correct answer is since all scoring systems have their drawbacks, but as Peter Beal points out in his recap of the event the scoring system used for ABS Nationals that:
seems to reward competitors for calling it quits halfway through a problem is not going to bring out the best from the athletes. Given the small number of holds, a point system that rewards real effort and close efforts up high on the problem should be workable. The bonus hold system appears to treat all efforts between the bonus hold and the top as the same and that doesn’t seem right.
There was also a real problem keeping viewers informed about where climbers stood after each round of climbing concluded. A leaderboard was shown after the first round but unless I missed it this was the only time such a thing was shown. A couple of mentions were made about who was in first as the event progressed but it was unclear, for example, what each climber needed to do on the final problem to have a chance to win. To make matters worse, the broadcast ended without even announcing any of the standings other than who won, and apparently not many people stuck around to see the awards handed out in person either.
Athletes & Setters
Here are some of the posts from competitors and route setters about the comp:
- Men’s winner Sean McColl wrote a great blog entry detailing his progression through each round of the comp. On winning he had this to say, “Words can’t really explain how happy I felt, or maybe my English vocabulary just isn’t varied enough but I felt like I was walking on the moon.”
- B3Bouldering’s Jamie Emerson has an excellent blog entry up from the route setter’s point of view
- 7th place finisher Kasia Pietras calls the comp “one of the best” she’s ever been to
- Alex Johnson, 2nd place finisher and U.S. National Champion for the men, writes on his blog saying “[I] cannot describe to you how ecstatic I was when I had found out that I had placed 2nd in the 2011 Open ABS Nationals”
- 14th place finisher Dave Wetmore offers up his opinion on the comp
- Jon Glassberg pulled double duty finishing 23rd in the comp and taking pictures and editing a highlight reel of finals
And finally, here is some media of the event (if you see something I missed let me know in the comments and I’ll add it):