2011 ABS 12 Nationals Final Wrap-Up

2011 ABS 12 Nationals Final Wrap-Up

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:

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:


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):

Posted In: American Bouldering Series, Bouldering, News, Unified Bouldering Championships Pro Tour


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10 Responses to 2011 ABS 12 Nationals Final Wrap-Up

  1. jon February 16, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    y doesnt jimmy webb or vasya compete in these things? i mean first place was 10g’s.

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    • Narc February 16, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      Webb seemed to prioritize climbing outside but who really knows. Either way, first place was not anywhere close to $10K.

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    • understanding what's important February 16, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      There are lots of very strong people who don’t show up to these things. Either they work, can’t afford to get there, don;t want to risk injury for $1000 (which would not even pay to fix the injury) or simply don’t agree with the notion of climbing comps.

      Now if the prize was $10,000 I promise you’d have folks coming out of the woods to crush. Just like we will see come when climbing hits the summer games

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      • Narc February 16, 2011 at 11:33 am #

        I had these same thoughts yesterday watching a few of the old PCA comps on youtube. They had like a $20,000 purse and the field was stacked with the best Americans AND a handful of the best Europeans. Nowadays our comps do attract many (but not all) of the best U.S. climbers but generally very few international stars.

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  2. mark February 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    The other reason some strong climbers don’t show up is they don’t want to be embarrassed and finish in 20th place or worse. If Woods can finish 10th, and he was very well spoken and humble by the way, anybody could miss the semi-final cut. There are a lot of very good competition climbers in these events, so anyone not competing that thinks they could have done well is hear say…..

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    • db February 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

      The zone scoring seems to make the results something of a dartboard too. The climbing up to the zone was too easy, and virtually everyone scored the zone, and the tops were largely too hard and no one got them. So the only way to distinguish competitors was attempts to the top on the easiest problem, which again pretty much everyone got, and attempts to zones, which pretty much everyone got. High point, which would give points to the better climbers isn’t used.

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  3. Luke February 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Loved the live blog, which I read after the fact. Kinda cool to have a play by play of all the climbers and the problems. More photos next time!

    I would think there should be a way to capture the live feed so that people who missed it could watch it after the fact. The technology shouldn’t be too complicated. One could even upload it to YouTube to get around having to host such a huge file.

    While I realize that media and commentary takes time/money, it would have been good to have more insight into the Semi-Finals especially the problem that stumped DW.

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    • Narc February 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Given that semi-finals were taped it would have been cool for them to show a replay during finals of Woods’ attempt on the 3rd semi-final problem and maybe have him comment on what what went wrong.

      Glad you liked the live blog. I was not doing it my normal setup so my technical/multi-tasking abilities were a bit limited but I agree that more screen caps next time would be a plus.

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  4. Jonathan February 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    The live stream was great and the comp/problems looked top notch. A few things I would like to see changes in

    1)It is always exciting to watch the climbers climb the boulders…unless its the fourth or fifth climber and the first or second climber sent the boulder. Even as a climber, seeing the same boulder being climbed over and over again was a little repetitious. A greater amount of camera angles with close-ups included may help this.

    2) This may be because I am from the South and this kind of persona isn’t necessarily glorified here, but I found the announcer on the floor to be extremely annoying. So much so that it would make me second guess ever wanting to attend if I knew the announcer would turn out that way. I can’t imagine the climbers even enjoyed hearing all that banter and bro attitude in their ears while trying to flash v11. I apologize if the announcer was anyone’s close friend, or you yourself, but it is just not my style.

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  1. CityROCK - February 17, 2011

    […] In the end though, watching climbers battle it out on our climbs, in such a focused and determined way, makes it all worth it. In the mean time, check out this video from ABS Nationals and a good round-up of coverage over at climbingnarc.com. […]

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