Triple Crown 2009

The highly anticipated finale to Triple Crown 2009 came off in style despite a reschedule to Sunday due to snow.  The white stuff began falling after midnight on Friday evening and continued until 9:30 on Saturday morning.   A slushy, wet 2 inches fell on the plateau, and even a dusting/soaking covered the Chattanooga Valley.

Volunteers rallied on Saturday in force to sweep snow and melt from the boulders, and to also build a much needed flagstone stairway in to the boulderfield, a site of many slips and falls over the past seven years.  Jim Horton (Triple Crown Co-Organizer) threw in his expertise (National Trail Building Medal was awarded to him in 2009) and with the help of perennial Triple Crown volunteers, a long stairway was completed in less than three hours.  With the clearing of the snow, the boulders were on their way to being completely dry by late afternoon, and perfect climbing conditions awaited competitors on Sunday-

Saturday Evening events were held as if there had been no delay.

Climbers arrived at Urban Rocks Gym by 6pm to BBQ, chips, and a tasty high gravity beer thanks to SoIll and First Avenue Rocks.  Each ‘plate’ was $10 with proceeds supporting Adam Henry’s new organization, the Alabama Bouldering Fund.

Dyno and Pad Stacking (think crate stack with crashpads) competitions held all attention through a large part of the evening.  As usual, Triple Crown also supported both the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Carolina Climbers Coalition with prizes for a raffle with proceeds going back to the respective organizations.  The Triple Crown also ran competitor raffles with several big prizes going out to folks for simply being present.  A good time was had by all!

Triple Crown also made an official donation to the Friends of the Cumberland Trail. This organization is dedicated to the sharing and preserving of the ecology, history and folklore of the Tennessee’s Cumberland Trail.  This trail system holds some of the best crags and boulders in the southeast including (BUT NOT LIMITED TO):  Buzzard Point, Laurel/Snow Bouldering and Crags, Suck Creek Crags, the Obed, Black Mountain, Devil’s Racetrack and many more!  Thanks to special support from Rock/Creek, Marmot, and Five Ten, the Triple Crown delivered a check totaling over $5,500!  In addition, Triple Crown competitors rallied with donations and memberships to the Friends of the Cumberland Trail to bring the total dollars raised to over $6,000!  This money will support the completion of the footbridge that will cross the beautiful Deep Creek Gorge in Northern Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Triple Crown also made the official donation to spearhead the purchase of a large portion of the Rumbling Bald Boulders in NC.  The extremely active Carolina Climbers’ Coalition recently inked a deal that will purchase many of the classic boulder problems at RB that actually lie on private property.  On Saturday evening, Triple Crown delivered a $5,000 check to Anthony Love, President of the CCC to support this purchase.

On to the Competition!

Sunday dawned just as expected, cold and very crisp conditions. Perfect for rock climbing.

Competitors arrived at Urban Rocks early, grabbed a quick breakfast bump from Five Ten, dropped off crashpads to volunteers, gathered climbing shoe demos from Evolv, Sportiva, and Five Ten and hopped on to buses by 8:30am for the short ride to Montlake.  With announcements already made, competitors filed off the buses, gathered pads and launched directly in to the boulder field for the session.

With perfect temps and conditions, competitor scorecards swelled with huge scores.

There were showdowns set in most categories:  See below for where the battles were taking place for Overall in each category.

Juniors-Ashley Donihee and Clarissa Sheltraw; Beginner Women-Rachel Gilson and Cody Roney; Beginner Men-Lee Brewington and Dustin Pohlman; Intermediate Women-Amelia Metcalf, Sarah Grainger, and Julia German; Intermediate Men-Conan Blakemore and Tanner Ayers;  Advanced Women-Natalie Hawley and Melanie Meinhart; Advanced Men-Shane Messer and Nick Hall; Stone Master-Hilary Cohen and Dan Hague; Ancient Hardperson-Brandt Sykes and Mike Bacon; Open Women-Kasia Pietras and Francesca Metcalf; Open Men-Jimmy Webb, Brion Voges, and Brad Weaver

In the Star Chaser Category (goal here is to climb as many classic problems as possible) Zak Roper stomped through the competition, and gathered an all time record 316 stars.  Congrats to him for climbing a bunch of SE classics!

In the Big Gun Categories, both Jimmy Webb and Kasia Pietras separated themselves from series competitors in dramatic fashion.  Jimmy posted the highest score on record in the series!! Kasia was able to pull away from Francesca Metcalf, and finished at the top of Women’s category.

Both Jimmy and Kasia are reigning King and Queen of Triple Crown 2009.  This is year two on top for Mr. Webb. Special thanks to both of them for digging in to their climbing reserves and putting on a show for everyone at the Dyno Comp on Saturday evening.

Click the link below to see the comprehensive scores to see how everything shook out in all categories at both Stone Fort and Triple Crown Overall.

In closing:

Each year, at every event, there is always an experience that perfectly expresses the spirit of this long-standing event (this was year 16 of Hound Ears and year number 7 of the Triple Crown)-

This year at the Stone Fort/LRC comp, that experience came from Jeff Drumm. Jeff is a Chattanoogan, but had moved away for several years to New Mexico.  He and his wife made a decision last year to move back with their child.

Jeff competed and won the Men’s Advanced Category at Stone Fort/LRC.  As is custom with Triple Crown events, a large prize package awaited Jeff on Sunday at the awards ceremony; a Marmot/Triple Crown Super Hero Jacket, a Mammut Skyline Courier Bag, and Five Ten Climbing Shoes.  When Jeff arrived to accept his prize, he immediately said to the organizers, “Thank you very much for the prizes but is there any way that I could get a copy of my scorecard.  I had the best bouldering day of my life, and I’d love to have that scorecard to remember this day by.” Simply perfect.  Special thanks to Jeff, and the many competitors (and volunteers!) at this event that carry such a positive outlook!

Click the link below for a full interview with Jeff at Rock/Creek’s Chronicle:

Thanks again to all of our sponsors.  Without their support this event would be impossible.  Each is an important and invaluable component to gaining and maintaining access to our many climbing resources in the Southeast.

Marmot, Rock/Creek, Chaco, Rock&Ice, Dead Point Magazine, Urban Climber, Climbing Magazine, First Avenue Rocks, Mammut, La Sportiva, Organic Climbing, Five Ten, Black Palm, Andrew Kornylak, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Metolius, Sterling Rope, Bluewater, Clif Bar, Goodhew, Urban Rocks, Evolv, Scarpa, Princeton Tec, VooDoo, Nemo Tents, Joshua Tree Products, Friksn, Prana, Dolomite Bags, Footsloggers, Moon and Black Diamond

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