A large crowd of parents, coaches, climbers and onlookers gather in the center of the Bend Rock Gym as Melina, a top female and overall competitor pulls, presses and grips her way up the 50-ft rock wall. She is poised to take first place at the SCS Local Competition—if she can make it to the top of this particular route. This route is considered the second hardest of the competition and has yet to see a single ascent. But Melina is climbing it with ease and its not before long that the crowd is cheering her along as she reaches the final holds of the route, guaranteeing first place at the competition.
Meanwhile, there are 49 other routes and approximately 100 other competitors either climbing or resting before there next climb. Teams from Portland, Spokane, Seattle and of course Bend have all come to participate in this friendly competitive event. For many of the climbers this is a stepping stone towards regional or even national competitions. But for most it’s about enjoying climbing and cheering each other on.
Parents and competitors alike show little stress or concern for the outcomes of their climbs. Sure, some climbers show disappointment but nothing seems to last longer than time it takes to tie-in for their next climb. Some parents are gathered along the bouldering mats eating boxed lunches and enjoying a relaxed view of the competition. Cheers flow easily from every corner of the gym and to every climber on the wall.