Saturday, 15 June 2013

The World Cup In Toronto (Hamilton)

The Crew on the Friday before the day of qualifiers
Alright so its been about a week and a bit since I got back from the maddness that was SETTING A WORLD CUP! That's right, no big deal right, I'm only still slightly loosing my mind about it. I should say that everyone in my life did put up with me ranting, raving and generally being incredibly annoying about how psyched I was once I found out about this so all of you, you know who you are, thanks for putting up with me.

The next thing I will warm you all about is this is the mother of all blog posts for me. This thing has been three days of writing and suffering and sifting through pictures. I appreciate that you even read this section, but be prepared, its lengthy and full of spelling errors. I apologize and if you read the whole thing you're a hero, also, maybe, bored. This was literally one of the coolest things I've ever done and right now, the high point of my career as a setter, so that's why this thing is so long. You've been warned and again, thanks for reading.

So, I left on the Friday night to head back to my home town, Newmarket, which is only an hour away from Toronto. I went, hung out with my rents, saw some friends from the area that I never see cuz I live in Vancouver now and before I knew it, I was in Hamilton. I was joined by two other Canadians to fill out the crew, Simon Parton, who for those of you keeping track, I did set the Abbotsford (Project Climbing Center) Tour De Bloc with him, and Jody Miall, who I've done so many comps with that I've lost count.. The three of us would be the Canadian contingent of setters that would be put to work by two IFSC route setters.

Now if you get the chance to see this live, then you wouldn't even believe how big of an operation this whole comp was and right now I'll throw a giant shout out to Luigi Montilla that man must have worked his butt off for this to happen. There were giant bleachers that got set up (I have a picture of them somewhere...) Getting the setting crew and all the holds sponsorship, the use of the gym (which was Gravity by the way.) All these things plus I'm sure a billion things I didn't even know about I'm sure, got organized by Luigi. The reason I'm ranting about all of this is because, yes, I want to give Luigi mad props of course, but also to point out that with all of these things that the final product is dependent on, something is bound to go wrong.

So the first glitch would come from no ones fault, but Jamie Cassidy, the IFSC Chief, was a day late due to plane problems. So when we started on the Monday before the comp at 8 am in the morning, we met Martin Hammerer (he ended up being Chief in Vail the following weekend) for the first time.
So this is Martin, no I didn't get a better pick of him, he's a very talented Austrian route setter and since Jamie didn't arrive on the Monday because his plane issue, we all differed to Martin's knowledge and planning. My understanding of how many days you get to set a world cup, from Martin and Jamie, is usually you get 3, sometimes 4. We were given 5 days, so of course, this meant that our first day without our chief, wee would take an easy day and then, and this is what we said all of Monday, "Jamie will fix it." The first day concluded with the four us setting a women's and men's qualifier bloc each.

Now I know what you're thinking, I can hear it cuz I'm thinking it too; 8 blocs in one day set by 4 setters, that mean's you each did two blocs...yup you're correct. My first day setting for a world cup I set 2 blocs and I'm so damn proud of those two blocs. In case you're curious, those two blocs were women's qualifier number 5 and Men's qualifier number 3. The rest of women's qualifiers looked like this:
Anna Stohr on Martin's Q1.
For Q1, Martin created this really cool almost slabby bloc involving a crazy lean over from the corner and catch a gaston and mantel press to oppose it and keep you on the wall. The finish of this bloc was pretty interesting too, forcing competitors to press on a sloper in the roof.
Alex Puccio on Q2 and Anna on Q3
Q2 was Jody's bloc. I'd like to point out the giant volcano hold that none of us wanted to use, at one point we even hid it in the hold room but somehow (*ahem* Luigi) it made its way up to the bouldering wall and then onto this problem. Sigh.
Q3 was set by Jamie on the Friday before, since he wasn't there the first day and climbed out the right side of the steepest section of the wall. The powerful moves out the roof, led the a really hard section on jugs, yea you read that right, finishing on some very slopy holds.
Akiyo Noguchi finishing Q4
Q4 was the coolest bloc of the round for sure, in my opinion. Simon set some crazy funk, using an insane amount of volumes. This was also the hardest bloc of the round I feel but such a cool bloc, mad props to Simon for this.
Anna on Q5
Q5 was set with the intention of some tensiony moves on slopers (yes the slopers were probably a poor decision due to the insane heat during the qualifier round. Oh yea, if you didn't know, it was stupid hot and ridiculously humid all week setting and the day of qualifiers. I found this incredibly ironic since it snowed at the last world cup in Canada.) I used two Friction Chrome Domes and then Friction Augments on the volumes. If you haven't gotten a chance to climb on/use those holds, they're so sick! I managed to secure a set for the Hive, thanks Luigi
Sean On Q1
So men's quali number one was set by Simon and, as I learned from setting this comp with him, Simon has an addiction to Volumes, included an obscene amount of volumes. Jamie and Martin did decide that we would reuse volumes but here's a little bit of fun fact for you guys. We were given a total of 28 volumes from Motivation Volumes and surrounding gym's of the area. Out of this, by the end of setting the first day, Simon had managed to use 22. Jamie actually cut him off of using volumes by the third day. Just sayin, Simon likes his volumes.

This is also the portion of the day where my camera ran out of batteries so no more pictures from the men's qualifier. Yup, terrible descriptions are the future of this post till we get to semis. So Q2, Jamie's bloc, started with a dyno to two scooped features, then crushed out some funky screw on pinches on an arete to a sloping finish. 

Q3 was mine and I wanted to create a very american style of bloc. Big thuggy moves out the roof two a foot first style move, that Sean managed to break, but you got on an undercling and gaston in the roof and swung your foot on to a volumes with three slopers on it, using those slopers and a heel out further for your right foot, you pulled on to those slopers and then a big move up to a volumes with two bad screw ons on it that you eventually used to get a really insecure wrap. Using the wrap you can't a side pull sloper and then the finish. 

Q4 was Martin's and was completely heinous. SMALL, TINY, DISGUSTING crimps, did I mention they were awful, led to a really hard, shouldery and slopey holds, which were also disastrously bad, to finish. Hard. That's the word I would use to describe this; HARD.

Q5 Was set by Simon and Martin and involved some hard moves on crimps screwed onto a Teknik Mathematic and a Svelt Pinches. Eventually you got set up on two crimps, to cross over double clutch dyno to two slopers on a volume and then a hard, low percentage move to finish over the lip. 

The Hive's Own Mile's Adamson on S1 and Meagan Martin on S1 
So I'll try to rifle through these really quickly. We all agreed that Men's qualies worked out really well and we're the perfect difficulty. The women's on the other hand, we were all a little shocked. The hardest bloc, number 4, only saw two sends and also, to get to semis you needed 1 top and  1 bonus. The eventual feeling was that it was just a little too hard. So we toned down some of the women's blocs.

Men's Semis #1 was my favourite of the round. Set by Martin this thing started with some weird balance, as you can see Miles working it out. You popped to the zone hold and then had to do a really cool bad tension (meaning reaching pushing with the same foot as the hand you're reaching with) to do a one-two catch of two opposing gastons to a surprisingly hard last move to a jug. 

Women's Semi #2 was set by Jody and I, sloping holds up a slightly blunted arete. This was easily the easiest bloc of the round and only saw one person not send. 
Julia Wurm on Semis #2
 Women's number two saw the most interesting use of a giant jug I have seen in a long time. That big blue hold that Julia has her foot on is a giant, massive, tongue jug. It's literally almost two feet long. Seriously. When we pulled it out of the box, we stuck it almost right where it is, except it was underneath the lip of the roof, jutting out as a giant ledge. Everyday, one of us moved it to a different, weird position until Martin finally put it there. We actually joked that that hold was just going to stay on the wall and we would just black tape it for different rounds. Anyways, the bloc started with foot first to the giant jug that you ended up doing two or three hand reconfigurations (I know that's not a word) before pulling the lip on thin crimps to pop for a bad finishing hold. I'll give Martin credit, the girls do like to heel hook on the smallest, tiniest holds. 

Men's Semi #2 was set by Simon and was just plain hard. It climbed out the roof, unfortunately I don't have a good pic of it but it involved long moves on really, not so great holds. Catching the sloping ledge on the lip lead to very small crimps on the head wall. 
Julia on S3
Alright so Women's #3 was mine, I only used 7 volumes, and I would like to point out that this was set before Martin did his foot first start. Just saying. Yes I know that the start was foot first, just like Martin's, but my came first. So there. After you used the toe hooks to gain a match on that triangle volume, you made a big move to a pinch and got another triangle volume as an undercling. This lead to a big cross to a gaston that you needed to really focus on keeping the tension so that you could float out to an undercling. From this position you set up and just throw for the finish. 
Sean finishing Semi #3
Men's number 3 was a Jody Miall bloc that involved a really tricky use of a blunt corner. A hard start on a volume lead to tensiony moves on sloping holds that involved you toe hooking this blunted arete, you can see Sean using that toe all the way to the finish. It doesn't show it in the picture but the moment before this pic was taken you could actually feel how stressed the crowd was for Sean as he felt around, blind, for that finishing hold, because Sean almost reached past that black tape there.

Both semis number 4s were set by our fearless leader, Jamie. The Women's bloc saw more sloping holds in a corner leading to a blind toss to the finishing hold on a volume. The Men's bloc involved the men using sloping underclings with horrendous feet to stab a slot. After gaining the slot, a hard sloper led to a blind toss to the finishing hold. 

Semis turned out to be just a little too easy for the women but the men's breakdown actually went along perfectly. 

These are the epic bleachers during their construction

Oh man it's almost over. If you're still with me you're a true hero and you're more than likely at work reading this. Whatever your choice is for keeping going, you're awesome. So as I said before, we agreed that the Men's category was completely well broken down and needed no tampering, to that end, we didn't touch a single thing in Finals for the guys. The women on the other hand....well, its not like we were sitting pretty. There was one tie headed into finals for third place, between Alex Puccio and Shauna Coxsey. Needless to say from the Canadian Setting contingent, we didn't want our second World Cup in Canada to go to count backs. I'm pretty sure Martin and Jamie didn't want that either. So we made a fairly large tweak to Women's number four, I won't tell you what we did but we did tweak it.
Jacob Schubert and Momoka Oda on Finals #1
So we'll start with the Ladies first finals. Simon set some weird funky corner craziness for the women that involved a lot of trust on your feet and some really wonky opposition. You can see in the photo above, Momoka working through the first press to gain the zone hold. From there the women were forced to turst their feet on this heinously sloping foot to stand and get the Teknik Pinchetite in the roof which would then lead them to the finishing hold.

On the Men's side, Martin made the boys do an awkward sideways dyno on crimps, to stick to really wide pinches. A hard press up move on the smallest footholds ever (above) led to matching two slopers and going to a good finish. I'm pretty sure all the guys sent this. I will point out that while setting qualifiers, the bouldering wall at Gravity felt giant but once we had to have 8 blocs on this wall, it felt a little tight, nothing detrimental but I will say that there was only couple of times where we were all feeling a little squished.
Shauna up high on finals #2
Women's two (Jamie) found the girls crimping hard with a significantly hard pull to a gaston with a very sloping foot hold. The other hard move of this bloc was the last move that made the girls make a blind though to a small crimp. This made many of the girls frustrated and got us a good portion of the separation that we needed. There was a collective sigh of relief from Jody and I when this bloc was finished.

Jorg into the business on finals #2
 For Men's number two, Martin had cooked up a very difficult to read bloc that saw two of the men try insane beta that, although it didn't work, was very inventive. Above you can see Jorg getting into the hard dihedral moves that characterized this entire bloc. From Jorg's position you would gain two slopers that you can't see and controlled a very hard foot release that lead to matching the sloper around the corner. The last move of this bloc was no give me either. A very cool bloc, something I would have never thought of and very unique.

Akiyo going for the last move on Finals #3
Simon set yet another volume heavy bloc for finals number three. Somehow he managed to score these volumes before Jamie cut him off. After gaining the two vertical volumes, you made a hard move to gain the volume undercling. You can see above, Akiyo standing on that incredibly slopy volume while you stared down the last hold. I'm sure most of the women were hoping for a hero jug for the finishing hold. They were definitely disappointed. You'll notice in the picture above, that the finish to men's final #2 is really close to the finish of this bloc. We didn't think this was going to be an issue however, Alex Puccio managed to go left hand up to the finishing hold, and disregarding the match, threw out to the finish hold of the men's final. she did climb back to the correct finishing hold, gaining the top but the atmosphere within the gym when she climbed past the finishing hold.
Jorg finding the toe hook on Finals #3
Men's number three was of my setting and, although it was the only bloc in the comp that didn't get sent, despite both Jacob and Killian's best efforts, I still am really proud of this bloc, along with all the other blocs that were set for this comp, whether they were mine or not. We all had a hand in the fore running and tweaking of each bloc and thus the blocs, I feel, were more the comps and less each setters. The bloc started with the men facing out, towards the crowd, in a corner stem underneath the roof. You pawed your way, leaning out, to gain two crimps. From here, you cut your feet, still facing out, and campussed, or used a very tiny foot to go out to a very sloping hold on the front of the half ball in the roof. This is where a lot of the guys tried to just bump again to a set of small crimps. Jorg was the only one who found the toe hook. this is where most of the guys attempts ended as well, save for Jacob and Killian, who managed to secure the bonus hold and head to the terrible gaston for your left hand right at the arete. The men who tried to right hand up to this found themselves crossed up and further away from the finishing jug. If you got it as a gaston, then you moved out right to gain another side pull. This would allow you to flip your left around the corner to a really bad sloper to go to the finishing hold. Jacob was the closest to getting this bloc, and I was really happy with how it turned out, despite no sends.
Akiyo getting to the business on Finals 4
Ah the last two blocs. This has been an epic. I think my blog has never been open for so long and I know I haven't worked this hard on it in a while. I've just been keeping this one window open and walking by my computer from time to time trying to get this thing done. Ugh. Ok. Women's final number 4 was easily the hardest for all the women (well duh Dustin, only one of them sent it and it was the winner.) I know! Jody set a really cool bloc, climbing out the steepest section of this wall, using that feature that Akiyo is on. This bloc started on that dome feature and moved across that scoop style feature, its the Entreprise Taijitu by the way, into where Akiyo is right now. Now, for those of you who haven't seen this yet (I'll be leaving a link at the bottom for all the videos of each round) Akiyo managed to do the splits between the feature that she's on in the pic, and the scoop/urinal to match that feature, it was insane and epic and for the first time in a long time, I was motivated to start stretching (yes I know I should be stretching, shhh.) Alright so after that you gained the zone hold, which was a terrible sloper, and an undercling on the feature, you did a big move to a crimp that led to the feature and then a hard move to the finish. Only Anna was able to do this bloc, securing her the win in a, what I think was a come from behind victory.

Oh man, it's almost over, this big beautiful monster of a giant blog post. This experience was easily the highlight of my setting career so far and I did learn a lot, not just about the little nuances of putting up holds but also my concepts of what can be possible. Martin's men's semi number 1 was insanely awesome and I have never seen that kind of movement done. The stuff that both Martin and Jamie did in the corners was really cool, I've always felt that setting dihedrals has always been a big weakness (I know, we have tons of them at the Hive and I have been working on it.) so it was interesting to see what they came up with.

In the end, we got a really good breakdown, almost perfect in my opinion. Women's semis was aa little too easy but overall, a really good comp I feel. Very cool experience for myself, personally. Thank you to all of my sponsors including the Hive, all you had a huge role in getting me this far.

Alright, I'm out, the thinks are below, thank you for reading, stay psyche and I'll be periodically updating this with random shenanigans until the next comp season starts. Peace!

Men's Qualifiers
Women's Qualifiers

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is one of the most exciting pictures, i love it. Thanks for sharing!

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