On Thursday, Nov. 29, UVU students, climbers and spectators gathered at the climbing wall in the Student Life and Wellness Center for one of the many climbing competitions put on by the UVU Outdoor Adventure Center this season. Dubbed the “Utah Valley Uprising Climbing Competition,” Guy Macatee took first place.

The competition boasted of acceptance for all climbers of all levels and the opportunity to  test their skills in a fair, rule-based climbing competition. The rules allowed for an hour of climbing time, 22 different routes and volunteer judges to certify when a climbing route had been completed. Each of the 22 routes were designed by route setters, like Lucas Wild, a student employee at the rock wall. Wild and others spent a full week clearing the bolt-driven handholds among the wall and rebuilding routes on the walls for a completely new climbing experience for each competitor ensuring that no climber have a fore-known advantage on how to climb the routes.

Several constraints  pushed the mental and physical stamina of these climbers. Competing in three sets, climbers were given one hour to amass the highest number of points on their score sheet. Climbers could amass a greater amount of points by climbing the more difficult routes. The climber with the greatest accumulation of points won the competition. 

Mack Riffel, a student at UVU receiving his certification in basic Emergency Medical Training and a climber in the first round, said that one of the hardest sections required a mentally challenging move in climbing called a “dyno.”

A dyno  is an ascent that requires the climber to leave the rail of the rock they are currently climbing and catch ahold of a new face, with a vertical leap that leaves them suspended in air as they try and grab a hold of the new rock face.

“[Dynos] are more of a mental move than a physical move, [because] for a lot of people [they] are just scared of coming off the wall,” Riffel said.

Riffel made two attempts at the dyno leap, succeeding on his second try. “This dyno in particular was a bit weird because most dynos are a bit higher up so you have to jump up. This one was jumping 90 degrees out,” Riffel said.

While the dyno route was a challenging route, the most difficult route, totaling at 580 points, was  “black-rock.” Only a few climbers dared to ascend this hard venture, due to its technical difficulty and long time requirements.

Towards the end of the competitive set, the dominating sound of hand slapping on rock, strained grunts and moans and a few expletives from falls gave way to the the lull of laughter and care-free music.

Photography by Johnny Morris

Instagram: @_johnny.morris_