Jimmy Webb Wins Dominion River Rock
This past weekend I took a trip down to Richmond, VA for my second Dominion River Rock competition. This event last year was one of my all time favorite comp experiences and this time, even with the harsh weather, was even better! The format this year consisted of 4 rounds total with only 1 boulder/route in each round. Qualifiers 1 was Friday evening followed by Quali 2, Semi Finals, and Finals all going down on Saturday.
Qualifiers 1 route was on the infamous ‘star wall’. We went out for the 5 minute preview and from what I could tell the boulder didn’t look too bad. It began with a few easier crimp moves straight into a double dyno to a massive undercling half way up the wall. From here the crux began. You had two massive teknik slopers side by side and two more pinches just above that. When I arrived at the crux I grabbed the first sloper and it felt good. I got a bicycle on the big jug and maneuvered my way up the remaining slopers to the finish. After qualifiers 1 I was tied for 1st with 4 other climbers.
Qualifiers 2 was on the long wall. It was basically a route. During the preview I could figure out the beta quite easily but I knew my lack of endurance would keep me from getting to the top. The route kind of snaked its way out the cave up climbing, then down climbing. It was an interesting route and unfortunately I read the intended sequence correctly. 3 or 4 competitors discovered a dyno method that skipped around 11 or 12 moves and really made it less of route and more like a boulder. I still managed to make it a decent way out the route falling right in the middle of the crux section. 4 other competitors made it further but no one was able to finish the beast. So going into semi’s, after a combined score with Qualies 1, I was sitting in 4th place.
Semi’s were 2 hours later and we were back on the star wall. The boulder was super powerful and very straight forward. I knew that I could do it but things didn’t seem to work out in my favor. On my first attempt I fell pretty high on the route on what everyone thought was the crux move. A somewhat awkward off balance slap off a undercling crimp to a bad sloper. After this I knew that I could do it I just needed to rest. So I sat down for almost the remainder of my time in hopes of giving it one more good attempt. Unfortunately though on my next try my foot slipped off just before entering the crux. I looked at the clock and only had 30 seconds for another attempt. I jumped on real quick but was just too tired and pumped from the previous round. I was definitely disappointed with my performance in semi’s and knew that the next round was going to be tough. Going into Finals I was sitting in 3rd.
Our finals route was again on the long wall.. At this point after 2 hard rounds I was pretty tired and knew that my endurance was not going to be good. We walked out for the preview and to be honest my jaw dropped. It was yet another snaking route to what looked like a heinous hard and cryptic crux at the finish. I sussed out my beta and was dead set on the sequence. Going back into isolation I already felt defeated. So many of the other competitors were in really good enduro shape and i knew my chances of winning were slim. For my warm up I focused on my breathing and trying to get a slight pump before I went out. My expectations were super low and to be honest I think that was a good thing. I went out to sit in the chair and while I was waiting to go I could here the crowd going crazy. Vasya Vorotnikov (a very experienced and amazing comp climber) was on the wall and from what I could tell it seemed like he got highpoint. Not sure where he had fallen but I assumed it was probably somewhere in the crux, or maybe even just above. I sat there and just tried to focus. I kept telling myself to remember to breathe, and climb as fast and fluid as possible. My time came and I turned around and looked at the route. I re sussed my beta one more time and knew that since the route was so long I would only have 1 good try. I pulled off the ground and climbed fast. I made my way through the bottom and arrived at the rest jug just before the crux feeling ok. A little pumped yes, but not terrible. I hung there for about a minute trying to recover and relax. Staring over at the crux to come I gathered my beta and went for it. The crux went out to two decent edges and then down around the bulge to two massive pinches. From here you throw toe hooks on a sloper and begin compressing this massive feature with terrible slopers on each side. I hit the first side of the feature with my left hand and pulled into a heel hook I found under the roof. I slowly drew the toe hook out and squeezed as hard as I could. The next move was hard and It was all I had to stick it. Once I did the crowd erupted and in a split second I knew that I had just made high point. I cut my feet and slapped them back on the wall and made just 2 more moves before I fell. Absolutely pumped out of my mind I knew I was done. I gave the route one more quick try but fell below my highpoint. I waved to the crowd and joined some friends below the wall. There were two more competitors to go: Michael Orourke and Rob D’anastasio. These 2 are very good competitors and could easily take the win. I yelled and gave them support as they gave their attempts. Rob was first to go and he got really close to my high point but fell just shy. Then it was Michael’s turn. This kid is ridiculously strong and i was nervous. He gave it one really good attempt and when he arrived at the crux he didn’t even look tired. He went out to the big pinches, cut his feet and attempted a heinous campus move to match. The campus was just too much for him to hold this late in the day and he fell. I couldn’t believe it. For the 2nd year in a row I had won!
Overall the comp was an amazing experience and has gotten me motivated to train harder and continue pushing myself. I have yet another competition next weekend in Boston and although it’s a sport comp, I’m excited about it. After that I’ll hang out in Boston for another 2 days and will be heading out to the real stone! Comps are always an interesting experience but my true love in rock climbing is out in nature. Can’t wait!
Cheers ~ Jimmy Webb, prAna Ambassador
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