The first thing learned in rock climbing is how to fall. In bouldering, a style of ropeless climbing, this lesson can, sometimes literally, make or break a climber. A local rock climbing gym is excited to host an upcoming two-day qualifier competition, where competitors will ascend up to 20 feet in the air without the assistance of ropes, on Oct 28–29.
The Boulder Yard, a rock climbing gym located in Frederick, is hosting the qualifier competition for the national rock climbing organization, USA Climbing, from 6:30 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday, at 5714 Industry Lane. This will be the third of four competitions the gym is hosting this year.
Steve Baranski, the owner of The Boulder Yard and the lead organizer for the upcoming competition, said that Saturday morning there will be three waves of USAC youth team competitions, running from 7 to 10 a.m., 11 to 2 p.m., and 3 to 6: p.m.
USAC divides the country into regions, with Frederick County falling inside region 81, along with most of Maryland, Virginia, and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. This is the third in a series of seven region 81 qualifier events available to the competitors, and the only one located in Maryland. Baranski says that USAC competitions [are the step] to the national and World Cup competitions.
After the youth team competitions, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. there will be a combined citizen and USAC collegiate competition, followed by finals at 10 p.m. for the previously mentioned groups. The citizen competition is open for anyone who wants to compete and has no restrictions on age or climbing experience. Registration for the citizens competition will run until the start of the competition, and can be found on The Boulder Yard website’s competitions page, which is under the MORE tab. The following day, on Sunday, there will be two waves of USAC recreational team competition, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and going until 12:00 p.m.
Baranski expressed excitement over Sunday’s recreational team competition, because he said it will be the first gym in the country to do the recreational team competition.
“We’re a test trial. We’re the first gym to try it out,” he said.
Baranski explained the recreational team is ages 5 to 18 who aren’t as serious as USAC youth team competitors, but who are still interested in competing.
Competitions are Baranski’s favorite part of indoor climbing, he said he loves the crowd, the atmosphere, and the energy when he was climbing in competitions. He said he worked hard to create a fun, relaxed, but still competitive atmosphere.
There will be food, alcoholic (for ages 21 and older) and nonalcoholic drinks. Because the event is so close to Halloween, Baranski encourages costumes by having the best costume prize and plans to wear a costume himself. He said he uses lights and music to create a fun and encouraging atmosphere during the finals competition.
Ada Steinberg, a previous year competitor for The Boulder Yard competition team, says that she enjoys competitions at The Boulder Yard because it feels laid back and not as intense as other competitions.
In preparation for the competition, the gym will be closed starting Monday, Oct 23, and will stay closed leading up to the competition on Saturday. The cost of registration for the citizens competition is $25, while spectator attendance to the entire event is free.
If you go:
What: USA Climbing qualifier
Where: 5714 Industry Lane, Frederick
Cost: Free – $25
Contact: 301-228-9368 / @TheBoulderYard (Instagram)/ @TheBoulderYard (Twitter/X)/ BoulderYardFrederickMD (Facebook)/ @theboulderyard6719(YouTube)