Recently, Touchstone staff member and climber Jaime Quintana headed to the Bouldering World Cup. Quintana has participated in a number of other international competitions. Last year, he traveled to Paris for the World Cup, where he competed in lead climbing and speed climbing. He also traveled to Venezuela to compete in the IFSC PanAmerican comp. The strong competition climber wrote a bit about his experience climbing with some of the best climbers in the world.
On June 5th, I headed to the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado to represent Peru in my very first IFSC Bouldering Word Cup. Many of world’s best competitive boulders were also participating – Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson, Sean McColl, and Kilian Fischhuber to name a few. I knew from experience that I needed to be in great shape to compete with these guys, but a mistake by any one of them could allow me to have a shot at making the semi-finals.
This was my fourth time to Vail, but my first time visiting in the summer. I was stoked to be back and other than a short technical meeting on the 6th, I got to spend my entire first day there relaxing and checking out the events at the GoPro games. I also paid close attention to my body during this day to see how it would adjust to the elevation change. Even after eight years in the states, my body can adjust quickly to these changes. Being in the mountains, whether in California or Colorado, reminds me of being home in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca and helps me feel calm and relaxed.
On qualifier day, all competitors were required to be in isolation by 1:15pm. I was competitor number 39, which meant I wouldn’t be competing until 6pm that night. Five hours in isolation can mess with your mind. You can be super psyched to climb, but hours of waiting takes away your motivation and leaves you feeling tired and sleepy. I had the advantage of a good night’s sleep and my body adjusting quickly to the elevation change, but I was certainly at a disadvantage when it came time for me to qualify. The holds were slippery and my body and mind were agitated after hours of waiting. I knew that I needed to top out on the first problem to get my head in a good place. I almost flashed the first route and secured the bonus, but my subsequent tries were not successful. I finally figured out the proper beta to send this problem, but with only seconds remaining on the clock, I ran out of time. I knew that unless I was able to send three out of the four problems that were left, I wasn’t going to make it to the semi-finals. I tried my best to top out or at least make it to the bonus holds, but like so many other competitors that day, I found myself struggling to make it up the artificial wall.
I didn’t make it to the semi-finals at this World Cup, but I feel that I learned so much from this experience. I am very proud that I pushed myself, competed, and did my best. I feel that I am now armed with the knowledge and skills to get my body and mind prepared to crush at my next Bouldering World Cup – and I can’t wait!
Thanks to everyone who competed and to my friends for their support. Also, a special thanks to TOUCHSTONE CLIMBING & FITNESS for making this trip a reality. Your ongoing sponsorship and support have made once-in-a-lifetime experiences like this one possible.
Quintana will be traveling to Peru for six weeks where he plans to explore, boulder, open new routes, and climb some of Peru's largest peaks.