This post initially appeared on Science Blogs
It occurred to me after I posted my piece last week about rock climbing and arthritis that all of the photos of climbing were of men. This was purely coincidence - I was editing photos of last week's competition in reverse chronological order, and I'd only finished the photos of the Men's finals by the time I was done with the post.
But I think it's important to note how amazing the women were as well (and it gives me an excuse to post more of my photography). In fact, this year, I thought that the women's bouldering problems were more interesting, and better demonstrated the skill and power of these climbers.
Molly Gaynor on the first of the Women's finals routes
From the position you see here, the finalists had to scale to the top of that massive round thing with essentially nothing to hold on to. What you can't tell is that she's at least 15 feet off the ground.
Route 2 of the women's finals required a dyno (that's a move where all four points of contact leave the wall) for the first move.
Adriana Jacobsen - The starting place for this jump is the black pyramid you see in the lower right
From there, you actually have to traverse lower before dragging yourself up via some creative leg work...
Chelsea Rude on Route 2
... to finally reach the top by climbing the rear-sloped roof on tiny holds with ledges no more than a 1/2 inch wide.
Annalisa Flynn pinching the crap out of the holds on Route 2
On route 3, the climbers had to navigate out from underneath the low roof, hanging upside down holding crappy bars...
Kasia Pietras on Route 3 - every move this woman makes is calculated and gracful
... to get out onto the main wall, where all you have to hold onto are, well, imagine doing pull-ups while palming a basketball.
Megan Martin on route 3
Route 4, the last of the competition, was so crazy I'm just going to let pictures tell the story.
Chelsea Rude gets us started
Adriana Jacobsen does the upside-down ladder. Yes, that is the best way to do it
Annalisa Flynn gets out from under the roof
Chelsea Rude again, this time with the heel-hook
Angie Payne grabs the first of two terrible holds
And Megan Martin gets the other
Unfortunately, none of the women were able to finish this problem. I will say that they left these routes up for the public to try after the competition, and I was able to get about as far that first picture in this series - I grabbed the first hold, got my feet off the ground and promptly fell. I think that once I got my foot to touch the next hold, but that's about it. I'm a fairly fit guy and I climb several times a week, but I couldn't hold a candle to these phenomenal athletes.
To see these gals (and the guys as well) in action, check out the official video (the finals climbing starts around the 3 minute mark.
All photos in this post were taken by me and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
- Missing image: http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-sa/3.0/88x31.png | http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-sa/3.0/88x31.png