Sam Hayden on the climbing course.
KILLINGTON—Killington Mountain School student-athlete Sam Hayden traveled to Glastonbury, Conn., on Friday, Jan. 8 for the USA Climbing ABS divisional championships for bouldering. The competition is a two-day, onsite competition with the best climbers from the Northeast competing for six spots in each age group, all aiming to qualify for national championships in February.
Day one consisted of the 20 athletes in each age group who had qualified in December’s regionals, climbing four problems each. The top ten athletes in each group moved on to the finals on Sunday. Sam Hayden had a great warm up session in isolation and came out climbing hard, flashing both problems one and two. Problem three was an exceedingly hard compression problem, which none of the competitors topped. Hayden got about two thirds of the way up, which was higher than most of the rest of the field. Problem four was a balancy slab problem with almost no hand holds, requiring precise, delicate footwork. Hayden reached the finish but was unable to control and match on the finish holds. This was enough to place Hayden fifth for Saturday and move him into the finals round on Sunday.
Sunday’s finals consisted of three boulder problems with four minutes to climb each, and four minutes’ rest between each. The running order for Sunday was reversed. After an hour of warming up, Hayden was called to climb. His first problem involved some power moves to establish himself on the top of a wooden volume. From there he had to dyne almost seven feet and catch two small screw-on crimps on the top of another volume and then make a large move to the finish. After a couple of tries, Hayden dialed in the beta and stuck it on his first attempt. Problem two was incredibly hard, and Hayden got to a high point on attempt number two; that was as high as he could get. Problem three was a slab problem with only wooden triangle volumes for holds. Many of the competitors couldn’t grab them and were slipping off the problem. Hayden flashed it on his first try!
Hayden finished out the day in fourth place in the most competitive division in the country and now moves on to the national championship in Madison, Wis. during the first week of February.