SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sage Allen and two other members of the Green Mountain/Black River Rock Climbing Team competed at Bouldering Nationals in Utah at the National competition, Feb. 10-12, 2017. They beat competing climbers from all over New England to earn a spot in this competition.
Bouldering is different from sport climbing in many ways. The climbs are more technical, shorter at 15 feet, the climbers are not roped in, and walls have fewer holds. This is the first time in six years that Allen has competed in bouldering, but she’s glad to be back and looking forward to being in shape for sport climbing this spring. She hopes to compete at Nationals for sport climbing in June.
Allen has been climbing for ten years. She was inspired to climb by her older brother at 8 years old. She had been doing ballet, but tried climbing and fell in love with it instantly. He started climbing after going to birthday parties, and then joined a team to compete.
Allen said, “My brother and I are super competitive and he always pushed my to do my best.” Allen puts in the time and effort it takes to compete at local and state competitions, which is usually about two hours, three days per week at the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center in Rutland. She’s made it to Nationals at least twice, once for sport climbing and once for bouldering.
At Nationals, 500 climbers were divided by gender and into age brackets; Sage was competing against 49 other high school girls. There were at least 1,000 people there, watching in support of the climbers.
“I was so excited to climb. I felt no pressure, everyone was super nice and friendly,” Allen recalled. “You could go up to anyone and start a conversation with them even if you don’t know them. It’s a very fun and friendly atmosphere.”
In Allen’s 10 years of climbing experience, she’s learned about herself and the climbing community. She doesn’t regret any of her experiences or choices, and calls rock climbing her love and passion and her fellow climbers, her friends and family.
“It is its own community; everyone is so nice and friendly! Climbing is an amazing sport and I love everything about it. It takes my mind away from everyday life and stress and lets me focus on the ‘here and now.’ All I’m thinking about is the climb I’m doing and how I’m going to do it. Rock climbing has helped me take a step outside of my comfort zone and get to know myself. I think everyone should try it at least once!”