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CSU-Pueblo sends competitors to the national rock climbing competition

Thee CSU-Pueblo students will be at the national rock climbing competition in Melbourne, Fla. on April 20. Photo courtesy of

Colorado State University-Pueblo will be sending several students to Melbourne, Fla. to compete in the national rock climbing competition.

Nationals will take place on April 20 and the students will be leaving Colorado on April 18 to prepare for their competition.

To be eligible to compete in nationals, each student paid a fee, and needed to be a member of USA climbing in the Collegiate Climbing Series Division. They also had to compete in at least two competitions prior to nationals.

A few of CSU-Pueblo’s students have traveled and participated in several competitions around in the surrounding area this year.

“The last [competition] we did was in Gunnison which was two weeks ago and we have another coming up next week in Wyoming,” said Meagan Fenn, senior, health promotion major and qualifier for nationals.

In recent competitions, the students going to nationals have done well. Fenn placed second in Gunnison, Colo. and has placed in every competition she has climbed in this year.

Another national’s qualifier, Maddie Kasten, junior, community/commercial major, placed first in her first competition, second in the second and first again in her third competition of this year.

Fenn competed in nationals last year in Boston and gave a brief description of how the point system works: climbers take their best five routs out of both high rope and bouldering, and they are each given a number from judges on how well the rout is climbed depending on how long it took and how many times the climber falls.

A beginner would have a number around 900, and an advanced climber would have a number around 1600. The rankings of each climber are the cumulative number of points, after they are added together. Each climber will be climbing for individual and school team points.

“As a college our points are together and we receive points as a team,” Fenn said.

Josh Cordova, a senior health promotion major, has not been to nationals before and is looking forward to it. He has placed in competitions this year and achieved second place in Gunnison, Colo.

“All the competitions have been a lot of fun and I’m really excited to compete in nationals,” Cordova said.

When climbing top rope the difficulty ranking can be somewhat difficult to understand. All climbs that require ropes are belayed, and are ranked starting with a 5 and followed by a number and letters defining how difficult the climb is.

“The higher the number after the 5 shows how difficult the climb. A 5:10 is harder than a 5:9, and once you get into 5:10 you get alphabet letters to go after the numbers. A 5:10A is easier than a 5:10C. The most difficult climb goes up to 5:15 and the lowest is about 5:6,” Kasten said.

Kasten can comfortably climb a 5:10C, which is an intermediate climb, and will be what she will be climbing against 200 other competitors in nationals.

Fenn can also comfortably climb a 5:10CD and is working on advancing to 5:11 currently, but admits right now they are a little rough for her. Cordova is currently climbing somewhere between a 5:14 and a 5:15.

In addition, there is also the task of bouldering, which does not require any ropes or a belayer. For this, the climber must make it across the rock wall in the horizontal direction, instead of vertical.

Bouldering and high rope climbing are different and require different kinds of muscles and talents.

“Bouldering is more strength for me and I prefer the technique of high roping more,” Cordova said.

Although there is no lavish prize for winning at nationals, the experience and adventure will be enough to satisfy these CSU-Pueblo students.

If they choose, they can also submit works of writing to receive scholarships for next semester.