The Earth Treks Roc Comp Presented by Mountain Hardwear
posted by dpm on 02/19/2010
THE EARTH TREKS ROC COMP PRESENTED BY MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR
KICKS OFF THE 2010 UNIFIED BOULDERING CHAMPIONSHIPS PRO TOUR
The top climbers worldwide will compete for $11,000 in cash
and points towards the first ever UBC Pro Tour Championship
At the first Earth Treks Roc Comp since 2004, some of the top climbers worldwide, including Chris Sharma, Lisa Rands and Paul Robinson will compete for an $11,000 cash purse as well as cumulative individual point rankings towards the overall UBC Pro Tour Championship.
Representing one of the top pro events ever held on the East coast, the 2003 and 2004 Roc Comps set a high bar for competitions that the whole crew at Earth Treks is eager to improve on. “Since our last Roc Comp, we’ve been in mourning,” says Earth Treks Founder, Chris Warner. “The excitement that the Roc Comp brought to our staff, our community and professional climbers was so rewarding. After distracting ourselves for the last few years with opening new gyms and expanding old ones, we’re ready to get back into the party.”
“Ever since Earth Treks opened, it has been known as one of the top competition venues worldwide and we are pumped up to partner with Mountain Hardwear and roll out the first ever UBC Pro Tour event with them,” said Pete Ward of NE2C Productions. “The future of pro climbing is in huge scale events featuring the top climbers, the top venues and top shelf production value. The Earth Treks Roc Comp is guaranteed to deliver all of the above. If you’re north of the equator and west of Istanbul, you won’t want to miss it!”
Featuring spectacular action, the top pros, a full sponsor village hosting the top brands in the industry and something for everyone, the Roc Comp is the first can’t miss event of the season. “If you can’t out-climb them, you might as well host them!” says Warner, (who will conveniently be climbing Makalu, the world’s fifth tallest boulder, during the Roc Comp).
More from a personal side and an interview from Pete Ward and Chris Warner:
The year was 2003. I was living in the storage area of the local climbing gym while working as a head route setter and team coach. I received a call from long time friend Ben Montgomery, who at the time worked at the Earth Treks Climbing Gyms. He was calling about an upcoming competition he promised was going to be the largest on the east coast and invited me to come set. I was one of four route setters selected to put together what would ultimately be celebrated as one of the best bouldering competitions ever held in the US-period.
The Roc Comp was held at Earth Treks’ Timonium, Maryland facility. For two years the competition drew more spectators than any other in the United States. Huge, enthusiastic crowds, three big screens broadcasting footage and real time results emceed from center stage fueled the world's best competitors. They battled for bragging rights and the sizable $10,000 purse.
The success of the 2003 comp, with Sharma and Rands winning, led to an even bigger 2004 Roc Comp. The 04 Roc Comp was also the US Nationals, with Angie Payne and Chris Sharma taking home the big cash.
The Roc Comp went into retirement after that. Or so we thought. First there were rumors. Then there was a video on YouTube. Soon all the phone lines in the 24 story corporate headquarters of Dead Point were ringing off the hook. News of the competition returning this year spread like wild fire amongst climbing's elite. And the excitement grew as stories were retold of the arena-like atmosphere of the original Roc Comps.
Speculation about what companies were involved and how Earth Treks was going to pull off a repeat of such an amazing competition have been, up til now, speculation. Our curiosity led us directly to Earth Treks where after the subtle manipulation of a lock, incapacitating an overweight security guard, and the disarming of a retinal scanner, we made it to the command center of Earth Treks. There we found Chris Warner, mountaineering aficionado and Head Cheese at Earth Treks and Pete Ward, the sexiest man alive (according to Climber's Weekly and the Star Climber Magazine).
DPM: How are you guys doing today?
Chris: We are crazy busy. Planning and executing a comp like this takes months, and the closer you get, the more manic the “to-do list” gets. Luckily this is fun work, shared with a great team.
PETE: It’s been rough day keeping the paparazzi away. Who the hell let you in here? Where’s my agent?
DPM: So we are gearing up for the third Roc Comp. What can you tell us about the past Roc Comps and why haven't we seen one since 2004?
PETE: Well Matt, when you were living in that storage closet, I was living in a van out West. It was sort of a closet with wheels. I remember that same hype about the Roc Comp criss-crossing the country as people talked about the next generation of amazing competitions at a facility unlike anything anyone had ever seen before and so we’re pumped up to be a part of Roc Comp v2.0. That first Roc Comp really set the tone for many of the events that have come since, including the ones we have run at NE2C. Earth Treks set a very high bar for everyone who has come since then.
Chris: Pulling off the first two Roc Comps were hard work, and done at great cost. But we never doubted that they were worth so much more to our community, and the larger climbing community than we could ever calculate. Trouble was that Earth Treks found itself being too busy opening new gyms, hosting other big comps (Mammut, USA Climbing’s Nationals, etc) and suffering under an owner who squanders the company’s profits on Himalayan trips (has your gym owner climbed K2 yet?)
DPM: The 2003 and 2004 Roc Comps were huge! The crowd was thick and the energy was high. There were big names, bigger falls, and no ties. How is this Roc Comp going to trump that?
Chris: We are using a lot of the same formula: great route setters (Jason Kehl, Scott Mechler, Jason Danforth, Jordi Salas, Brian Hughes, Ward Byrum), great athletes (Sharma, Rands, Boz, Robinson, etc), great staff and great venues, and we are bringing back old friends and adding a new set of partners. With the expertise that NE2C brings to the event, along with the support of Mountain Hardwear, Evolv, Prana, Sportiva, Black Diamond, Petzl and many more, we have so many more resources.
PETE: Chris covered all the bases there, and anything he left out now, I’m not going to spill the beans about until event time! I’ll just say that as the first ever event on the UBC Pro Tour, the Roc Comp will set the tone for the future of pro climbing in North America.
DPM: Why did Earth Treks bring the Roc Comp back after all these years?
Chris: We just needed to wait for a moment of presumed boredom, before devoting 110% to an event as big as the Roc Comp. Last fall when we were wondering how to make 2010 exciting (it’s Earth Treks 20th Anniversary) bringing back the Roc Comp leapt to the top of the list.
DPM: Now, I hear the format is changing this year. How is it changing and why?
Chris: This year we are hosting a Pro-Am event on the first day. In the past the Pro’s qualifying round and the Citizens Comp ran at different times. Looking back it seems silly. Doesn’t Lisa Rands get pumped watching a 10 year old girl crank out her first V4? And won’t it be best for our sport and our community, if everyone mingles? To make the Pro-Am even better, all the sponsors are setting up a vendor’s village. The whole Pro-Am event will be a great party. And making it even better will be the semi-finals and finals, held the following day.
PETE: We’re psyched that the folks at Earth Treks came up with some fresh ideas and of course we always dig the festival format, that’s right up our alley.
DPM: So let me get this straight: If I am a new climber competing in the citizen's competition, I will be competing directly alongside competitors like Alex Johnson, Chris Sharma, and Daniel Woods?
Chris: Yes. Maybe you’ll beat ‘em.
DPM: Me? I seriously doubt that. It seems like this could be the setting the stage for future competition. What other things is the Roc Comp doing to increase the production value of this competition for spectators?
PETE: Well, history tells us that neither Earth Treks, nor NE2C has a reputation for doing things halfway and like Chris said, we have the support of a tremendous partner in Mountain Hardwear. You’ll have to watch the event to see what we have in store, but check out the team in place, the athlete roster, the history of the venue and do the math. Should be a good time. This is the Earth Treks Roc Comp, even people in closets know a good time when they see one. Oh and p.s. Matt, it’s nice to see that you got out of the closet.
DPM: Um...yeah. Uhhh, nice murse there Pete! By the way, congrats on scoring a spot on next the next season of Jersey Shore. Ok, cool. Moving on. So...Predictions:
Will we see newly engaged Daniel Woods dominate this event, or do you feel the Sharma factor could thwart his attempt to make gold?
PETE: Well the safe money is on the strongest guy in the world and right now everyone says that’s Daniel Woods. Of course, the last time I bet against Sharma I did it on video and he won the comp, so you take my opinion with a grain of salt. The last guy to beat Daniel head to head was Paul Robinson at the 2009 Gravity Brawl so you can’t let R-Rob off the radar either. So who do I got? Vasya Vorotnikov. Game on.
Chris: Uhhmmm… are you kidding. Boz wins, home team advantage.
DPM: What about the ladies? Will it be the Alex (s) on top again or do you have a dark horse prediction?
Chris: We are going for an ET double: Charlotte Jouett-Bosley takes the woman’s title, with Lisa coming in second.
PETE: Again, it’s reeeeal hard to bet against the Alex’s and I just spent 15 minutes looking at recent comp results trying to convince myself to go another way. But it’s hard to do. The Alex’s have won every single one of our comps that they’ve been to since 2007 and sometimes in dominating fashion. That said, Francesca Metcalf, Sasha DiGuilian and Sierra Blair-Coyle all looked stronger than I’ve ever seen them at the ABS Nationals and rumor has it that Sasha was climbing with a busted foot and still placed 4th. So the Alex’s have their work cut out for them for sure.
DPM: Pete, somehow I knew you would answer those two questions diplomatically. We should play poker sometime.
Chris, thanks for having the spine to actually hedge your bets, albeit your picks seem a bit biased.
We will see you both April 23rd.
Chris: No you won’t. I will be in Makalu to climb the fifth tallest boulder in the world.