Hound Ears Results

posted by dpm on 10/04/2009

On Friday, October 2nd, a cold mist rolled into the staging area for the Hound Ears event, the first stop of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series. Climbers scattered to find their jackets, and event organizers huddled to stay dry and warm in the unfavorable weather that typifies Boone, NC.  The weather forecast for the following day was favorable, but having lived in Boone, I knew that 100% chance of sun might not be enough to salvage the day.

Event sponsors La Sportiva and Bluewater Ropes slaved away in their tents making shrimp kabobs and pork loin sandwhiches for the growing line of competitors that arrived early in an effort to pre-register. The conga line of hungry, down-insulated competitors lengthened and contracted in waves, as contestants eager to sample the problems at one of the most exclusive boulder fields in the country continued to pour in.  The keg was floating before 8pm and climbers and event sponsors made the short trek to their tents to rest up for the next day's events.

Samantha Levy sporting the new women's DPM shirt designed by Friksn on Flash or Trash

At six A.M a car wheeled into the event area ushering in a giggling group of "morning people" led by John Doruough from Five Ten. His crew prepared a light breakfast for the competition field which already began filtering into the registration area. The underappreciated gesture of Five Ten's breakfast and the Bluewater and Sportiva's dinner paid dividends in the form of karma. The clouds of mist that had caused clammy competitors to retreat to their tents had broken from the sky revealing an ocean of blue that was a sure sign the competition would be graced by the sun's rays.

By the ninth hour of the day, the last buses had departed towards the boulderfield carrying pad and person to the top of Hound Ears Country Club. There, four-hundred eager athletes prepared to leave skin, and blood if need be, on the rocky outcrops that surrounded them.  Event organizer Jim Horton released the hounds, and pads scattered in every direction towards the boulders.  Early in the day, the young, eager-eyed Phil Schaal toured the field with another competitor. Walking up to one problem he said, "This was the first V6 I ever did." Seemingly unimpressed, the other competitor, no doubt a double digit sending phenom himself, hardly looked at the line. Instead, his eyes led up a series of holds that, when connected, create the problem The Crusher.

Phil Schaal flashing The Crusher

Fifteen minutes later after dispatching a V9 warm up, they were back to try the line. Phil was made to go first. Running beta was delivered with precision, "Left foot here! Right heal over here!" as Phil cruised to the problem with authority. As he reached the lip, spotters jockeyed the pads. Phil's eyes widened with terror.

 "What the fuck?"

"Heal further out left!" Someone shouted.  As he rocked over the top with a proud flash, Phil shook off the willies and returned to his friends and spotters who were now looking at a probable project that could connect The Crusher with the famed V5 problem Flash or Trash. Although the problem would not be in the cards for Phil, another Five-Ten athlete, Brian Voges would send it later that day. 

Action on the Heretic Boulder

As the day wore on, the effects of the sharp quartz holds could be seen on every competitor's hands and fatigue could be seen on their faces, even through their smiles.  Down the hill from The Crusher, Sasha DiGuilian was looking for her next problem. At sixteen, Sasha is already a seasoned competitor. Her bright blue eyes, long blonde hair, and radiating smile lack any indication towards her climbing prowess or her determination to make the podium.  She is accompanied by her mother who sits patiently while her daughter eyes up the next problem she hopes to add to her scorecard. Left hand crimp, set the feet, saddle up and dead point- Sasha falls back to earth. At full extention, her hand barely touches the hold and she is unable to latch it.

Sasha Diguilian stretches to make a reach while behind her a climber throws for the Heretic

A few attempts later, and with better beta, she is latching the crimp. Digging her toe onto a small foothold, she lurches for the lip only to have the foot hold explode from under her feet. She hits the ground hard, but she is smiling.

"Ohhhh, I'm bleeding." Her hand is dripping with blood, but her calm, collected presence doesn't raise the alarm. She politely apologizes for bleeding on everyone's pads, tapes up and tries it again, and again.

Eventually, Sasha grows tired. The problem has done a number on her skin, and she still has more problems to do before turning in her scorecard.

At the end of the day, her scorecard filled, she finds herself in first place, followed by Kasia Pietras of Chattanooga, and Francesca Metcalf who narrowly beat Isabelle Faus in a tie broken by the total number of problems completed.

First in the men's open was taken by southern boy Jimmy Webb, followed by Brian Voges and Max Zolotukhin.

This guy maybe the coolest dude on the freakin' planet. No shit! Check out the backwards hat and the mullet. Straight Pimpin!  AJ Hall slaps for a hold on The Blade



1.       Soloman Barth

2.       Kai Lightner

3.       Ashley Donihue

Beginner Women

1.       Ehrin Irvin

2.       Whitney Bryant

3.       Hollis Rudd

Beginner Men

1.       Daniel Folk

2.       Ike Eisenstadt

3.       Shane West

Intermediate Women

1.       Kati Peters

2.       Amelia Metcalf

3.       Jessica Hoffman

Intermediate Men

1.       Chris Gagliardi

2.       Christopher Roper

3.       Tanner Ayers

Advanced Women

1.       Katelyn Jones

2.       Sammy Levy

3.       Melanie Meinhart

Advanced Men

1.       David Tucker

2.       Shane Messer

3.       Nicholas Hall

Open Women

1.       Sasha DiGuilian

2.       Kasia Pietras

3.       Francesca Metcalf

Open Men

1.       Jimmy Webb

2.       Brian Voges

3.       Max Zolutukhin

Stone Master

1.       Dan Hague

2.       Hilary Cohen

3.       John Kim

Ancient Hardperson

1.       Brandt Sykes

2.       Mike Bacon

3.       Colby Barth

Star Chasers

1.       Jay Tilley

2.       Brian Matthews

3.       Marcus Trail

For complete results check out www.triplecrownbouldering.org