Albuquerque, N.M. has never been a hot spot for climbing and may never be. Despite these odds the crew at Stone Age Climbing Gym throws down the best competition possible year after year. Since its inception 14 years ago the annual event dubbed the Yank-n-Yard on Yale has matured and grown with the rest of the indoor competition culture. In a sport as wild as climbing, it is hard to find a new frontier on which to raise the stakes, which makes Stone Age all the more unlikely as a candidate for innovation. However, this year’s Yank-n-Yard competitors encountered a new and novel stage on which to perform. Four custom features, totaling over 1700 pounds, were suspended from various walls, ceilings, and even a fork lift. The monstrous geometric volumes were hanging at heights of six to 14 feet and included graphics inspired by the Mexican holiday of Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. The growing local climbing community came out in force with over 170 competitors attending the event with skills levels ranging from beginner to advanced. A $4000 cash purse enticed top talent from the southwest to come and test their skills on these unique floating features. An amazing spectacle ensued for the 300 spectators in attendance for the final round of six men and seven women. Arial acrobatics drew thunderous applause from the crowd as they watched climbing’s elite perform, awash in colorful lights and rhythmic music. A new age of competition was born, one where the field hovers over the ground- truly three dimensional, truly spectacular.
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