Vikings host competition ‘Veni. Vidi. Ascendi’ — I came, I saw, I climbed
Cheers echoed through the Wade King Student Recreation Center as spectators applauded climbers from universities around the Pacific Northwest for the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Competition on Saturday, Feb. 1. It was the third year in a row Western Washington University has hosted the competition, ‘Veni. Vidi. Ascendi’ — I came, I saw, I climbed.
Climbers could compete in any of four divisions: beginner, intermediate, advanced and open climbs.
The Western climbing team has been division champion for the last two years. The team is trying to achieve the title for a third year in a row after their win at Eastern Washington University on Saturday, Jan. 25.
By 6 p.m., all of the heats were finished. The rock wall staff began setting the wall for the open category finals, while the open finalists were held in a back room so they couldn’t see the new routes.
Finalists had a spotlight shining on them as they tried to climb the unfamiliar courses. Western senior Liza Dinh placed first and sophomore Morgan Cabe came in second in the women’s open category.
This is Dinh’s third year climbing for Western, and the first time she won the open category. Though she is an avid climber and loves a challenge, Dinh enjoys the social aspect of competitions, she said.
“It’s about hanging out with everyone and meeting climbers,” Dinh said. “I’ve spent the last two years competing and learning how to climb, so now I feel like I understand my style better. It’s not really about the climbing anymore. For me, it’s more about meeting everyone and bonding and having fun.”
Western had participants in all four divisions but was at a disadvantage because many climbers from Western’s team helped create, design and set up the competition routes, Western sophomore climber Devon Bryant said. The people involved in setting the routes were unable to compete because they had an unfair advantage, Bryant said.
“The size of your team gives you better odds of where you’re going to place,” Bryant said. “For a team overall score, it comes down to odds.”
The competition is open to all college students, not just members of the rock climbing team, but a lot of people do not know that non-members are able to compete, Bryant said.
The rec center closed down the rock wall the week prior to the competition to give the team enough time to strip the wall of the holds, redesign the routes and try them out to make sure each route worked, Heinz said. Heinz was one of several team members who helped set up the routes and didn’t compete.
The Western climbing team heads south to Oregon State University on Saturday, Feb. 15, for the 2014 Vert Fest.