Climbing chaos fun at the local gym

Climbers watch a competitor work a route and wait their turn to get on the bouldering wall at The Edge Climbing & Fitness gym in Idaho Falls on Saturday. The gym held a competition most of the day with more than 50 people joining in. (Jerry Painter photo)

Each competitor at Saturday’s indoor climbing contest at The Edge in Idaho Falls was given a score card with a list of about 60 numbers down one side. Each number corresponded to a route and number on the climbing walls. The score card told the difficulty and points value of each route.

It became like a scavenger hunt with climbers rushing about to see what routes they wanted to try and which ones offered the maximum points. The climbing was bouldering — short, stout routes of only eight or 10 moves finishing 12 to 15 feet off the ground.

At first it was mass chaos, but in a fun way. More than 50 people of all ages and abilities joined the fun.

Mothers followed their kids from wall to wall and cheered them on. It’s the new version of the soccer mom — climber mom.

As the comp went on, climbers settled into ranges that suited their skill level and quickly learned (or not) that it was helpful to rest between climbs. Each category — beginner, intermediate, advanced and open — was completed in a few hours. Final scores were a compilation of a climber’s top five most difficult routes.

While competitive climbing is not my thing, I showed up to lend a hand and help direct traffic. Stay tuned for more competitions in the future.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn. If you want to take a hike, enjoy the brisk fall air and see some changing colors, you have plenty of options. An easy way to avoid the rush of deer and elk hunters is to hike in Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks or in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. If you do go hiking on some of the more popular trails on the west side of the Teton Range, the Big Hole Mountains or in the Palisade Reservoir area, wear bright colored clothes (think hunter orange). My favorite trails in the fall include the South Teton Canyon trail up to Alaska Basin, Darby Canyon trail to the Wind Caves, Moose Creek (on the southern end of the Teton Range, Bear Creek (west side of Palisades Reservoir) and Hell’s Half Acre Lava Trail (about 20 miles west of Idaho Falls). Remember to get an early start, particularly on long hikes, to allow for shorter days.

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Eager beavers are already hiking or skinning up the slopes at Grand Targhee Ski Resort and skiing back down. Snow depths of 1 to 3 feet are reported. Some of these skiers are working through the early season sore muscles to get their turns in before the resorts open. These skiers hope to get in condition now, then take their fitness to nearby backcountry ski destinations as the season progresses.

It’s prime time to get your body in shape for the slopes and avoid injuries. The higher elevation resorts hope to open for business next month. Simple exercises, such as jogging, cycling or walking miles uphill will go a long way toward tuning up your body for the slopes.

Don’t forget to include attendance at the Avalanche Awareness Night at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Taylorview Middle School as preparation for the coming winter season.

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Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation is holding its annual Blue Goose Cyclocross and 5K run at 9 a.m. Nov. 4 at the Freeman Park band shell. The bike race usually has different categories, including children-friendly races. For more information, call Parks and Recreation at 208-612-8480.

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