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Inside the Windy City Gritty: The Road to Glory

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The Windy City Gritty: we came, we saw, we conquered! Here at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago, we promised 100 climbers, but 150 showed up for the challenge. Were we surprised? Not really. This was Chicago’s first true citizen’s climbing competition and we knew climbers new and old would represent. We were even more thrilled to meet climbers from across the country, from Indiana to Wisconsin and everywhere in-between making a go for the cash and prizes.

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The day started early, at 10AM to be exact. Climbers in the Beginner and Advanced categories took to the walls in droves. The competition was one of strategy; climbers needed to not attempt completing problems that were both in their skill level and could provide them the maximum number of points.

Later, we all took a much needed break to nosh on bites from our friends from the Chicago Lunchbox food truck. One of the best parts of the rest of the day was getting a delicious whiff of the banh mis, rice bowls and tacos the Chicago Lunchbox provided as competition fuel.

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The afternoon was dedicated to climbers in the Intermediate and Open categories. The floor was considerably quieter than earlier in the morning as the Beginner category dominated the majority of climbers. Still, some of the best and brightest showed up to both show off and win big. And a couple of folks, like Carmen Gondhalekar and Kryszelda Mendoza, were even bumped up from the Intermediate category to the Open finals.

But the most riveting part of the day was the Open finals. In a matter of minutes (well, more like an hour), the walls were stripped of the day’s previous problems in order to showcase the complex, intuitive and acrobatic problems left for our Open finals competitors. With bright, cinematic spotlights reflecting on the recently-stripped walls, our awesome Head Routesetter Kurtis Oduber as MC, and an eager crowd sitting on the gym floor, the finals became a showcase for some of the toughest crushers around. And to complement the spectacle, we also had killer DJ sets from David Chang, Ricky of Them Flavors and our own Claire Bao.

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In the end, it produced an even greater sight for fellow climbers and spectators alike.

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Congrats to this year’s winners. See you again next year!

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