National Indoor Bouldering Series 2022 Round One

NiBS has returned to Queenstown in 2022 for a cracking first round held at Basecamp Adventures. The round proved to be popular despite the distance as many athletes came to check out the work done by the setting team, including some guest setters from Wellington. Most time slots were nearly booked out, with the classic 2:30pm round being completely full. This afternoon slot is most popular for people looking to make finals as it gives athletes a chance to gain beta in early rounds and also have enough rest for the finals. The beta and rest were well needed for the finalists as neither the finals nor the qualifiers had been set as easy as Basecamp’s round in 2020.

The quality and difficulty of the finals were unquestioned with only two of the male athletes getting one top each and a single top in the women's round; this being from last year's overall champion, Erica Gatland. The first climb for the men was a powerful roof going out of the proudest part of the prominent cave feature. This was a perfect boulder to start on as it completely sapped any energy the men had gained back after qualifiers and made the other two boulders much more desperate. The same went for the women with a cruxy powerful problem that went up the side of the cave and then straight into the guts of it. The angle change of the middle section required too much tension for most of the athletes but Erica managed an impressive top, the only top of the night.

The next boulder for both categories required technical prowess and coordination, with both problems having slippery volumes on a slab. The women's problem required stemming and a deceivingly hard coordination press which none of the athletes were able to crack. The men's problem, although low in angle, required shoulders of steel and good friction. It started with a run and jump to a shoulder press then a massive dyno which only the young talent of Jake Townshend was able to solve.

The final problems proved to be the hardest, both requiring fluid technique and raw power. The men's problem demanded powerful compression and fingers of steel but, after the other two problems, the finalists were drained and unable to produce any tops. The women’s problem needed subtle footwork and good shoulder tension, and, like the male finalists, none were able to top.

With the very convincing top from Erica Gatland and a strong performance from Jake Townshend, they managed to take out the #1 spots. This was not without some good competition though, with Oskar Wolff not being far behind, also with one top, and Emma de Lange with a strong overall performance. Joseph Bates and Sarah Hay also put in a solid performance in the finals and took out the last podium spots.

Overall this was a fantastic start to NIBS 2022 with the talented setting of both the Queenstown setting team and Troy, the guest setter from Wellington. They helped create a real spectacle for the finals and a super fun qualifying round with cracking climbs at all grades. Basecamp, although not being the biggest gym, provided a fantastic venue for climbers and spectators, with a good variety of wall angles and plenty of space for spectators in qualifiers and finals. Awesome prizes were given away from the sponsors Bivouac, La Sportiva, The North Face, Uprising Industries and by the hosts NZ Alpine Club. And what would a NiBS finals be without the music, Harrison from Dunedin provided stellar DJ’ing throughout the finals to give a fantastic atmosphere for both the finalists and spectators.

Round Two is at Boulder Co Auckland on June 18th and is not to be missed! Register here.

Report by Oskar Wolff (Sponsored by Black Diamond and Scarpa)

Photo credit Lee Howell