On Saturday, February 8th, over a hundred competitors and spectators braved single digit temperatures to attend the Inaugural edition of The Clampdown - Salt Pump's come-one, come-all adult competition for climbers of all abilities. $2,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the top three male and female competitors, while the winners of the intermediate and novice categories received prize bags. The top six competitors also received a special local surprise on the podium - live Maine lobsters.
“It was a really great mix of fun and very hard climbs with a lighthearted atmosphere,” says Kevin Donovan, the Mens overall winner. "I laughed for five minutes when I was awarded my lobster,” he adds. “On the drive home, we considered stopping by the ocean to let him go... but we ended up eating him instead."
"It was great to meet people a lot of people and make friends," says Adriana Jacobsen, the Womens overall winner. "...it wasn't just about the climbing it was about the community."
With indoor climbing growing in popularity and due to make its Olympics debut this summer, locally organized, open competitions are a chance for a cross-section of recreational climbers to test themselves like professional climbers do. The competition format consisted of a three hour qualifier round in which competitors of all abilities tested themselves on 45 custom-set “problems”, or routes. Each route was given a relative score based on difficulty. The top six male and female competitors were then invited to participate in a finals round consisting of three more problems.
“The finals were really fun because everyone's rooting for you, and all the competitors root for each other and support each other,” says Adriana Jacobsen, the Womens overall winner. "I think the most telling thing is that in the beginning of the finals when we get to preview the routes, we’re all giving each other beta and suggestions."
“Although it was inspiring to see the top climbers perform, it’s just as cool to see so many recreational climbers come out of the woodwork and challenge themselves. The energy in the building was palatable, it’s an atmosphere that encourages everyone to try a little harder than normal,” says event organizer and head route setter Tino Fiumara.
At the conclusion of the open round, competitors were served lobster tacos and beer courtesy of High Roller Lobster Company and Allagash Brewing Company before watching the finals round.
The event was supported by Eastern Mountain Sports, Boulder Denim jeans, Chalk Cartel, Flowfold, Orterra Designs, and Tenaya rock climbing Shoes, and Trango Equipment.