Roaring Fork climbers strong as indoor season gets underway at Monkey House
The indoor climbing season got underway Saturday with the first Western Slope regional competition, held at the Monkey House in Carbondale. The Basalt High School team — which has climbers from up and down the valley on the roster — had a solid showing in what is the closest thing to a home meet they’ll have this season.
It was also the first time since the pandemic began that the climbers were able to compete in front of anyone other than their own teammates due to COVID-19 safety guidelines last winter.
“The event was wonderful and a step back toward the new normal of indoor competition climbing with competitors from across the Western Slope coming together in the gym to pull on plastic in front of the small crowds once again,” BHS coach Tanner Jones said. “It was a great first comp to get back into the swing of things. The routes at the Monkey House were really well set and provided ample opportunities for climbers of all abilities to test their skills in a variety of climbing styles.”
The highlight for the BHS team was Roaring Fork student Cameron Hermes finishing third in the boys’ division, behind winner Jackson Turner and runner-up Devin Bush, both of Carbondale’s Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
“Cameron has been working really hard and is passionate about climbing and that is really starting to pay off for him,” Jones said of the junior. “He has been putting in a lot of time working with the coaches at the Monkey House and climbing outside this summer, so he is coming into this season already strong and ready. Cameron was able to send problems 22 through 26 without much issue, then he worked his way through problems 27 and 28, which had to be encouraging for him.”
Hank Cerrone and Coleman Streater also finished in the top 10 for the Roaring Fork boys, who actually had enough climbers to record their own RFHS team score and ended up finishing second.
The BHS girls finished third as a team behind CRMS and Montrose, a group led by junior Grace Harrington, who was 13th. Battle Mountain’s Aiden Manning won the high school girls’ division, followed in second by Eagle Valley’s Reese Manley and in third by Montrose’s Audrey Righter.
“She just continues to grow mentally and get stronger,” Jones said of Harrington. “She climbed a bit over the summer on real rock with a little time in the gym, but as the season progresses and we get back into climbing fitness, I can see Grace ramping things up and finding more success.”
Ella Lahey and Analyn Hoffner also recorded top-25 finishes for the BHS girls.
Of note, Aspen’s Annabelle Carlson finished second in the middle school girls’ division, while Carbondale’s Owen Geiss and Glenwood’s Chapin Turner finished second and third, respectively, in the middle school boys’ division.
The climbers head to Grand Valley Climbing and Fitness in Grand Junction this coming weekend for their next competition.
“This is a great venue for competition and this time the kids will be on ropes as well as bouldering,” Jones said. “It will be interesting to see how they do; the walls at GV are much taller than our wall at BHS and requires more endurance, plus the height sometimes messes with new climbers who haven’t been that high on a rope yet. We have been doing laps on our wall this week to try and get some endurance training in, but I’ll encourage the newer climbers to get on some easy routes first just to get used to the heights of the wall.”
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Cory Parker once roamed the halls of Aspen High School as a student, graduating in 2008 as one of the best basketball players in program history. For the past five seasons, since returning home, he’s helped rebuild AHS basketball as an assistant coach alongside Alex Schrempf.