Sometime near the end of last year I got a call from a old college friend, Chris Barlow. I had set the a couple of of the Colorado College competitions several years back, he won the first one and worked with me on the second. He is now living in Durango, CO working at a boarding school there and doing some route setting at the local gym, The Rock Lounge. They were going to have a competition at the beginning of February for an annual Durango event known as the Snowdown (basically when everyone is sick of the snow) and was wondering if I could help set the event. Well I'm not one to turn down an opportunity for work, visiting old friends and possibly snowboarding so I agreed.
The gym is quite nice for how small a community it serves. You enter on the middle floor of 3 and overlook the downstairs area which is for routes. Here are some people during the competition.
The left wall is pretty steep in the upper half and reasonably tall, maybe 30 feet. Interestingly you can see windows in the wall that you can still bolt holds to, there are more like this half way up the lead wall on the left as well.
Upstairs is a very steep cave which is nice to set in since you never need a ladder. The roof is a little on the low side though I never felt like I really had to suck my feet up to avoid them hitting the ground when I swung. So while I'm not a big fan of horizontal climbing it is a good use of the space for them and about as good as it gets for setting.
On the main floor there is what amounts to a very short lead wall or very tall bouldering wall. Since this was a bouldering competition we obviously used the wall to set problems. Here are a couple of guys climbing for the peanut gallery.
All in all, I think the competition was a success, they had about 60 competitors, which for such a small facility seemed like a lot. People seemed to be having a good time when I left about half way through the event to make the drive back to Albuquerque.
I had a good time setting there and working with their group of setters, and hope to be back soon.
On another note, I did get in a day on the slopes at Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory). A family that parked next to me in the lot was nice enough to get me a discount with their season pass, friends of pass holders got a discounted rate, Thanks Adam.