British climbers Charlotte Telfer and Tom Peckitt recently came away with 1st and 4th place respectively in the prestigious Hueco Rock Rodeo outdoor bouldering competition in Texas, USA. Charlotte was competing in the Intermediate category (V3-V7) and Tom in the Open event (V7-V14). The competition attracts top boulderers from around the globe - this year being no exception, with big names such as Jakob Schubert, Jan Hojer, Juliane Wurm and Alex Puccio vying for the Open title.
The pair landed in the US on New Year’s Eve and have hit a few climbing destinations so far, including Joshua Tree, Bishop and Hueco Tanks. Tom told UKC:
"Charlotte and I just happened to be in Hueco when the Rock Rodeo was scheduled so, with nothing to lose, we thought we’d give it a go and embrace a USA climbing tradition. We had been in Hueco for just under two weeks before the Rodeo so had a bit of time to adjust to the style. We had come straight from Bishop, which is a completely different style but some of the best climbing we have ever experienced."
When the list of problems for the Open category was released, Tom had fortunately already done quite a few of them in the previous week, including flashing several V10s and a flash of Diaphanous Sea (V11). His strategy was to not waste time, energy and skin trying new hard problems, but rather to try and climb the ones he was most familiar with all in one day. He commented:
"My usual approach when climbing is to only try a few hard problems then take it easy for the rest of the day so I felt very out of my comfort zone when it came to the comp. The day of the Rodeo was absolutely scorching (by my standards anyway) and hotter than any British summer day. This added another dimension to the already hard task of climbing six hard problems in a day."
To start off, Tom tried Barefoot on Sacred Ground (V12), a problem which he had done to the halfway 'Hueco' jug on his first climbing day in the area:
"Many people take the tick for dropping here but it had to be topped for the comp (I also felt like I had totally copped out by not topping it before). As I was climbing on my own (most competitors started in another area) I asked as many spectators as possible to lend me their pads and give me a spot. I hadn’t warmed up too well so fell on my first go but after a decent rest managed to top the problem second go. This was a really great experience of having the support of so many people willing me up a problem. Thanks guys!"
In the face of tough competition from some of the world's best boulderers, Tom tried to keep a cool head and stuck to his strengths:
"There were some big guns there, mainly: Jakob Schubert, Jan Hojer and Sam Davis. I tried to keep under the radar and just tick off what I knew I could do, again with great help from the spectators. To my surprise the rest of the day went to plan."
Tom's impressive ticklist for the day ended up as follows:
Barefoot on Sacred Ground (V12)
Tequila Sunrise (V11)
Dirty Martini on the Rocks (V10)
Diaphanous Sea (V11)
El Techo en las Treb B (V11)
Loaded with Power (V10)
Summing up the competition, Tom told UKC:
"I managed to bag 4th place overall, which was totally unexpected and a very welcome surprise. We then topped off the day with a beer, music, food, a bonfire and party vibes. The whole event was so much fun and totally exceeded my expectations."
Jakob Schubert claimed first prize with a phenomenal day of climbing, including sending Desperanza (V14) first try having first climbed the problem a few days prior. Jan Hojer and Sam Davis took 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the women's Open event, Alex Puccio took first place ahead of Juliane Wurm.
Charlotte entered the intermediate category on the East Spur section of Hueco and managed to bag top spot, having her best climbing day in Hueco so far when it mattered the most. She managed to climb a couple of V7s and flashed a few V5/6s. Tom commented:
"Unlike me, she was trying her problems with no prior knowledge as neither of us had been to that section before, which makes her win even more impressive."
Charlotte and Tom are soon leaving Hueco to venture up to Utah to continue their trip - what's next on their list?
"We have a fairly loose itinerary but we are certainly hitting up Joe's Valley at some point. Charlotte heads back to the UK at the end of March and I’m lucky enough to be staying until mid-June. The plan will be to make my way north and finish at Squamish."
For more information on the Hueco Rock Rodeo, visit their website.
Watch a video of Tom and Charlotte's Bishop trip below: