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Allison Vest on the Podium at Southwest Boulderfest

Austin Bouldering Project (ABP) hosted the Southwest Boulderfest last Saturday Sept 22, 2018. Climbers of all levels gathered for a community event of competition climbing. Led by ABP’s Christine Deyo, a team of 10 talented route setters, including Canada’s Selena Wong and Ayo Sopeju, had the impressive task of setting 100 boulders for over 300 climbers and 5 different categories for both men and women.

Michael Orourke Photo by Eric W. Andersen 

Setter Tonde Katiyo reports that the open final rounds were particularly tough to set because of the large range of skill level among the finalists. For example, in the men’s category, talented local climbers competed against two of the strongest men in the US at the moment, Sean Bailey and Shawn Raboutou. For the women, Katiyo says it could’ve been closer but, as it happened, there was a big contrast between the finalists’ performances.

That kind of gap can result in boulder problems that seem too easy for some and too hard for others, which doesn’t always make for the best show. But the crowd at the Austin Bouldering Project was nothing but psyched, and with Pete Woods as emcee, and good music pumping, there was a great vibe in the air.

Allison Vest  Photo by Eric W. Andersen 

Canada’s Allison Vest agrees: “The crowd in Austin always blows me away. Everyone, from the volunteers to the judges to the setters, is so kind and passionate about climbing and about sport in general. It’s a totally amazing atmosphere to be a part of.”

Vest, who is the current Canadian bouldering champion, took second place behind Seattle’s Shannon Russell. After a forced hiatus from competing due to surgeries on her shoulder and ankle, this was certainly a strong comeback for Russell. Austin’s Lauren Bair was third.

Sean Bailey was the winner of men’s open, with Raboutou in second, and Austin local John Brock took home the bronze. Full finals results below.

Shannon Russell Photo by Eric W. Andersen 

Women’s Open Finals
Shannon Russell
Allison Vest
Lauren Bair
Sarah Kate Ashton
Maddy Morris
Jessica Fecanin

Men’s Open Finals
Sean Bailey
Shawn Raboutou
John Brock
Brian Antheunisse
Michael Orourke
Nathan Hadley

Stay tuned for the Northwest Boulderfest, which takes place Oct 20, 2018 at Seattle Bouldering Project.