CAMP USA athlete Scott Bennett is an all-around crusher who just returned from putting up new routes in Pakistan, but teamed up with Cody Scarpella to compete in the world’s wildest climbing competition – 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. They not only competed, but they dominated! Here are some tips from the winners:
There’s really no climbing competition like the 24 hours of Horseshoe Hell. We climbed 445 laps as a team (220 for me, 225 for Cody). You can do each route twice, so we sent ~112 distinct routes. I think our per lap average was 5.10c. They give prizes for things like “Best facial hair”, and the competitors range from 5.9-climbing weekend warriors to 5.14 pros. Everyone is incredibly supportive and stoked through the long and dark nighttime hours, and when the sun rises they just keep crimping with raw and battered fingers.
I’d highly recommend that anyone, regardless of skill level, check out this event! If you go, here’s a bit of advice that I’ve learned over the last two years:
- Plan ahead by arriving a few days early to familiarize yourself with the crags, and pre-stash water around the canyon.
- Pack a good variety of foods, from shot-blocks to fresh fruit, to ham and cheese sandwiches. You never know what you’ll be craving at 3am…
- Bring a whole quiver of footwear, including some performancy type shoes for the crazy steep routes, some comfy flat shoes for mileage on moderates, and some good approach shoes for running up the easy routes at the very end of the comp.
- Bring an extra belay device, because you’re lowering so fast and so often that it’ll heat up and never cool.
- Pace yourself by climbing in blocks, where each climbed does four leads back-to-back, then passes off the sharp end to their partner and takes a well-earned belay break.
- Use a short rope, since nearly all of the routes are less than 65 feet, to save yourself time pulling and stacking.
- Make sure to always keep climbing! Even if you’re worked, find a stack of easy routes and stay motivated. Your competitors will be!
Get out there and climb till your fingers bleed, you won’t regret it! (much)
(Photos Cody Scarpella)