I was watching qualification round of USA Bouldering Open Championship today from 9am to 6pm+. It is long time to watch. Some climbers spent 8-9 hours locked in ISO and it was hard to climb well after that long time in ISO. I can also imagine some holds feel much worse after 100+ climbers work on them before you.
Here is follow up Instagram post by Sean McColl where people discuss this problem in comments.
Today's ABS qualifiers were frustrating for myself; long ISO, nothing to do and I felt incapable of trying hard. I climbed pretty poorly but still topped a few boulders 😬 • What really needs to be reworked is the way their isolation works. They had 124 competitors in the men's category and only 1 group ‼️😳 • I was out 79th, about 2/3 of the way through and I started climbing at around 4:30 pm after arriving at isolation around 9:45, almost 7 hours!!! 😵 • Other than that, I saw a lot of familiar faces which brought me back to my happy place, thank you for that 🙂
Does USA Climbing organization wants it or not but they have to change something soon because the way it worked before is not going to work any more. The trend is obvious: more and more people are going to register for Open. This year we had 120+ men in qualification round, what if next year 140-60 men register? 12 hours in ISO?
5 boys from my local gym competed today, plus I saw another 5-10 climbers that climbing level is known to me; I know how they climb compare to each other and I saw that waiting long hours in ISO affected how they performed relative to each other depending on the time they climbed. Not fair. 3-4 hours is about max time a person can spent in ISO without being seriously affected.
Splitting climbers in groups is most probably not going to help much (not too mention how hard it is going to be to organize) and it does not scale, 2 groups then 3 groups… The only solution is to have some sort of pre-qualification round without ISO and without video stream. Like USA Climbing does for Youth Sport qualifiers, come at certain time and climb. Seeing others climbing might give you some advantage but based on the experience it does not change final results much, strong climbers pass and weak climbers can’t repeat after strong ones anyway. About 60 should advance from pre-qualifiers to qualifiers; seeing today results 60 seems fair number, some climbers between 50-60 did not have a single top.