Should I pay FloClimbing to watch Dark Horse Bouldering Series finals?

by Igor

Friday Jan 20. Here I am sitting alone in my empty house. I wish I was in Boston with my son, but someone has to work, someone has to pay for tickets from West to East coast, and for tons of other things including $50 event registration fee for Dark Horse. But it is all right, I am doing it for the love of climbing. Actually, I feel like I do a lot of things for the love of climbing and to support climbing community and industries, I spend significant amount of money for all climbing related things, just couple days ago $200 to USAC for youth Nationals, month ago another ~$200 to USAC for youth divisionals, ropes, shoes, climbing gym fees and etc. I do not want to bore you, ask any parent who has climbing kid, it is pretty demanding financially.

Anyway, I am searching Internet trying to find how to watch video stream of Dark Horse comp. The very first result in Google search tells me that FloClimbing provides the video stream. home page also says that FloClimbing provides live stream. Nice! I am all set for tomorrow to watch the comp. Next I search more about Dark Horse and FloClimbing (just to get a whole picture for myself) and find two interesting videos.

In this interview Dave, who is one of the original creators of Dark Horse, says very right words, that the comp is for climbers to get together and have fun time, that it is not about new walls and fancy holds, but about the spirit, energy, psyche, for the love of climbing in other words. I like it very much.

In second video Bryan Rafferty from FloClimbing/FloSports says how much they like climbing and want to help climbing to grow, make it “legitimate” and generally do great things for the love of climbing. Sounds good, except I have not initially paid attention to him saying “subscription based … pumping money into the industry”.

Then I get to the instructions on how to watch tomorrow live stream and notice that I have to open an account on FloClimbing. In the process of opening new account I am asked to pay $20 monthly for the subscription. Wait a second. But I do not want any subscriptions, I just want to watch one event. Hmm.

Considering all my climbing related spendings $20 does not seem much, so should I pay? What do you think? Are you paying FloClimbing? Do you like their contents?

I have more questions.

Does FloClimbing really help climbing community or just want to make their profit? If climbing kids can’t watch climbing events video for free, then who is FloClimbing target audience? Dirtbags living in vans?

Judging by a) how many spectators climbing events usually attract in US , b) number of views on Youtube for something like US Bouldering Open event and c) me asking people in the gym if they watch any climbing comp videos, there is not that many people who are interested in watching climbing comps. The truth is that your regular indoor climber does not care much about not-his-local-gym competitions and does not watch them, he better goes climbing. Another truth is that only climbers can watch climbing comp, for others it is as boring as hell. It is not like baseball or basketball, general population does not have any interest (at the moment) in watching climbing comps. Will climbers pay FloClimbing to watch videos? I am not sure. What do you think?

Was it right decision for Dark Horse organizers to hook up with FloClimbing? Time will show, but I personally am not sure. Now days it is enough to have few cheap cameras and Youtube account to stream video; it would work for me, I just want to see climbers climb, nothing fancy is needed. Is $50 dollars per climber really that little that they can’t put a camera? USAC found a way with LT11 to stream climbing comps for free, if Dark Horse is now part of USAC cup series then why not to cooperate and use LT11?

Will it help to popularize Dark Horse outside US as Bryan said? Are climbers outside US willing to give their credit card information and $20 to see Dark Horse? I am not sure.

Will it help to popularize Dark Horse in local climbing communities? Pay $20 to see your buddy online? It could be cheaper to actually come to the gym and save money for beer.

Climbing is more than sport, it is a lifestyle and very spiritual activity. For decades climbing facilities and comps did not make big money and relied on people enthusiasm and love for climbing. Climbing may not necessary follow the same path as other sports and not all business models working for other sports may work for climbing as a sport. Not like in other popular sports where money come from passive spectators, in climbing climbers pay active role, their money support climbing gyms, comps and gear manufacturers. The understanding of this fact is perhaps the most crucial key for any climbing business to succeed.

I am not against of bringing money into the sport and making it “legitimate”, but after climbing got into 2020 Olympics it seems like more and more entrepreneurs want to jump on the bandwagon in attempt to make some money and not because they care about climbing.

Photoreport from The Hood




Info about climbing The Hood Mt Charleston

We are going to make a visit to The Hood this spring. Here is relevant info on Internet we have found so far.

Seems that the only book that describes this area is “Islands in the sky” by Dan McQuade, Rockfax (2001).

Interestingly enough, BLM provides online document with photos and routes: Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area

Video of Steve Lapen on Ghetto Booty 5.14.

Ethan Pringle blog:

David Gibbons climbing Ghetto Boys:

Warlords – 5.13a:

Manny on Entropy 5.13c:

Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Voytek Kurtyka

According to Alpinist Magazine:

The Piolets D’Or committee has announced that this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Polish alpinist Voytek Kurtyka.

Few links about this interesting person:

The last link has Voytek’s quotes from books, articles and interviews. Voytek seems to  be one of those rare climbing individuals who is able to articulate his thoughts and reflections on climbing very well.


2016 US Bouldering National Championships Results

Men’s Final Round

Rank Climber Tops Points 1 2 3 4
1 Nathaniel Coleman 3 2.33 1 3 6.5 1.5
2 Jimmy Webb 3 2.77 6.5 3 2 1.5
3 Carlo Traversi 3 3.31 2 3 4 5
4 Daniel Woods 3 3.6 4 6 2 3.5
5 Tyler Landman 3 3.96 5 7 2 3.5
6 Kai Lightner 2 4.33 3 3 6.5 6
7 Mohammad Jafari Mahmodabadi 1 5.11 6.5 3 5 7


Women’s Final Round

Rank Climber Tops Points 1 2 3 4
1 Megan Mascarenas 3 2.21 2 2 1.5 4
2 Alex Puccio 2 1.65 1 5 1.5 1
3 Claire Buhrfeind 2 3.08 3 2 3 5
4 Micheala Kiersch 1 3.5 5 2 6 2.5
5 Meagan Martin 1 3.56 4 4 4 2.5
6 Sierra Blair-Coyle 0 5.73 6 6 5 6


Let us share our personal reflections on the comp.


Men’s final round this year was very intense. All the way to the very end it was hard to predict the outcome because several competitors were crushing with almost equal power. It will perhaps be safe to suggest that problems 1 and 3 were most interesting to watch as they were progressively introducing an interesting separation in the scores.

Problem 1.

Daniel fell matching on the finish hold and did not get the top that could bring him victory this year with the only one with 4 tops.

Daniel Woods on Problem 1

Jimmy could not pass the first crux at the very beginning. If he passed that crux he would finish problem #1 for sure, and get 4 tops and win the comp. We dare to say it is not the first time Jimmy has this problem with funky-gymnastic-indoor-plastic moves. In an attempt to generalize our observations: the strongest outdoor crushers sometimes struggle on “artificial indoor-only” moves more than objectively weaker climbers who spend most of their time climbing indoor. You would think that climbers like Jimmy Webb or Adam Ondra can always win a comp, but it is not really the case; climbing outside and indoor have their differences.

Problem 3.

Nathaniel won the comp. But he could not pass those powerful pinches at the beginning of Problem #3, he admitted this problem in the post-comp interview with the commentators. Kai could not conquer those pinches either. Jimmy and Daniel on other side casually walk through that place.

Nathaniel on Problem 3

Jimmy on Problem 3

So we see two things:

  • Guys (usually pros) who seriously crush outside usually dominate on the routes that require raw finger strength.
  • Indoor junkies, usually young athletes, might not have power of V15 pro crushers on crimps and pinches but sometimes have an advantage on tricky/funky gymnastic moves due to a) younger age and therefore more agile body, b) more time spent on plastic and c) training and physical conditioning provided by coaches.


Mohammad got into finals and somewhat proved that last year was not a fluke. He could not do the beginning of Problem 1 and beginning of Problem 3, could not finish Problem 4 and ended up with just one top of Problem 2.

Getting into finals for Kai is probably a great achievement, he is definitely getting better and better in bouldering. He is very young, we will see if his power will eventually match his endurance and he starts crushing in bouldering.


Daniel was one move away from having 4 tops. Nathaniel could not start #3. Both have 3 tops. Nathaniel 1st place and Daniel 4th. Isn’t it … wrong? Attending a lot of Youth comps we can say that the new scoring system “selects” climbers that make less mistakes but not necessary the strongest climbers. We have a situation when pretty much all climbing community does not like this new scoring system but we still have it.



Megan climbed very well and deserved the victory.

Alex has shown that she is a true warrior. It seemed that it was not easy comp for her for many reasons including recent knee injury. Respect.

Another young climber, Claire Buhrfeind 3rd place, really good performance.