BD athletes win big at 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell
Black Diamond athlete Kate Rutherford sent us the following report and photos from her weekend at the punishing 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, a 24 hour climbing event in Arkansas. Black Diamond athletes were all over the event: Kate teamed up with fellow BD athlete, Brittany Griffith, while BD athlete Colin Haley teamed up with Mikey Schaeffer. But the buzz of the event was about BD athlete Tommy Caldwell participating in the event. In the end Tommy (who partnered with Jeremy Collins) won first for both the men’s category and team category. Brittany and Kate took first and second respectively for the women and 8th overall, while Colin and Mikey came in 5th overall. A great job by all the BD athletes at one of the most fun and unique events in the U.S.
Aaaaaarrrrrgggg! My raw fingertips are on fire and my back is a mess of painfully tight knots. Twenty-four hours of non-stop climbing on sandstone at the 4th Annual 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell at the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas has left my body in tatters. My hands are so jug rashed I couldn't even zip the bags closed to fly home! But what an awesome event—it brings 130 teams of two from all over the world, men and women ready to climb through the night, suffer and laugh together. Each route is awarded a point value and you basically try to compile as many points as possible in 24 hours.
The shotgun went off at 10am Saturday morning and all 260 participants scattered for the crags. My partner Brittany Griffith and I started cranking out a day of 5.11 and 5.12... unfortunately around dusk, when you would normal go home, we headed across the canyon to keep on keepin’ on—in the dark. With an Icon headlamp on the forehead and Spots around the waist, we climbed 5.10s till midnight, and then we kinda hit a wall. We lagged for a while, looking for climbs in the crowded dark, trying not to step on people sleeping on bouldering pads. We carried a prototype of BD’s new Titan lantern to the base, chugged some caffeine and got our 4th wind, climbing 5.9 until dawn. As soon as we heard the event-ending shotgun blast at 10am, we blissfully collapse—exhausted but happy with our effort.
Before the event began we wrote out 10 tenants to keep us on track. One was to drink a PBR, which we made happen at 5:30 in the morning. This settled our stomachs and rallied us for the coming sunrise. Another really important one was to not be TOO bitchy... we did fairly well on this one, too. One minor lapse occurred when I short-roped Brittany because Colin and her were on different routes but were sharing the same first bolt, and oops, I was paying more attention to Colin then Britt. I yelled up "It really helps to keep yanking on the rope when the GriGri is locked up" and she yelled back at me to stop my bitching and pay attention... the quarrel was diffused and we laughed as she pulled through the burly roof of the Granny Tranny (unfortunately now downgraded from 5.12a to 5.11c).
Looking HOT was another of our tenants, which we took to heart, wearing matching everything: flowered pants, Gandolf approach shoes, yellow Aura harnesses, pink Nano jackets, angel wings brought from a gas station, suspended stone necklaces, red Demon duffels... all the crucial items (which you can admire in the pro photos I snapped while rushing between climbs).
Even though it left my body a wreck, I can’t wait to go back. Brittany and I had an awesome time as one of the few all-girl teams. I would highly recommend this event of suffering; it's an amazing way to meet people and get to know them really well. But sign up early! The registration filled up in just two days this year. Hope to see you there!
— Kate Rutherford