It’s called V-Fest. Ropes, carabiners and crampons need not apply — but a little ghoulish makeup might be OK.
Vertical Endeavors, an indoor climbing gym in Warrenville, will host its ninth annual bouldering competition Saturday, with an expected turnout of about 300 rock climbers and their fans. With a seasonal theme focused on zombies this time, the 2013 edition of the popular competition is being dubbed ZomVFest.
Unlike the more familiar sport in which participants scale heights of 30 or 40 feet, bouldering values finesse in difficult maneuvers over sheer altitude. Climbers stay much closer to the ground and use only climbing shoes; no other gear is involved.
“When you think of rock climbing, you think of going up the wall. But bouldering is pretty much condensing the entire climbing route into a small thing,” said Jourdan Przybyla, Vertical Endeavors’ media relations coordinator.
Planning and strategizing the routes begins months ahead of time. As the day draws near, 10 designated route setters come to the gym to set up 50 “bouldering problems” that will be tackled during the competition. Participants can choose from a variety of skill levels, and their five best performances are used to factor their final scores. The morning portion is reserved for youth contestants, who are divided into five categories, with registration starting at 8 a.m. Adults will compete in the afternoon, signing up from 1 to 1:45 p.m.
“This competition is a prime opportunity to gather with fellow friends of the bouldering community for a day of sending,” reads the facility’s web page outlining the event, using a term that describes a particularly satisfactory climb.
The first 150 climbers to sign up will each receive a ZomVFest T-shirt.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Przybyla said. “Good energy.”