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Prolo takes bouldering to new heights in Utah County

By Isaac Hale daily Herald - | Nov 6, 2016
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Sean Faulkner, 15, of Park City, nears the finish of his route during the Prolo bouldering competition Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Danny Popowski, of Salt lake City, chalks his hands before retrying a route during the Prolo bouldering competition Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Stephanie Hopkins, center, makes her way up a route alongside other climbers during the Prolo bouldering competition Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Ben Tresco climbs up a route as Davis Quist checks out Tresco's score card during the Prolo bouldering competition Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Elias Murcko, of Park City, eyes his next hold as he progresses up his route during the Prolo bouldering competition Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

Professional climbers ascended a variety of routes alongside amateurs during the 2nd annual Prolo bouldering competition held at Momentum Indoor Climbing in Lehi.

“Prolo is short for pros and locals,” explained Devin Ashby, general manager of Momentum Indoor Climbing. “It is a competition that gets pros together and allows the local climbing community to climb with professional athletes.”

Ashby further explained that most climbing competitions are either only for professionals or amateurs. Many professional competitions allow limited interactions between the athletes and fellow non-professional climbers and fans. “The pros are kind of on the stage and you don’t get access to them,” he said.

At Prolo, any climbing amateur could try and tackle the same route as a professional, like nine-time national bouldering champion Alex Puccio.

“We all get to climb together and have fun,” said Puccio. In addition to climbing professionally, she also coaches climbers at the Momentum Indoor Climbing locations in Millcreek and Sandy. “It’s really cool to be with the kids as I’m coaching them and help them out while I’m also competing myself.”

Prolo is split into four different skill categories: recreation, intermediate, advanced and open. While the pros stick to the open category and non-professionals splinter among the lower three categories, everyone is able to try any of the 50-plus routes in the gym.

Completing each route yields points depending on the route’s difficulty. During the two, two-hour redpoint sessions, competitors could attempt a route as many times as they like without a time limit.

Judges would mark their score cards upon completion of a route, and at the end of the session their top five routes would be totaled giving the competitor their final score and subsequent placing within their category. Professionals also competed in a showcase-style event that evening for the climbing community.

“Competitions in general are either a citizens’ (as non-professional climbers are called) competition, or it’s a very high-level competition,” explained Ashby. “This is an opportunity to bring that together into one competition.”

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