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Local climber looks to display skills at home national event this week

By: HENRY MCKENNA
February 20, 2013
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photo - Austin Geiman has been practicing his bouldering skills to get ready for the upcoming ABS Bouldering Nationals to be held in Colorado Springs this weekend. He was boulding at the Sport Climbing Center, where he is the co-owner, on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE
Austin Geiman has been practicing his bouldering skills to get ready for the upcoming ABS Bouldering Nationals to be held in Colorado Springs this weekend. He was boulding at the Sport Climbing Center, where he is the co-owner, on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) Photo by JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE 

Austin Geiman, local climber, spends most of his time throwing his body around the walls of a warehouse. His father passed that warehouse, Colorado Springs’ Sport Climbing Center, down to him.

Now, he and Lex Sanchez own the second-oldest sport climbing gym in the country at 21 years. The gym plays host to Geiman and eight others, who are training for the American Bouldering Series nationals in the Colorado Springs City Auditorium this Friday and Saturday.

Despite placing sixth last year, the 26-year-old Geiman has never promoted himself or bothered with sponsorship. And it’s been a big part of his success.

“I just enjoy climbing for what it is. I don’t want to get involved in contracts and stuff like that,” Geiman said. “I didn’t take it too seriously. I just enjoyed it, and I think that’s what really took it to the next level for me.”

His passion for the sport has him climbing three or four times a week with two sessions outside, even in winter months. His hard work must be as elite as his opponents — notably Daniel Beall, Paul Robinson and Ethan Pringle. Geiman is one of these household names.

“He has been a dark horse in the past, but it’s about time that we went into the competition expecting him to do well,” USA Climbing director of operations Kynan Waggoner said. “He’s just a really gifted climber and kind of the total package. He’s got the technique. He’s got the power, and he’s got the mental fortitude to excel in competition.”

He also boasts a long wingspan. At 6 feet, he is consistently the tallest climber at a competition.

“I like jumping around and doing gymnastic moves,” Geiman said. “Typically for outdoor stuff, you’ll be on really small holds doing difficult moves. That doesn’t suit my style as well as larger (indoor) holds, farther apart.”

With confidence in his exciting climbing style, Geiman competes very well.

“From an outsider’s perspective, aside from being ridiculously strong and talented, (his strength in competition) is, his ability to focus, really hone in on what he’s doing, block out the outside noise, and just get it done,” Sanchez said.

This facet of competition is of the utmost importance, Waggoner explained, and if Geiman wants to fulfill his goal of improving on his sixth-place finish, he will have to handle the new pressure of the spotlight. Geiman, however, doesn’t mind the attention. He embraces it.

“Everyone kind of knows me and I know everyone,” Geiman said. “People cheer for me. I do other (competitions) in other countries, and I’m a nobody. Maybe I’m not quite as motivated because of that. It definitely helps to have everyone’s support.”

“I just want to see Austin, step up, make it to the finals, and climb well for the hometown crowd,” Waggoner said.

Geiman has the support, the talent, and the mindset. He will enter ABS Nationals a strong contender.

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