This Saturday, February 1st the best of the best will come to MetroRock in Everett, MA to battle it out for the title of Dark Horse Champion. Now in its 5th season, the Dark Horse Series has crowned some seriously strong climbers as its previous winners, including Isabelle Faus, Francesca Metcalf, and Daniel Woods. This year’s series features arguably the strongest group of climbers that Dark Horse has ever seen, and we are psyched to cheer them on in our own backyard.
Over the past few months Dark Horse hosted three qualifying rounds in which the 1st place finishers earned themselves a bye for the red point round at finals. Taking 1st place for the women were Charlotte Durif, Alex Puccio, and Angie Payne. For the men Josh Levin won the first round and Nick Picarella won both the second and third rounds. On the day of finals climbers will compete in a red point round to earn a spot in finals against Durif, Puccio, Payne, Levin, and Picarella. Along with the usual suspects, young guns Ashima Shiraishi and Brooke Raboutou will be competing for their chance to climb in finals. Having these shorties compete will certainly create a challenge for the Dark Horse setting team, but we know they’ll come up with some interesting and entertaining boulder problems, despite the climbers’ range of heights.
We caught up with Dark Horse veteran Kasia Pietras to get an insider view of the competition. Unfortunately she’s not competing this season, but she has participated in a handful of Dark Horse rounds and competed in last year’s finals. She tells us that Dark Horse is unique because it is “a mixture between a serious competition and a laid back one.” She goes on to say, “We all go knowing we are there to compete against each other, but since there is a red point round, we get to hang out and relax with our friends. The energy levels are out the roof as well!” As for the her choice of winner for this season she says, “It’s hard to say. They are all my friends and I don’t want to just be picking one. But I think I’d go with Angie. She is very inspirational to me and I have always looked up to her. She has a great mind for competitions and the strength to overcome anything that’s thrown her way!” Just for kicks, let us know who you’ve got your money on:
For a recap of the qualifying rounds check out highlight videos by Louder Than 11 from rounds 1, 2, and 3. Huge thank you to Kasia for sharing her thoughts with us. Hope to see you all at Dark Horse this weekend!
Photo credits: Gkwan Photo