Logistics and Equipment
(Side note, DO NOT do this competition with your significant other/spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend.)
The first thing you have to do is sign up. This is accomplished in two ways: pre-registration or the lottery. Years ago, the event had empty spots and anyone could join. There was a maximum, but it would take hours to fill. My first year I don’t know if it ever filled. My second year the online signup filled in 9 hours, then 15 minutes, then 4 minutes. After that, the wise decision was made to create a lottery where people were pulled randomly from a list of entrants and let fate decide.
Around the same time, I suggested to Andy Chasteen that the 24-hour wasn’t long enough and we needed a 36- or 48- hour continuation of the competition. Alas, he’s smarter than I and created the 12-hour competition before the main event which is optional but can be used to gain entry for the following year’s events. This means that someone who fails to get into the lottery for the 24-hour event can do the lottery (which isn’t nearly as difficult to get into) and earn pre-registration for next year. You ARE DEFINITELY ALLOWED TO SIGN UP FOR BOTH, and THAT’s CALLED “The 36.” I don’t suggest doing it, even though I will never not do it again.
To be pre-registered means that you competed the previous year and successfully completed the minimum required for your bracket. If you’re in the 12-hour event, you need to climb a minimum of 60 routes, (of ANY difficulty) to gain reentry. If you’re in the 24-hour event, you must complete a minimum of 100 routes (of ANY difficulty) to gain reentry. If you want to do the All 5.8 and less in the North 40, more power to you. If you want to do every 5.10 you can possibly find, it’s going to suck, but good luck!
When I say any difficulty, I mean it. Even if you sign up for Elite, and your “bracket” says you climb 5.12b and up, you can still climb easier routes. People sometimes think that just because they’re in Advanced, which is 5.11a to 5.12a, that they have to climb in that range. You don’t; you can climb 5.9 to your hearts content even in the Elite bracket.
Every year you must re-qualify for pre-entry the following year. Early on in the competition the minimum for pre-qualification was only one route per hour for each hour. The scores were correspondingly lower. To allow for more entrants, the re-qualifications have been retargeted as the techniques and crowd gets better. Scores, route-counts, etc. have all increased over the years for many different reasons, and comparing scores year-to-year is effectively meaningless. Yes, during many years, new records are set, but this 11th year was brutal and everything was depressed significantly.