TIA Vol.III – Everest Recap

Tenzing and Hillary - TIA 2023

By now we’re pretty comfortable with TIA. We’ve had two years experience and have learned a lot. Every year we plan and strategise on how to improve the next year. TIA is all about the community and the vibe – we don’t want to give you anything but the best. This year we knew it was going to be bigger than ever before. TIA VOL.III had a whopping 52 teams compete on the day! That’s 104 manic-maats frothing over some of the tastiest problems you’ve ever seen. The team at FA is stoked that the many hours behind the scenes paid off and we could deliver on a dope day for our FA Family.

The Seven Summits

The theme for the FAF’s this year was the Seven Summits. The seven highest peaks on each continent. Truly worthy adversaries for our tjoms. Mountaineering is no different than the rest of climbing, in that it is a team sport. As much as one’s success in climbing depends on their own physical and mental strength, success is also determined by the strength of your team. Our tjommies, maats, chinas, homies and hombres. Without them climbing just wouldn’t be the same. It is this mutual support, respect and psych that enabled the many tjoms of this year to lay siege to each of the Seven Summits. They were a brutal proving ground for TIA. Of course, everyone emerged stronger and frothier for the final peak

Woman climbing Tjoms in Arms

Laying the Path

Competitors and spectators alike are familiar with the layout at TIA. There’s a chill area on the ground floor, the gym, the maats. Everything a tjommie may need. Some of you may have wondered how the feng shui flows into the space. Well, on the Friday before TIA the FA Fairies put on their comfy sessioning shoes and begin the hustle. Tarps are gooi-ed with a reckless abandon, carpets are rolled, games are set up (often conceived of on the spot) – and this is just one aspect. Far above the Tarp City Fairies, the Setting Elves hustle away. Channeling an unnatural level of creativity and physical prowess they labour to deliver the sickest quali and final problems their chalked up brains can devise

Pulling Plastic

The qualifying sessions this year were broken into three slots. This was an attempt to spread the load on the gyms modest square meterage. “Maximum capacity” might be a relative term but we wanted all the tjoms fair access to those tasty quali problems. Each tjom scored themselves individually and recorded their ten best boulders to count for their combined team score. Something special about TIA is seeing the shared psych and enjoyment of all the teams. Mixes of all genders and ages join for a wild two hour qualifier and push their limits.

Decompressing Downstairs

Phew! Your quali sesh is done and now you need to desperately try to recuperate a millimeter of skin in case you make it to finals. Luckily for the competitors there were several fun games for them to unwind with. A rolling bar hang, enduro-pinch competition and finger boulders! Yeah, maybe not the best recuperation before hard climbing but it kept the froth flowing. The smarter tjoms grabbed a tasty prego roll, some lekker craft beer from SHY and plonked their weary butts onto a boulder pad in the magnificent Tarp City. 

TIA was also blessed with a visit by Gone Outdoor. These absolute legends set themselves up and offered FREE repairs for our well-loved and well-worn jackets and shoes. A dirtbags dream!

In the seemingly mellow time (we’ll get to that later) between the last qualifier session and finals we got to enjoy our first FA quiz. Hosted by the legendary and elusive Swart. It was a gripping hour of fun. Winners quickly emerged with questions designed to test the depth of a climbers nerdiness. Big up to everyone who fought valiantly for the tasty beer giveaway and congrats to team Ale for absolutely destroying the competition.

Flowing into Finals

While the competitors were prepping downstairs Lidia and Wes were hustling to get those finalist names. The setters were stripping and setting like they’ve never stripped and set before! 30 qualis had to come down and eight finals had to go up. If you noticed a haunting emptiness in the setters eyes during finals it’s because they had just peaked physically as a human being. Don’t stress though, they have a whole year to recuperate so next year’s performance is just as good.  

Before the finals actually kicked off the athletes were briefed and allowed to warm up. One or two actually took this seriously. Mostly though everyone was goofing around by the Moonboard. The mood was light and the psych was flowing. 

Go Time

The finals of Tjoms in Arms is probably the fastest 80 minutes one can experience. To say it’s frenetic doesn’t even come close. The athletes are called out to lineup and are met with a sea of stoked faces. Finals at TIA really goes to show that maximum occupancy is a mindset, and if the gees is high enough, any number of tjoms can rattle a venue’s rafters. 

As the athletes compete on the sexy final problems the stoke builds to unprecedented levels. Each zone and top is met with a crazed roar from the crowd. As the tjoms trade burns, the beta sharing gets dialed in and each attempt gets closer than the last. The whole concept of who’s going to win has left the tjoms minds. It’s all about the send and pysch from the maats.

In what feels like no time at all the finals are finished. With everyone’s ears ringing from the deafening roars of support, FA takes a quick 15 minute break while the scores are tallied. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. TIA is all about the Tjommies, the Journey, the Community. So as always, our prize giving isn’t limited to the Mixed, Female and Male Podiums. We also celebrate our frothy FAFers, our most stylish, most injured and the classic Biggest Head.

Tjoms in Arms Event

Mixed Category

1st: Caitlin Bouwer & Daniel Hill (Chicks with Dicks)

2nd: Abigail Strange & Edward Harvey (Barbenheimer 1)

3rd: Jade Vogt & Morgan Atkinson (MJ)

Female Category

1st: Kelsey Dowds & Rochelle-Mari Smith (Black Pink)

2nd: Jemma Erdey (Gym Bunny’s)

3rd: Nicola Smith & Jamey Rodda (Micky & Minnie)

Male Category

1st: Joshua Alexander & Griffen Alexander (Too Injured for Finals)

2nd: Josh Greaves & Fayzan Adroos (Big Cook Little Cook)

3rd: Evan Margetts & Wesley Rothwell (Evan and his Chalkbag)

Party and Pass-Out (in that order)

As always, once it’s all sent and done, TIA winds down by pumping it up at a sick afterparty. Our rad DJ’s Adam, Aymeric and Tim sent the evening off with some bangers. The tjommies danced until they could dance no more and joined the slow procession home. The lights of Uber’s driving into the dark, like headlamps winding their way down Everest. The big one was summited and all the Tjoms in Arms emerged relatively unscathed, but most importantly victorious. 

TIA wouldn’t be possible without the community and the hands behind the scenes. The continued and undiminished psych from the community gives us all the gees to keep doing what we’re doing. From the tops of our beanies to the tips of our manky toes, we thank you. The hands behind the scenes labour for months to make TIA the absolute best it can be. The dedication from this team is incredible. They never say no to a task and they’re always psyched to get it done. You know who you are, and each and every one of you is a legend. Special thanks to Chris Doman for the stellar photography. If you’d like some memories of the day the can find them here

That’s it for VOL.III. As always, our most sincere thank you to everyone for making this possible. FA has the raddest community out there hands down.

Much love

The FA Team

Kat Odendaal

Kat Odendaal


You might also enjoy

MMF 2024 Pre-Fest Build Up

One week until the Mayhem begins FAmily! Here’s your fest-admin so you’re suitably psyched and ready for the lines.

A New Boulder and Yoga Matt

2024 brings a lot of change, and with it is our new manager for Friends and Allies. Some of you may have seen Matt around the gym. Come get to know him a bit better.

Boven – FAF Chapter 2

Waterval Boven, often hailed as the Mecca of sport climbing in South Africa is the theme for out second FAF Chapter in 2024! This venue is steeped in history and tradition. It’s a place to test yourself, build lasting friendships and v