Tuppence is at Ansteys cove and has always seemed like totally out of reach for me, I'd seen loads of really strong people try it, even my brother couldn't do it. It was like a classic of the crag and one of the best 8Bs in the country. Although it is graded 8a+ it is widely regarded as 8b and I agree with 8b because it feels harder than the other 8bs I've done.
The first time I tried it was at the end of the day after I'd done lots of climbing but I still managed to do all the moves on it apart from the third which was a dead point of a finger jam which hurt loads. After that was the hardest move on the route, you had to dyno of two crimps get a sloper and as you fell of grab a jug next to it. It was like really precise. Then you got a rest, now came what was thought of as the crux but I found it quite easy, you got set up on a gaston and a crimp then got a massive drop-knee ,the famous one, to reach a crimp, now most people can keep there feet low but I had to get my feet really high and slap for the next jug. After this was the top section with a load of powerful slaps of undercuts, until you got a sloper and had to stab for a triangle jug then it was over.
At half term I went down with my mum for a morning trying it. I made progress everytime which was really good and kept the psyched going. After making good links on it I decided to start trying ground-up, the real test of mental strength was about it start. From the ground I spent the whole time falling of the 6th move, the double dyno. After loads of time getting to this move then falling, one session I fell of that move every time. On my fourth session on the route I stuck the double dyno and was crushed the rest of the route, got to the stab to the triangle jug and completely missed it, I wasn't that happy.
So today I went there but my chances weren't looking good because it was so hot, after like 6 goes I had fallen every time on the double dyno. I wasn't expecting to do it put it cooled of a bit and I got the feet and hands just right and still only just stuck it. I rested and got into the drop-knee, the next move felt really easy and I was just able to keep pulling to the top. I took extra care on the last move to not drop it. I got the easy slab at the end and clipped the chains! I was so happy and it was great to work something that long and finally do it. The feeling was great and I can't wait to find another project to try!
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After last years great results it was now time for the next season of comps. My best result was 11th place and with loads of really strong climbers leaving our category I thought I was in with a real chance to beat that. I was feeling really good and my preparation had been great so I was pretty excited to do really well. My qualifiers looked like my style, one was on the stepped roofs of the old competition wall and the other was on the arête of the new comp wall. After my warm-up and watching lots of competitors get really far on it, which kind of made me a bit nervous, it was my turn. I sat on the chairs beneath the route looking up at the 25 metre high wall and it was really intimidating. Before I got on I took a couple deep breaths just to calm myself down. I pulled on to the CAC starting hold, the first section was really easy but then there was a really strenuous clip which I could have done better on but I pulled through. I got to the rest really pumped after doing the first roof and managed to recover a little bit but it was nowhere near as much as I would have liked. After another powerful clip on an undercut and a couple big moves I got to another semi-rest but I took it because I was really pumped at this point. I tried to clip with my left but messed it up and dropped it realising that it was loads easier to clip with my right. This shock me up a bit, I left the rest and cranked out the next couple moves which felt really hard. I got a crimp and just was totally pumped, I got the hold beside it but could barely move and I just slapped at the next hold to get the plus point. I'd fallen quite high up but the next couple of moves were where loads of people had fallen and I would have done much better if I had done the next couple moves. This was disappointing but I was pumped out my mind and I couldn't have done much better.
Now it was time for the second route. It was on the new comp wall possibly my favourite bit of indoor wall in the world. I was super nervous about the start which looked really sketchy. For once I didn't find it too bad and the getting to the first chain of the route was quite easy. I was cruising and was only slightly pumped when I was on the roof. I thought I was going to top it, but I slapped to this sloper and it was loads worse than I though it was going to be. I tried to kick my feet onto the next foothold but missed and slipped of the sloper. I was slightly disappointed with this performance and I knew I could have done better. I came 11th. For once I was struck emotionally by my result, it was like even when everything was in my favour I still couldn't pull it out of the bag and I was quite demoralised.
I didn't have much time to sulk though because I got the chance to enter the speed climbing and I took the opportunity hoping to do a bit better. I learnt the sequence and was posting times of about 17 seconds which was quite good. After qualification I was in 5th place out of 8. Which meant I was in the final for the next day.
I woke up with the worst sore throat and felt terrible but after a lozenger I was feeling a bit better. When I got to the wall it was pretty chilled and I watched some of the finals with William Bosi crushing to come in a good 2nd place although he wasn't that happy about it! I tried a 7b+ route in the Ratho quarry with Jim and Buster which was really funny. It was like the dirtiest route ever anyway who would go to Ratho for outdoor climbing? Finally it was time for my speed finals! I'd was up against a Czech climber who had posted a time of around 16 seconds so I was going to have to pull it out of the bag to win. I got an ok start and was just losing right to the very end when he had a slip. I caught up and we got the last two holds at the same time but he was just a bit quicker than me to get the buzzer! I thought I'd lost but he hadn't hit his buzzer properly and it hadn't stopped so I won! This was amazing I now had two races to make the podium and I'd got my personal best of just under 17 seconds. But it wasn't my day and I got smashed by my next two competitors and came 4th overall but it was great fun.
So I came 11th and 4th which is undoubtedly the two worst positions I could have made but I am not disheartened and after a week of rest I'm going to have a really good couple weeks of training and then its the European Championships in Imst and after that the Worlds. I'm just entering the most exciting time of the year for me and I'm feeling really good so hopefully this year will be one to remember.