Tuesday, 27 August 2013

World Youth Championships

Without a doubt my biggest competition of the year, my first World Championships and what a place to have them in Canada! I'd never been out of Europe, although this didn't intimidate me I was buzzing for it. Even getting selected was a push for me, I had to top all the routes at the selection day, on one I dropped the second to last move. I was gutted and thought that was it, but fortune favoured me and Ian, our team manager still thought it was good enough. So I trained really hard to prove that I was worth taking, after the first two internationals behind me and a 11th and 12th place under my belt, I felt I was ready for the Worlds.

Canada is far away and the first part of my journey was by train to London, after saying goodbye to my parents, with my mum getting quite emotional, I jumped on. Basically met Alex on the train watched a climbing film. First massive panic of the trip was when the room where my luggage was had been locked when I got of! Had a total culture shock when I asked a lady cleaning up about it and she couldn't understand my English! Yeah, already seemed like I was abroad. Taking a tube for the first time to the Westway was new. There we met Molly and Nathan, almost straight away Nathan had to go to catch his train. Then headed back for some training. Almost topped an 8a flash, not bad! It was looking good for Canada.

We stayed the night at Molly's house, and flew the next day, it took 8 hours and was a good time to watch a load of films. We arrived in Canada, it was cool, the airport had jellyfish! It took about an hour to get to our hotel. Hotel was good yeah, we chilled out until the end of the day.

For the rest day, we just chilled out, looked round town, messed about the normal. I got over jeg lag pretty quick and was fine by the time of the competition. So Friday came, and I was pleased to find myself about 30th just after Jim. Our route looked really cool with a roof in the middle and top. Yipee powerful! I was just scared about the weird looking start. Nobody was falling on it so I was reassured. I warmed up, chatted, got psyched and soon I was sitting in the preparation chairs getting ready. I watched Jim fall just before the final roof, on two big slopers. Now I was up, I had to make top 26 to make semi-finals so I would have to work for it. The start was easy and I climb relaxed. Thinking about each move and making it well. I pulled past the first roof. Then I made a mistake, I messed up a climb and this shook me. I climbed past the next crimpy section and was starting to feel pumped. I got to the first sloper undercut and went for the cross-through. I stuck it but had twist out and I just slipped off. I knew I could have done better but was please and I had was easily in the top 26.

After a good performance yesterday, the pressure was off for the second qualifier so I could really go for it. Our route was steep, climbing the best bit of the wall. This time I didn't watch Jim because I thought it might effect my mental attitude to the climb for the worse. I was once again under the wall, feeling more relaxed this time and able to get the right focus. The first section was easy, like pulling on jugs, but then it got harder, there was a hard cross-through at the start of the steep section. I took a rest after that although it wasn't really a rest, but I got some back. I kept going, through my heel up and did the move that were Jim fell although I didn't know that, I was then rocking onto the vertical wall when my foot popped! I desperately clung-on realing in the swing but I was now totally boxed, I just got the next move could barely hold on and wasn't even able to get the plus. And making a fool of myself during a breathless interview afterward.

So after qualification I was in 15th place, perfect, my aim was top 15 and I was in the perfect place for it. After the next rest day, it was the semi-finals. First time in isolation for an international! Was really weird not being able to watch people. Viewing was cool, I always like it because it is just cool to be in a huge group going out to look at routes. I know sounds fun. I was lucky I said I wanted this bit of wall and I got it! It was steep, with another prow section with big volumes. Looked fun. So isolation was pretty boring and I just warmed up. I was a bit nervous, as I walked out, breathed, felt the buzz of the crowd. The biggest route of the year. Climbing for a place in the finals. I walked out, immediately went through the route again in my head. I got told to climb almost straight away, I started. I felt light, and strong like I could pull forever, but I knew I couldn't so I went fast. First roof was done in a flash, not even tired, I found a super rest and stayed there for a while, just chilling. Then I got the next roof, with a hard clip and I got the start of the feature section. It got loads more powerful now, but I could still do the moves. I got to a massive move and I couldn't see the hold I was going for. I went hoping I'd hit it right, I did! The next hold was awful and I could barely pull on it. I panicked, I didn't know what to do, I looked this way and that trying to find some trick, I couldn't I jumped for the plus but was never going to get the move.

I could have done better, I know, I realised that you had to put a heel up and squeeze the volume, it was obvious once I knew! Oh well, I waited for the results and I had finished in 13th position. Good I'd made my goal. Time to chill and enjoy the finals.

The worlds were defiantly an amazing experience to have, the competition was great, I just hope I get to go next year! So whats next, two more competitions, the last EYC in Norway, my last chance to final fingers crossed and a bouldering cup in France which will be my first international boulder competition, so hope it goes well. By the way thanks for all the support I got through-out that competition it really was amazing!
Sponsors: Rock and Rapid Adventures
Troll Outdoor

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Leeds Competitions

A week after my disappointment at Imst, I had yet another competition, the BMC bouldering Championships and the BMC youth open at Leeds. In the national this year I had never one, I'd come close with a second because I was slower but never first, that is what I really wanted to get.
The Saturday was the bouldering competition and I wasn't sure if I would even make the podium because everyone else was looking so strong.

After Qualification I was in third position, with seven tops. The problems had been cool and I had done well. So final time. Isolation took about 2 hours and I was really psyched by the time I got to climb, my first problem looked pretty straight forward just hard pulling. I did just that and flashed it, next up was a steep roof problem, my favourite! I was just pulling again and I got the next flash. At this point I was in first place, I started to believe I could win. The last problem was just a crimp test on tiny pinches, I found it desperate. I could barely hold them let alone do the massive high step I needed to do the problem. My time ran out. I had two tops now I had to watch Will to see if he topped it. In true style he cruised it to take first place. I wasn't that upset though because I really didn't expect to do that well and overall I finished second having lost to Will every time and Ed came third.

Now it was time for the lead, my preference so the pressure was on to do well. I would never live it down if I lost to a boulderer. The first qualifier was about 7b+ and had a pumpy section in the middle but I cranked through that and topped the route. Nice both Jim and Will flashed that too, the second qualifier looked really easy but then they changed it to the vertical wall one youth A boys had. I was thrilled, I need as much practice on vertical climbs as I can get. The first wall was ok and I did the roof easily where lots of people fell. There was a corner and I bridge out to take a rest, I heard Simon Tilley shout to me that it was out but I continued to top the route, just! On the ground I was told that I had been disqualified from where I had bridged so I didn't get the top! I could have appealed and won because nobody had told me the corner was out but I was still in the final so it didn't really matter.

I was third in qualifying so now it was time for the final, we had a really good looking pink route with tufas to start and a dyno finish. Maybe I might could win this competition but Will and Jim were so strong. I got beta from the Youth A boys who had already climbed the route so I knew what I was in for. Finally it was my turn and I walked out trying to relax even with the crowd. I was ready though and I had a quick route read, a deep breath and set off. I was feeling so strong climbing really well and already I had done the first steep section and was at a good rest before the final bulge. I did a couple moves and realised I was wrong handed! Idiot! I had to then climb back and get it the right way, that tired me out and a mistake was just what I didn't want. I did the next move and put my foot up, two moves left, the two hardest moves. I slapped and stuck the crimp out right got my feet in a good place and jumped for the finishing jug! I stuck it, almost surprised I clipped the chains. The first final route I'd topped but I was fairly sure Will and Jim would top to. I sat down and watched nervously. I watched Will as he looked so solid crushing it all. But he was looking tired and at the last move he was chicken winging like crazy, he jumped but was too tired and fell! I was shocked, and once again I thought I could win this. Just Jim to climb, he was looking strong as well. He got to the second to last move but it was too big for him and he fell. I couldn't really believe, I'd won. I had some luck for once. This was great and has given me a confidence for Canada, maybe I'll keep going and make final there which would be a dream come true. Well I can always hope.
Sponsors: Rock and Rapid
Troll Outdoor

Imst European Championships

To finish my trip of Europe I had the European Championships in Imst, Austria, like the Zillertal it was surrounded by the most beautiful mountains. I had only one aim for this competition to make the final. The last European at Ratho I came 11th place even though I came 8th and 10th on my qualifier routes and was gutted, so this time I wanted to make it. Although I wasn't sure if it was possible, the field would be much larger and I found out we had fifty people in our category! This didn't fill me with hope but I knew I could do it.

After a couple days chilling, it was the day to perform. I saw my first qualifier and it was the one I wanted to get! Maybe I would get lucky. It had a short bit of vertical wall before going into slightly overhanging for ages. All the holds looked pretty good and people where getting split up on the route so it would be hard all the way through. I had a clean just before I climbed, even more luck. I waited focused. Trying to keep myself in the zone that will get me into the final. I pulled on, the vertical wall was easy, I was calm and chilled. I kept pulling on the small crimps, making sure to get every move perfect. I was doing well, getting past a hard cross through move, where a lot had fallen. I was a bit pumped and did a big move to some slopers, I got a pinch thing and slapped again, stuck the hold but my foot popped of and I slipped and fell. No! I knew as I fell that I could have got higher but maybe that would have been enough. After looking at the scoreboard I saw they hadn't given me the hold! I decided I wanted to appeal and Ian thought it was a good shout. After a long wait I found out my appeal had been rejected because my foot had popped when I was holding it! This was annoying and I said to someone 'I bet that will be the difference between me just missing out and making the final'.

First Qualifier
I couldn't dwell on those thoughts though because it was time for my next climb and I was up pretty early. Also my second qualifier was the one I wanted and I felt sure that I could put a good effort in and make a good position. I read the route and got beta from Molly who had already climbed the route, warmed up and went to tie on below the route. I watched the people before me fall of low down not even on the top steep section. This qualifier would decided whether I made final or not, I had to do my best. I climbed the first section easily and felt really solid on it all, then I was shook up by a sketchy sequence where I got my feet wrong and had to reverse to correct my mistake, It was only a small mistake and I recovered what I lost at a rest higher up. Now was the steep section that nobody else had reached, all the holds where good and I pulled really hard, but I was getting pumped and as I reached into an undercut I had barely got anything left, I slapped and stuck the next hold, desperately trying to recover there with a quick shake, the next moves were huge and I gave it all I got, I stuck the first crimp thing, moved my feet to go again, went for it, I had the distance, my fingers curled over and slipped off. I was off.

Second Qualifier
I hoped it was good enough. At the time I was in first place and I watched as my position slipped and slipped at 5th I went away because it was too tense to watch, Once everyone had finished I went to check the results. I was tense as I waited for my results, then my heart sank as I saw I had come 12th place, and if I had one the appeal I would have been in 9th. Another disappointment, although I came 12th this one was even closer than the Ratho, and I felt I climb to my best, I just didn't have the luck. Maybe I just wasn't good enough, but maybe my failure would lead to success. I don't know.

Sponsors:Rock and Rapid Adventures
Troll Outdoor


Jack the Ripper
So after Frankejura we went to the Zillertal in Austria, it was a massive change from the rolling wooded countryside of Germany, with huge mountains and massive cliffs. The first crag we visited was Ewige Jagrunde high up the valley, it was two huge boulders with loads of vertical sport climbing! Another change, steep limestone to vertical granite. We knew it was going to be hard, it was. We tried a 6c to start and we both fell of the start oh dear. We then did a load of 7s which were all fun and not too hard, I got a 7c flash which was hideously crimpy and technical. I was then feeling pretty good so I tried Jack the Ripper 8a, I was psyched when I could do the crux slab moves with the thumb holds. I then did it third go to tick my first 8a slab! Sick.

Next day we went to Monkey Island a crag which looked really cool in all the pictures I've seen of it. Unfortunately it disappointed, the style was weird, really powerful laybacking and we didn't like it that much, I tried Space 8a but it was desperate, with a hard as dyno right at the top when you were so pumped. We did manage a 7c+ called Sex Magic and then we gave up for the day.
Especially for You 7c

Electric Avenue
For a rest day we climbed this huge mountain with snow on! In the middle of summer so I had to take the opportunity to through as many snow balls and sledge now the path on my bum! Don't think my mum was that happy as I almost took her out on the way past. So for the last day in Zillertal we climbed at Ewige to warm up and then moved to Bachexe. This was the a massive roof with the classic Electric Avenue 8a. To start it had two big dynos then a rest then was the crux a really cool boulder problem traverse along bad slopers. I liked it because it was a really cool line and you don't normally get slopey traverses on routes so it was a bit different. It went third go and was one of the best routes I'd done all trip. For the last couple hours we went to Los Lochos and tried Still waters run deep another 8a! It just a super power boulder problem to start and once we did that it was over so we did it quickly. To finish I climb hole in one 7c and was done. Like I couldn't pull anymore.
Sponsors: Rock and Rapid Adventures
Troll Outdoor

For the last day we climbed for a bit then gave up and went bouldering which was really fun, as a change for route climbing. I'm not converting though. It was chilled and I sent some good problems, I definitely want to go back to climb more there but first want to get a bit stronger to do some of the harder stuff. Hopefully it will happen soon.


So this was the second time I had visited the Frankenjura in Germany, basically it is a massive area with thousands of little lumps of limestone sticking out of the hillside. The rock is really pocketed and generally overhanging oh yeah short as well. Seeing as the routes where short I didn't really expect to climb really hard because the routes where so hard but I was psyched to do lots of low 8's.
So first day it took us ages to find the crag, not a good start. But when we found it, we were awarded with 15m high walls of solid limestone and some sketchy bolting. Two 7a's to warm up and falling from the second bolt meant a deck-out scary stuff! Then did my first 7c onsight of the trip! Felt good on it and this spurred me on to try an 8a called Links Trumm which went easily on the second go. Having such a good first day got me really excited and I knew this was going to be a good trip.

Next I went to a crag called the Nackendorfer block which had a roof 8a, after getting all the moves really quickly and starting the redpoints I realised it was really hard with a massive slap to a blind pocket and I fell on this move every time. Not feeling as strong as I thought. At the end of the day we went to climb Ergo 7c+ which was an amazing arch close to the ground. It was the first proper arch I had climbed and I wasn't disappointed it had crazy moves loads of spinning! Made my day!

After a days tanning and a rest day, it was time for more crushing! We warmed up and then went to Soranger wand, there we met a polish guy who had climbed 9a! He was seriously strong, cruising the 8a's we were struggling to do but we did get two 8a's there both really cool and at the end of the day I did a 7c+ which felt harder than both of them but that's probably because I was so tired.

The next day was epic. Went to have a quick warm up then I climbed Chasin' the Train 7c which was a super classic put up by the legend John Bachar. I felt good to climb such history, but that wasn't the real event of the next we went to a small cave with two 8a's The Flow and Ludwag. The Flow was really weird with hard moves on gastons, I got it third go. Ludwag was a groove, smooth with only small crimps and crap footholds to keep you in it. I don't really like grooves and hadn't really done anything like this before so I was surprised when I could do all the moves and was ready for a redpoint attempt. After doing the first weird shuffling bit out a chimmey which really tired you out, I pulled out onto the overhang and did the first move into the groove. Once again the feet felt crap and moves hard and I slapped desperately for each hold, using my shoulders so much I thought they would pop out, I kept fighting and slapping. I had done it! I climbed the easy groove at the top and clipped the chains! My first 8a groove! Then we were all really tired, except me so I was out voted to go back to the campsite. Fortunately I managed to persuade my dad to give me a belay on another 8a called Inquisition, this was a power endurance route right what I needed at the end of the day, but I wanted to get three 8a's in a day. After 4 attempts I was getting really tired, but on the fifth I cranked out the crux and got to the top although I thought I might fall from the 6b top section because I was so pumped! That was such a manic day and I was so tired after it, rest day I think.

After the rest day, we warmed up at a wet crag with some real awful routes but it was fun and we weren't fussy, today was the day we were going to try Misery 8a+ one of the routes we wanted to do before we had even arrived in Frankejura. It didn't disappoint! Really steep through an awesome arch, Luke did all the moves and came down saying it was really hard, I didn't doubt him. I climbed the first easy section and took a rest to work out the moves, after trying ever different way and failing I found a way! So redpoint attempts, Luke sent it second go! What a beast he was proper pulling it was crazy, then it was my go, fluffed it my heal popped before the crux, dam. After falling from the crux, a couple times, I finally stuck the crux and cranked through to the top, so good. The feeling of clipping the chains on a hard route will never get old. Next we went to try Funk beyond the call of duty, pretty cool name, which was another 8a+, I tried it and it was really soft just a boulder problem, I did it second go, good day.

The next day, we went to the super steep Grune Holle, the history was defiantly there, with the eloquently named Bastard 8a+ from Jerry Moffat! After warming up and pumping out on a 7b which was seriously hard I flashed a 7c+ and tried Bastard, basically it was the crappest route ever, with chipped and seekered holds, but still fun with a massive dyno that I was really close to but just couldn't do, what a bummer. Then we went to climb Glaspatronenmatch, a classic 8a, it went pretty quick, psyched to be able to do 8a just casually. We then climbed a massive roof called Orang-u-tang it was crazy and really pumpy!

So last day, we warmed up and went to teddy wand, which had Sacktreffer 8a+, this was what I had been looking for in Frankenjura. Really powerful on fingery pockets with long moves. It turned out to be pretty soft although there was a hard climb at the top, which Luke missed and could have decked from 14m! Scary! On my third go I sent it, to me it was the route of the trip and I loved climbing it. To finish of the trip we did Homeboy 8a and a couple 7bs.

Frankenjura hadn't disappointed again, with hard routes and good crags, I would recommend it to everyone who wants to do some serious pulling and avoid the endurance crap of France and Spain! Hopefully it won't be long before I get back there!


Sponsors: Rock and Rapid Adventures
Troll Outdoor