Tuesday 22 April 2014

CWIF 2014 and the Road to Recovery

The 2014 competition season began with the Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) on the 15th and 16th March. After a lot of hardcore training throughout the winter I was feeling psyched and ready to give it 100%. I had little expectation as the start list revealed that multiple international climbers were competing as well as nearly all of the Senior and Junior British bouldering teams.

Women's Qualification results
I competed in the afternoon session as I chose to have a good nights sleep over clean hand holds. This proved to be a good decision for me as I started off well, managing to flash the first 17 or 18 problems. I still had plenty of time left and my energy levels weren't too depleted. I pushed on and surprised myself when I managed to bag more points on certain problems that I thought would be impossible for me. Eventually I managed to break the 200 point barrier which was a far better score that I expected!

I finished before the time ran out with a score of 203. This put me in 8th position, qualifying as the 2nd Brit! I was really pleased with this and it was good to know I was climbing well for the season ahead.

On Sunday I was up early for the semi-finals. I didn't have any expectations as I'd proven to myself that I was climbing well - I was just psyched to try the problems.

Bloc 1

I began well in the semi-final, topping the 1st problem on my 4th attempt.

Bloc 1

Unfortunately things started to go rapidly downhill on the 2nd problem. On my first attempt I fell off from near the top and landed with my left knee hyper-extended ( my knees are hyper-mobile anyway).

Bloc 2 before the fall

At first I couldn't move my leg at all and was planning on pulling out as soon as I was capable of moving off the mats. However the pain eased a bit within the next minute so I decided (perhaps stupidly) to continue. I managed to get another bonus on problem 4 and was quite relieved when the time was up. I finished in 14th and was pleased that I was the first British Junior.

After a trip to A&E I got back just in time to watch the finals. The problems looked super hard but the finalists pulled on and gave it their all. However there could only be one winner - in the women's it was Shauna Coxsey and in the men's it was Tito Caleyron. Well done to all the finalists - awesome climbing all round!

The Cwif was over for another year and yet again it was an amazing competition! Thank you to all of the organizers, route setters and to the Climbing Works for making it happen.

Unfortunately, throughout the next week my knee didn't improve so I had an MRI scan which revealed extensive soft tissue damage as well as bone bruising and a crack in my tibia (I guess the adrenaline kept me going at CWIF!) Because of this I was told not to do any high impact activities for 5-6 weeks (no bouldering!). I began easy leading after 3 weeks which prepared me nicely for my climbing trip to Spain on the 12th April!

Spain - Siurana, Margalef, Arboli

On the 12th April I traveled out to Spain along with Sarah, Tash, Gracie, Naomi, Flo, Billy, Pete, Luke, Alex, Jonny and the parents. I was really looking forward to it, even though I didn't set my aims high because  my knee still couldn't bend properly.

On the first 2 days we went to Siurana where the crushing began. A lot of hard routes were sent and I managed to flash a 7b+ and top a 7c ( already better than I'd expected!)

On the third day we went to Margalef (definitely recommend it for people who like pockets) where we managed to get some quality climbing in away from the sun. I topped another 7b+ and there was more crushing from the boys - Billy and Alex sent an 8a and Luke and Pete got close on an 8a+ and 8B+ (which they topped a few days later).

The following day we had a half day/ rest day. We went to Margalef in the morning, but soon realized we should have got up earlier as the crag was already in the sun. After doing 2 routes we sacked it off and walked up to a massive lake that was nearby. Me, Flo, Billy and Pete arrived first and decided we'd swim to the other side. However we'd seriously under-estimated the distance and only just made it across ( luckily I'd been swimming as part of my rehab!). After the swim back we'd gained a lot of respect for the competitive swimmers as we were all knackered - not the best rest day!

The next day we went to Siurana where we spent a few hours pushing through many holly bushes (it was a mistake wearing shorts) to get to the crag. Unfortunately it wasn't worth the walk in and we only ended up doing chossy routes with 6m runouts. Luckily the walk back only took 10 minutes as we found an alternative path. Me and Gracie also did a few decent climbs on the way out.

The final day took us to Arboli which was an awesome crag with really long routes. I onsighted some 7's which were some of the most enjoyable lines I climbed - though we almost ran out of rope on a 40m route.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and the weather was amazing - thanks to Sarah for the invite and for Mark for organising it!

My knee has improved a lot within the last week, however the 2nd round of the Junior British Bouldering Championships in Glasgow is only 1 week away (26th April). because of this I'm not sure if I'll be able to compete, however I'm hoping to as I won the first round. To retain the title I need to compete in all three rounds..... so fingers crossed!

Tick list from Spain:
Remulo y Romo 7a - onsightC
Chachi qui chapi 7a - flash
Chanidanger 7a+ - onsight
Per tutatis 7a+ - onsight
Pa ella y pa los guiris 7a+ - flash
Crosta panic 7a+ - Flash
Valga'm deu quin patir! 7a+ - flash
Huir para vivir 7a+ - onsight
Montgromyeta 7b+ - second attempt
Bistec de biceps 7b+ - Flash
Avance cangrejo  7c - third attempt

Friday 18 October 2013

European Youth Cup Bouldering - Laval

The last competition of the bouldering European Youth Cup was held in Laval in France on the 12th and 13th October. A bigger team than usual travelled out because the multi-discipline climbers from the lead team came as well. We flew out to France on Thursday and, after a longer drive than we expected, arrived at the hotel feeling rather tired. Luckily we had the whole day on Friday to rest before the comp began on Saturday.

After a lie-in and some breakfast, we went into Laval where we had a team CAC photo. There was then some time to explore the town and do a bit of shopping before we had to be back for the opening ceremony in the evening. After listening to some french speeches and going up on the stage when our country was called, it was over.
The team on stage in Laval (photo tweeted by OnThisROC)

However before dinner we had a great team talk from Nathan and Tom where they gave us really useful advise for the competition the following day.

On Saturday morning we headed down to the wall early so that we would be warmed up and ready for when the competition began. The youth A and Junior girls climbed the same problems at the same time which meant we had 2 hours to climb the 8 problems instead of 1 1/2 hours.

The Youth A and Junior Qualifiers

Before the competition began, I wasn't feeling that positive as all 8 boulders looked really hard. Because of this, I chose to climb one of the easier ones first to build up my confidence. This got me off to a good start, and by the end of 2 hours, due to my determination and the team's support I'd topped 6 of the 8 boulders. I was very pleased with my performance and thought it was a good end to the season. My overall position was 9th (still no final!) but I thought I performed better than I had done previously. I also finished the season with a European and World ranking of 7th for my age group.Rachel, Gracie, Molly and Jen also performed well - either made improvements from previous rounds or performed well in their first bouldering European.

It was still the morning, so the Youth A and Junior male categories were still to come. In the Youth A boys, Team GB had 2 competitors - Hamish and Alex. Both climbed well and Hamish was unlucky not to have made the final as he had to pull out due to injury.

As the afternoon approached, Nathan was still to climb (male Junior) and the whole team was ready to support him. There was a lot of pressure because it was his last junior competition, however, as always, he performed amazingly and comfortably qualified for the finals in 5th position. Later on in the evening, the Youth A and Junior finals began - and in the male junior category wee had Nathan to support. Throughout the final, Nathan climbed really well - topping all of the boulders! |This meant he was guaranteed at least second position even though there were still more people  to climb! As the last climber came out.we all knew he had to top it to beat Nathan. He fell off once....then again....and again....and anther time! The timer ran out as he was on the boulder so we all knew that if he fell off, Nathan would get the gold...... and he did! Nathan won - the first European Gold for GB in years! It was an amazing effort and got the team psyched for the following day when the youth B categories would be competing.

On Sunday the youth B categories were raring to go. after another early start, the competition began. Team GB had some more fantastic performances, with William and Pete making the finals and Ed and Alexia just missing out. This meant that our role of supporting still wasn't over. Despite most of us pretty much losing our voices, we still had plenty of cheering to go.

Yet again the finals were amazing and, yet again, we were the loudest team cheering. Pete and William gave a great show and climbed really well, finishing in 5th (Pete) and 3rd (William)! Another podium for GB!

We travelled back on Monday all feeling positive about how much the team has progressed this year.

Thank you to Tom, Michelle, Clive, Claire and the rest of the team for making it an awesome trip! And well done to Nathan and William for their result ..... bring on next year!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

British Bouldering Championships 2013

photo- Sandy Carr

The British Bouldering Championships this year were held in Sheffield as part of the Cliffhanger Festival on the 6th-7th of July. The Qualifiers were on Saturday, with the Men's in the morning and the Women's in the afternoon. This suited me because it meant I could travel up in the morning instead of staying in Sheffield the night before.

I arrived early enough to watch some of the mens qualifiers. The problems looked great (but extremely hard!) which got me psyched and excited to compete, even though I wasn't climbing for hours.

When the time finally came for the female category to begin, I went into isolation. Unfortunately, I still had a big wait because I was the 20th competitor to climb.

photo- Sandy Carr
After a very tedious wait in the heat and a long warm-up, it was my turn to climb. I went out to the first problem feeling quite confident. This is because from the crowd cheering I knew that a lot of people had topped it.
However my confidence dropped when I saw the problem. I distinctly remember thinking 'where are the holds?!'. I had no idea what to do, but I didn't want to waste the 5 minutes so I decided to just get on with it. Luckily my instincts were better than my route-reading and I managed to flash the problem without too much trouble.

The second problem looked simple and definitely do-able therefore I felt quite annoyed that I couldn't get passed the bonus hold. The third, fourth and fifth problems went really well, as I got another three flashes.

photo- Sandy Carr

I finished feeling really pleased because I felt like I did my best and was confident I'd got a good position. However it wasn't util I saw the scores that I realised just how good a position! I was joint 3rd with Mina! In first and second were Shauna and Alex.

Results board after the qualifiers!

Orrin Coley also climbed awesomely in the mens and despite being a junior, qualified comfortably for the semi-finals - well done! Overall I thought it was a really enjoyable day - especially because I achieved a much better result that I expected!

On Sunday, I had another really long wait in isolation because the start order was in the reverse of the results from the qualifiers. This meant I was out third last.

The semi-finals didn't go nearly as well for me as the qualifiers did, and I only managed to top 1 problem. I became even more disappointed when I found out my position had dropped 5 places! This meant I finished in 8th. Looking back, this was a good result considering I'm only 16 and it was a senior competition, however it was disappointing to drop 5 places.

I'd like to say a massive well done to Jennifer Wood who's still a junior but qualified for the finals in 5th place, holding her own against the Senior British Bouldering Team! And also to Orrin Coley who improved his position further, coming 10th and beating a lot of strong seniors on the way! Awesome effort!

The competition was over for me, however I wouldn't miss an opportunity to watch some of the World's best climbers fighting for 1st place, so I stayed to watch the finals. In the end Shauna Coxsey and Dave Barrans both retained their titles as British Bouldering Champions - well done!

Also, thank you to all of the roue-setters, organisers, volunteers and anyone elso who helped to make it a great weekend.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

European Youth Cup, Sofia, Bulgaria

On Thursday 27th June I arrived in Sofia along with the rest of the GB Junior Bouldering Team for the first of the European Youth Cup of the season. The team that had been selected was: Nathen Phillips (Junior male), Me, Rachel and Gracie (Youth A), Sidonie (Youth B) and James (Youth B male). Tom and Michelle were also there as team coaches and chaperons.

As our flight was extremely early on Thursday we arrived at the hotel in Sofia with most of the day left. We decided to go to the wall so that we knew exactly where to go the competition.

As it was, the wall wasn't hard to find at all because it was in the main shopping centre! This was great because there were also plenty places to get food nearby, which ensured we were eating properly in the run -up to the comp.

The climbing wall was really cool and completely different from any other walls I've been to! There were grooves that lit up and changed colour and it wasn't shaped like a typical competition wall.
Photo of the wall from Tom's tweet

Another view of the wall.... Tom's twitter pic

On Friday we had a whole day to fill, so we had a look around Sofia at some quite impressive buildings that were worth seeing. The atmosphere was really relaxed which suited me because it meant I didn't get psyched out.

The day of the comp finally arrived, however I was able to have a leisurely morning because my category didn't start until the afternoon. Me, Gracie, Rachel and Nathen went down to the wall earlier that we needed so we could support Sid and James who climbed in the morning.

Watching and waiting (photo by Tom)

The warm -up wall was good so I was able to warm up properly. This meant I was feeling quite confident before I began climbing. The problems also looked good (but hard!!) which helped me to get psyched.

There were 8 problems in the qualifiers and each of them had a bonus hold. You could have a maximum of 5 attempts at each problem and we had 1 1/2  hours to climb them.

The problems were numbered depending on how hard they were (1's easiest, 8's hardest). I tried problems's 1 and 2 first and topped them on my first attempt. This gave me some confidence and helped me to enjoy the rest of the competition.

Later on I decided to try problem 8 - and managed to top it on my first attempt! I also got 7 out of 8 bonuses in 7 attempts.

Though my overall position (10th) wasn't great considering that there weren't many competitors, I'm feeling positive about my performance. This is because I think I've got the ability as I flashed the hardest problem. So I think my results will improve as I get more experience on European problems. Also I might have been able to top more problems if my tactics / timings had been better.
You can see some great photos of the comp here:

Overall, I think it was a great trip and I had a fantastic time! Thank you to Tom and Michelle for taking us and for all your help! Also thanks to the rest of the team for making it so much fun! :)

Monday 18 March 2013

El Chorro 2013

On the 16th of February I arrived at the airport ready to fly out to Spain for my first outdoor climbing tripo of the year. Also going were: Tash and her Dad, Gracie; Sarah and her Dad; Flo, Naomi, Luke and their parents; Alex; Johnny; Amanda; Billy and his Dad; and my Mum. Despite the weather forecast (a lot of rain), we were all feeling psyched for a good week climbing.

Team Crush feeling psyched!!

The following day we went to Poema de Rocca on Frontales, which had  great variety of routes in a sheltered cave. My first climb of the trip was 'La Princesa Carol' (5+), followed by 'Stonker' (6b). After this I tried 'Viejo Traidor' (7b+) which is a top 50 route, however I couldn't link many of the moves - perhaps because it was only our first day. Also 'Alex topped 'Eye of the Storm' (7c) and Billy and Gracie cruised through the roof to top 'LA Vila Strangiato (7b).

On the seconed day, the adults, Sarah, Flo and Naomi went to Beuna Sombra in Desplomilandia, while the rest of us went to El Triangula. At first, I tried 'Estirpe Pelleja' (7a), but soon found out it's not one to warm up on, so I did some traversing instead./ Later I topped 'Que tal Mea tu Padre?' (7b) on my second go after falling off the last move on the Flash. Gracie and Tash were also close to getting the top but came off the last move. Alex had an awesome day - topped 'LA Conexion Pelinoja' (8a) second go and flashed 'Mar de Ortigas' (8a). Billy and Johnny were also close to topping this and Gracie worked all the moves.

Looking through one of the holes in the Kingwalk!
As it had rained all through the night, our third day involved no climbing (unless you count watching climbing DVDs) . Instead, some of us went to Malaga to visit the Picasso Museum -  it certainly didn't match up to climbing! When we returned to the villa it was still raining, however we were determined not to have another day off.

The following morning we decided to face the horrible walk-in to Makinodromo - a big mistake! We arrived at the crag absolutely knackered from walking up a steep mountain for hours, just to find   that it was dripping wet. Great!!

Not-so-sketchy part of the sketchy bouldering!

However, not all hope was lost because the area was full of boulders, so we began some sketchy bouldering in trainers with no mats. After a couple of hours, we had to decide whether to hike back down the mountain or head back via the gorge - we chose the gorge.

At the end of the gorge, we found some dry climbing where Jonny onsighted 'El ultimo rayo del sol' (7a+) and me and Alex got it flash. as it was getting dark. I didn't have time to try anything else, however the day hadn't ended up being a waste of time because we were planning to walk the gorge anyway.

The slab - El Ultimo Rayo del Sol (7a+)

Because of the weather, on Thursday we went back to Poema de Roca in Frontales. This time I was far more successful than on my first day, and topped 'Eye of the Storm' (7c) on my second go, which is my best grade outdoors.

On the roof of 'Eye of the Storm' ( 7c)

 I also flashed 'LA vila Strangiato' (7b) and 'El Peoma de Roca' (7a) which is a top 50 route - and I have to say that I agree! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone going to El Chorro. Also Billy topped 'Eye of the Storm' (7c) second go, Sarah topped 'Viejo Traidor' (7b+) and Tash and Naomi topped 'Viejo Amigo' (7a).

On the last day (still raining) we went back top Desplomilandia, to sector Buena Sombra. However most of the crag was seeping so I was unable to try the top 50 routes. I warmed up then went to La Vida Misma, where Billy onsighted 'Cheyenne' (7a+) and I got the Flash. I also flashed a 6c. Back at sector Beuna Sombra, Gracie, Tash, manda and Flo topped 'Fran Sin Natra' (7b).
Exposed on 'Cheyenne' (7a+)

It was a great week and everyone was climbing well, however due to the weather we were limited to certain crags. I was also really pleased because I got my first 7c outdoors. Thank you to everyone else who went and I'm really looking forward to the next trip!

Raining again!!

Thursday 7 February 2013

ROCfest 2013

ROCfest 2013 was held at Rock Over Climbing in Manchester on Saturday 2nd February. There was a great turnout, with competitors throughout the categories and also many spectators.

As I'm 15 years old I entered the junior category online (under 16), however when I arrived at Rock Over, Molly and Gracie decided to move into the seniors and managed to persuade me to do the same. Since most of the Senior Bouldering Team were competing I didn't expect to make the finals as only the top six from the qualifiers would go through.

We had three hours to climb 30 problems, with the Juniors starting at 11am and the Seniors starting at midday. The problems were really well set and tested all styles of climbing (technique, power, strength etc.) The only issue was that it was very crowded so three hours didn't really seem like a long time!!

Reading the problems in the final
I ended up with a score of 221/300 (if you did a problem 1st attempt you got 10 points, 2nd attempt you got 7 points and 3rd attempt you got 3 points). Each problem also had a bonus hold which was worth one point if there was a draw between two or more people. I ended up qualifying for the finals in 5th place - which I was surprised but pleased about!!!

Also qualifying in the Seniors were Alex Puccio, Leah Crane, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Diane Merrick and Naomi Buys.

In the finals we had 4 blocs / problems, where we had 4 minutes to climb each one. We could have as many attempts as we liked within that time, but the less attempts the better!

Since everybody else in the final was quite a bit older than me, I wasn't nervous at all - instead I was really looking forward to the climbs.

Me on Bloc 2

I took one attempt to top the first bloc which put me in joint 1st with Alex and Mina. On the second bloc, I didn't top it or get the bonus hold which moved me down to joint 2nd with Mina (Alex was first). I managed to top the 3rd bloc in three attempts which meant I was in third (Alex was first and Mina second). On the final bloc I took two attempts to top it.....which meant I was third overall!!!
Full results including the senior finals are here

I was really pleased with how I climbed and thought the competition was really well organised and had a great atmosphere.

Also, I'd like to say thank you to Rock Over and all the people who were involved with organising the competition.  :-)

Thank you to Rock Over climbing and photographer James Goodwin for the images.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Youth Open Liverpool 2012 - Bouldering and Leading

On Friday 7th December I traveled up to Liverpool for the Youth Open which was on Saturday and Sunday. I was going to do both the leading and Bouldering because I would like to compete internationally in both next year.
The leading competition was on Saturday at Awesome Walls ( www.awesomewalls.co.uk), where I competed in the Youth A category. This was because the Youth Open is a selection event for next year, therefore we had to compete in the age category we will be in next year.
I managed to top my first route, along with 4 others, which put me in joint first. There wasn't very much time between my first and second route and when I came up from my warm-up (my forearms were still slightly pumped!) I found that I was next to climb! After quickly tying in I got onto my second route. I managed to top it, therefore I qualified in joint first with Molly. The top six places went into the final.

I was well warmed up for the final and felt confident with the route sequence. Unfortunately when I was climbing my foot slipped. Though I still came second, I was really annoyed because I wasn't that pumped when I fell off, so I think I could have got further.

The Youth A podium - Bouldering

On Sunday, at the Climbing Hanger www.theclimbinghangar.com it was the first time that there was a Youth Open bouldering competition. This was because, from next year, there's going to be a junior British Bouldering Team, not just a senior.

We had to try 8 problems in the qualifiers and do them in as few goes as we could. I topped all 8 of them in 12 goes (flashed 6, did 1 second go and 1 third go), which, as usual put me in joint first with Molly!

In the final we tried 3 problems, which we had four minutes to do (the less attempts the better). We were all in isolation, so nobody could see how to do the problems. I managed to flash all 3 of them, so I finished in 1st! Molly came second, with Rachel 3rd.

Overall I think it was a great weekend. Thanks to all of the organisers, volunteers and of course all the competitors!

I have been selected for the British Junior Leading and Bouldering teams, I have to make a decision on which discipline to choose as my priority......tricky!!