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.