Thursday, 5 January 2017

World Youth Climbing Championships - Guangzhou, China

In September this year I was invited to represent Britain at the World Youth Climbing Championships. The competition was held in Guangzhou, China so I was really excited to go there. Before this I had never gone any further than Europe for climbing or on holiday. 

This year has been my first year competing internationally as I am only in the my first year of category B. I have had some great results in lead and boulder this year and I managed to retain my British Speed Champion title. Because of this I was put forward to compete in the overall at the Worlds, which means I could compete in all three disciplines and have a chance at the overall title.

Day 1

On the 3rd of November I met the rest of the GB team members at Manchester Airport before flying to Paris. From here we flew straight to Guangzhou, China! I was looking forward to experiencing my first long hall flight but as I had been told it wasn't all that exciting. The flight was 13 hours and we arrived at 6 o'clock Guangzhou time. Just as we were going to get a taxi to the hotel Ellie (another team coach who had flown out some hours before) called to tell us our hotel wouldn't let any westerners stay there! So after many phone calls home and different arrangements a new hotel was booked.

Day 2

It started with a really odd but nice breakfast at the hotel. There were dumplings, noodles and the only British breakfast thing I recognised was eggs!

The competition was due to start on the 7th so we had 2 days to explore the city! The first thing we did was go into the town and visit the zoo. It took 4 taxi's to get the whole team to the zoo and it was unbelievable how busy the roads were! There were cars everywhere and a lot more cyclist than in the UK. The buildings were so much taller than any of the places I have seen before. 

Inside the zoo we met the rest of the team by the panda's enclosure. Seeing a panda was one of the things on my list of stuff to do in China so I was really disappointed when there was none in there. The cage was under construction. So we split up and walked around the rest of the zoo.

After lunch we left the zoo and we divided into 2 groups. I went on the metro to a sculpture park. We didn't find the park in the end but we found an area with trees so we hung the finger board up and did a little session.

Next we got on the metro again to a Chinese temple. It was amazing to see all the statues of the golden Buddhas and their religious ceremony. The roofs of the temples were just like the ones in Kung Fu panda. There were lots of scabby cats wondering around which was a bit weird. 

At the end of the day we got the very busy metro again to where the rest of the team were shopping. There seemed to be lots of people everywhere you went in Guangzhou! After finally finding the right shopping centre we had a meal together.

Day 3

We got up late and stayed at the hotel for the morning so we could rest for our first lead qualifier the following day. The hotel kindly let us ride in their mini bus to get to the wall so we wouldn't have to get taxi's. It was a pretty short drive there and once we arrived I went over to look at the routes and bouldering walls. There were some really big overhangs on the boulder and lead. When the whole team was standing looking at the wall the officials told us off so we went to the registration building. Inside the building next to the climbing was our registration point where we got competition passes and were told it was 4 hours until the opening ceremony.

It was decided that 3 coaches would stay for the technical meeting and the rest could go shopping and get some food. Because we didn't speak any Chinese it was hard to find  public transport to the right place. So after speaking to 3 different half English speaking IFSC officials we finally got on a bus to the mall.

Kitty (my friend also on the team) and I walked around the shops for a few hours as we had already bought food. We got really bored after walking around the shops 3 times but it was soon time to go for the opening ceremony. 

We caught the bus again but got off at a stop too early so we had to walk quite fast to the wall so we didn't miss the opening ceremony. As long as your teams flag bearer was there for the ceremony then the rest of the team didn't have to go. I was nominated to run to the wall to get there in time and be the flag bearer. I wasn't playing attention to the conversation and I only worked out what I was doing half way through the run. 

I was very happy to carry the flag at my first ever World Championships. The ceremony was held in the cycling velodrome just in front of the wall. I followed a lady carrying a sign which said Great Britain. I was so glad I wasn't at the front because I had no idea where to go. We did a quick tour of the velodrome before listening to a load of speeches from various IFSC senior officials. The teams were then allowed to join the coaches in the stands and watch the dancers and other traditional Chinese performances. Also each athlete got a "goodie bag" with some leaflets and a nice Chinese chalk bag in it. 

We left soon after the ceremony was over and went back to the hotel. 

Day 4

An early start for us! We had to go and register early and then wait for our turn. I was up last out of the team (45th) which I was happy about until I realised how long the wait would be. The demos weren't up for a while after we got there so I was guessing which one I would have. 

Eventually when the routes went up I had the one I wanted. It was a purple route on a slightly less overhanging wall. I spent a lot of time reading it and watching other climbers. Kitty was up early and she climbed it really well getting well above average. 

After warming up I sat in the chair until I was called to climb. I went out pretty confident and was climbing well until I came to the undercut move where a lot of other people had fallen off. It was a cross through to an under cut and then a massive stand up to a small crimp.

I knew what I had to do, I just didn't want to fall off so low down. After a lot of goes I made the move and climbed way too quickly up the next section to the volume. I had planned to shake just before I got the volume but I was really stressed after thinking I was going to fall off the undercut move. This made me really pants so I fell off going to good hold which I planned to rest on so I was really annoyed.

It took me a while to realise that I hadn't actually done that bad and to focus on the 2nd qualifier.

Day 5

The following day we had qualifier 2 and I was out around 20th. The route looked much more my style than qualifier 1 so I was looking forward to it.

After warming up, I had two things to think about from qualifier 1 which I kept saying to myself as a pulled on. 

Again I started well, climbing smooth. I had planned to shake out just before the roof but I thought I felt okay so I kept climbing. There were no rest spots for a while after this so I had to keep going. I regretted it as soon as I clipped the first clip in the roof. I was really pumped and all I could do was keep going. I went dynamically to the jug in the middle of the roof but I was too pumped to hold it and I fell. I felt so stupid because I made the same mistake I made the day before. I managed to recover from my disappointment quicker but it also helped that I had made the semifinals and had another chance to prove myself. Overall it was a pretty good day because everyone else in team GB made the semifinals as well!

Day 6

For the semi-final all categories went into isolation at the same time and one person from each category climbed at the same time. We arrived early on the shuttle bus from our hotel and had to go straight into isolation so we didn't get a chance to look at any of the routes.

Ellie was in isolation with us to help us and get us ready to climb. I was first to climb out of our team.

It was pretty nerve-wracking waiting in the chair to climb and all I wanted to do was put things I did wrong qualifying right on this route and prove to myself that I can climb well. I was happy with the route after observation. We were on the red over hang and it looked quite hard which was good because it meant there is a less chance of  tying with other competitors.

The only thing on my mind when I walked out to climb the route was sticking to my plan and really going for it. I knew if I stuck to my plan and tried my best there was nothing else I could do.

The moves were quite dynamic on this route but I enjoyed them. I made one route-read error that I corrected as I went up so it didn't cost me any more energy. I got the sequence right and in the roof I planed to shake out, so I forced myself to. I was feeling really good as the hold I was shaking on was a really nice jug. Just before I came out to the China clipping was a problem for me so I was worried about the clip in the roof of this climb. I reached out with the rope to clip it but it swung away and I couldn't quite get it in. I think I had around five goes until I finally got in. There was a big screen with live videos of the climbers. While I was shaking out I watched myself live. Here I rested again so I would be ready to complete the next section to get over the lip. I should have rested  a bit longer as I was still a little bit pumped when I started to climb on. I climbed on and made it as far as the first hold over the lip and then fell as I reached for the next hold.

I was so close to climbing my best and I couldn't believe I messed up just at the end. I wasn't as disappointed as the qualifiers because I hadn't made as many mistakes.

At the end of semis I was in 17th place which I'm not happy with as a lot of people got to the same hold as me so it went to count-back so I was pretty low down. So my mistakes in qualifying made a big difference to my final position. 

There was some very good performances from team GB but sadly no finalists.

Day 7

The main reason I decided to do speed was for the overall title but I would also like to train  so I can compete in that event in Europe and next year.

Both me and Kitty were competing in speed and on the start start lists by chance we were against each other. The format was on times so the fastest times would get into the final but there was still two climbers on the wall same time like a head to head would be. 

My first run was okay even though I false started on my first attempt. I don't know times as the IFSC only uses your fastest time. 

After everyone had finished their first run they started from the top of the list again for second attempts. I didn't false start on my second attempt but I felt a bit slower.

I wasn't as bothered about speed as I have no way of training for it in Cardiff. I was reasonably happy with 27th place and a best time of 14.94 seconds.

For the rest of the day I watched and junior male bouldering qualifications and by the afternoon we had a 2nd, 4th and 5th. Around this time it started to rain a lot. The climbing had to be postponed while the rain cleared up, leaving the competitors in isolation for even longer. They had already been there all morning! Billy was the only athlete from team GB left in isolation and he was the very last competitor to climb for the junior male category. After the rain stopped the finals resumed only to be completely stopped half an hour later. It was then decided that it was too wet for the rest of the qualifiers to go ahead so they cancelled it and all of the scores from the other competitors were deleted. This meant all of our great results were gone! Because there wasn't enough time to reschedule the qualifiers they decided to skip it and go straight to semi’s this meant that they had to separate 60 people down to 6 finalists. We all felt sorry for Billy and Tim (team coach) as they were in isolation that 8 hours and didn't even get to climb. 

Day 8 

After being a little disappointed with my performance in lead climbing I was excited to start the bouldering. I felt like my bouldering was slightly stronger and I was determined to climb better.

In lead I was really happy to be out late but I have now changed my mind. It is much better to be out earlier so you can get it over with and there is less time to get nervous. After deciding this I found out I was 50th to climb and would spend 4 hours in isolation!

Michelle (team chaperone) was my coach in isolation. The warm-up walls were okay. Also the holds were very chalky and there wasn't much space but as I was climbing very near the end most people had already gone out so there was lots of space for me.

I hadn't seen any of the problems so I had to be ready to climb any style. It was hard to be prepared for slabs as they only had one volume to use and both the warm up walls were over hanging. 

I couldn't help but hope there would be not many slopers as even with practice they are still my least favourite hold. The format was 5 on 5 off one of my favourites. It means the competition is over much quicker and this is more about endurance than just strength.

For my first block I was a little disappointed to see only slopers and sloper volumes the whole way up it. I pulled on and had missed a crimp in my route read so I was finding it hard to move up. I was getting more and more pumped so I looked different ways of doing the move until I finally found the crimp! I grabbed it and easily made it to the bonus hold which was giant volume sloper. There were only two moves left and I really wanted an on-sight. I got the next sloper and jumped to the top hold also sloper. To my surprise I manage to hold it and get the top. Later I found that I was only 1 of 4 people to on-sight the problem!


The next block wasn't just slopers. I pulled on and did a massive cross to a pocket and dynamically pushed out to volume. I messed around with my feet for too long which cost me a lot of energy for the last moves. I got to the moon shaped sloper and matched the top of it. I was really pumped and the wall was very overhanging. I went for the next move which was only one hold away from the top. I wanted to get straight back on as usual but I forced myself to rest before pulling on again. In total I had 3 or 4 attempts but none were as good as my first. I decided that when there was 30 seconds left I wouldn't have another go but save my energy for the the following 3 qualifiers.

For the third block I had a dyno. I am pretty bad at these but after a few goes they can sometimes happen. For my first few attempts I tried dynoing and static ways even though I new it was definitely a dyno. After six tries I stuck it, the next move was big and I had all the wrong beta. I managed to do a double heel hook and then fall off jumping! The time ran out after this, I didn't even get the bonus! I wasn't very happy in the transition area.

Block four was overhanging, short, and slightly less slopery than the last few climbs. I knew when I saw it that I could flash it so I was eager to get on. Maybe a bit too eager. As planned I route read for 10 to 20 seconds and then pulled on. The holds were much better than they looked and I got to the bonus easily I then jumped to the next hold and my hand slipped off it. I felt really stupid because I rushed and it cost me a flash because in the next attempt I did it easily. 

My fifth qualifier was a slab. I'm not usually very good at slabs but this time I was okay. It was a four point start on a ramp shaped volume then a stand up and go to a wiggly snake shaped crimp. At this point I had to jump and catch a volume, my worst nightmare of a move. It took multiple attempts but I did finally stick it. The last hold was a sloped volume with a chalky screw on top. In the last few minutes I tried jumping for it three times and slipped down every time.

I was reasonably happy with my climbing in bouldering and my position was 12th. If I had flashed qualifier four I would have been 10th!

Day 9

Sadly this was my last day of competing out in China as I didn't make it to the finals. The format was the same as qualifiers but this round we only had four blocks. Isolation was much shorter as I'd qualified in 12th place, meaning I was out 9th, this was much better even though it was harder to get onto the warm up wall. Michelle was in isolation with me again and we did the same warm up routines as before. Time slipped away much quicker this time and I was soon sitting in the chair ready to climb.

Bloc 1 had volumes everywhere and was very confusing to route read. I did pretty well first go, getting to the bonus even after I spent ages messing around in the middle. After a long rest I was still too tired and couldn't get anywhere.

Semi-final B2
Bloc 2 was one of the hardest and only one person topped it. You had to rock onto a volume and push into the roof with your hands then turn around and walk your hands down the wall to a sloper. I attempted to do it fast and slowly but I just couldn't stick it. The bonus was only a little bit above the sloper so I also tried going quickly to that as well. I must have had about 10 attempts or more at the problem because it wasn't costing much arm strength and I really wanted top it and make the final.

Bloc 3 - my favourite style. There were a few of the sloper rings and moons but they had crimps on them! I think I got the bonus on my first attempt and fell on the second last move because I didn’t move my feet up. I had 3 more attempts after this and fell off the top move every time, almost sticking it on the last go. When I went back into transition I remembered what I needed to do. This was such an easy thing to fix!

Bloc 4 - I just wanted one top! And I got a slab. My least favourite. After placing my feet and hands onto the four points I rocked onto the next volume and balanced across trying not to match my feet to much. As I balanced across I saw the bonus at my feet so I reached down and put my hand onto it and it slipped off. On my next attempt I got called off because I crimped a bolt hole on a volume which was allowed for most of this year but the rule must've been changed before I went out to China. I didn't really know what to do so I just jumped off and ran straight back on. I wanted to argue with the judge but I knew that would just waste time. I edged across again and put my feet on the bonus making it easy to get the top to hold. My only top in the semifinals! It was really nice to end on a high

The small mistakes I made were pretty frustrating that I was reasonably happy with my end result of 14th.

On the last climbing day of the trip we watched William Bosi and Tara Hayes come third and second in the bouldering finals our only medallists.

Day 10

It was really nice to have one day before we left to go out and see China. We hired bikes and tandems from the hotel. It was a lot of fun. 
So my final results were:
Lead - 17th
Speed - 27th
Bouldering - 14th
Overall - 11th

My current world ranking is now 13th!

As it was my first world championships I am happy with my results but feel like I could have done better. I am looking forward to next year when I am in the top of my category!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

British Lead (and Speed) Climbing Championships 2016

Last Friday my family and I made the long journey to Sheffield to compete in the British Lead and Speed Climbing Championships. We stayed in the Premier Inn near Awesome Walls because we had an early start on Saturday and I always like to get there early.

After breakfast we drove to Awesome Walls and it had just opened. I registered and got a competition vest and my competitor number - 9. My dad had registered me in his name and in the wrong category! So I had to get a new number printed and was added last onto the list for my category. I was quite happy about this because our first route looked hard.

Qualifier one was a slab type climb. It looked hard and sketchy. It was a black route on my least favourite wall. I read the route with lots of people and watched the demo. At 10 o'clock the climbing started and I had 16 people to watch . This gave me a lot more confidence about it. On the route there was a green cross next to a clip and a hold. This means you have to clip the clip with the green cross from the hold with the green cross. I had seen these before but never had to use one.
It made climbers climb up to the clip, then clip from the right hold but then climb back down and carry on up the route. You would be disqualified if you clipped the clip from the wrong hold. It also means extra climbing up and down. After watching 10 or so people climb I warmed up and sat on the chair ready to tie in.

Kitty was the second last climber so I was drying my liquid chalk while watching her. She did really well and was the first person to top the route! I was confident after seeing a top. I pulled on and did a double clip with the first and second clips and then again with the third and fourth - the fourth being the green cross clip. I rested a bit before climbing down away from the green cross clip and up the rest of the route.The next part was the hardest for me because I had to hold a lot of slopers and move slowly upwards towards a good resting point near the top. I struggled most on the moves to a really bad sloper but I moved quickly on to a good crimp and matched it making it an easy move up to the rest. There was a sloper upside down with a flat volume underneath to lay back on. I made an effort to rest here for a long time as I usually climb straight through really fast and pump out! I was feeling good at this point. The only other move I found difficult about the top was stepping into the undercut. After I got this it was nice crimps to the top. The top was my favourite part! It felt really good clipping the chains being one of only two people in our category that topped it.

I had some food and kept warn for my 50 min rest. I didn't leave quite enough time to warm up as I had wanted because the climbers before me were going pretty fast. Our next route was the red through the main wall. It looked scary and hard but after route reading I was more confident. I was up 8th after Kitty again so I looked out for her tying in.

When I went over to site in the chair and tie in Kitty was just about to climb so I quickly put my liquid chalk on and tied my knot. I started off quickly and all the holds were really good. I climbed as smoothly as I could and had a short rest before doing the big move which made a lot of people fall off. It was a sloper to the really big core volume which had a positive round part at the top or a long slot in the middle. I locked off and pushed over into the slot matching it and resting again on the round part.

The next few moves were awkward but I managed to stay on. I had the joint point with Kitty for both routes so I just needed to get the next move to be in the lead. It took me three attempts to get it!

Eventually I noticed that my foot was too low so when I moved it up I got the hold. I wasted a lot of energy so I was really pumped and I probably should have shaken out for longer and then moved on but for some reason I  just carried on and got 2 clips further. I was too pumped to clip and I knew I hadn't rested for long enough so I fell off. This ended my day and put me into first place for the final. The final was to be held on Sunday along with the speed. Next was the paraclimbing qualifiers. I watched them for a while before going to dinner with my family.

We got a longer lie in on Sunday and had another Premier Inn breakfast before heading down to Awesome Walls. As usual I got there early and started trying to guess my final. I came to the conclusion that it was going to be the orange with the massive jump at the top.

At 12:30 isolation for the finals closed and we were there for half an hour before observation time. At 1:00 we went out to look at the routes. I was surprised to find we had the yellow. First off I was really nervous about it because it looked reachy and had bad holds. But  up close it looked ok. The holds looked better - especially at the start. We had 6 minutes to read it and I think I read with most of the girls in my category which gave me lots of extra beta! Category B (my category) was in the second final along with B boys and the whole of C. So I started warming up just before the veterans in the first final finished. I was really nervous because at the last British lead cup I was feeling really good on the final route and came off putting me 6th (last in final) so I really wanted to prove I could do better.

Eventually, I went over to tie in and then went out to the wall with my belayer. I had one quick look before pulling on. Again, I climbed fast but as efficiently as I could. The first half was ok, it had lots of good holds and I got the sequence right. The last jug was on the red piece of the wall just before the black panel. The next few holds after that were worse. There were a few slopers and a cross over move which I found hard. The next part was the two mini volumes. I first went to the one on the side then straight up to the hold on top of the next volume and then up to a sloper. I then went to the undercut and into a long slot pocket. I was happy with my accuracy on that move!

This was the final section of the route. I had the hold after the slot which was a sloper. I shuffled across to the two identical roundish holds that I guppied and got a long rest on! The rest was really good and I tried to relax. I looked around and saw everyone looking up at all of us climbing. When I got enough energy back I matched the right had sloper and put my foot down low and held the undercut. I then slowly edged over towards a small pocket which I just got and quickly spinned over to a layback which I could rest on again. I tried once going up to the next hold but I was too pumped and I came back down to carry on shaking.

Being only three holds from the top I wanted to top it so much and I thought I could. When I thought I was ready I stepped up and got the next hold matching it and going over to for the pocket which I got my fingers in but couldn't hold. I should have shaken out for longer on the layback. But I was happy with my climbing and my position on the route. It just would have been great to top it but I guess that's what you say after every climb! I was told after it was enough for 1st place which was amazing! I was so happy. Also, after the A girls climbed (they had the same final route), I still had the high point!

The final for the seniors were after A and then the speed championships started. So many more people entered this year probably because of the Olympics and also a lot of the boulderers came over for the lead. It was really good to see so many people enter as for the last few years there has been 5 or 6 in our category. Everyone had a practise then 2 qualifiers - this took so long! It seemed like forever until the semi's as all the categories had to do this. Both my qualifying times were under 15 sec and I was through to the last 16 where it turned into a knockout format. To get to the last 16 you had to get in the top 16 fastest times.

In the last 16 I was against Robin Casey and I managed to get though to the next round. with a time of 15.84s. I got through to the quarters and then to the semis against Emma Davidson in 14.10 sec. This put me through to the final. Hannah Slaney had also got through so I was against her in the head to head final! I had already set my fastest official time so I just needed to beat it again. This year felt like a real speed competition because there were so many more people. I was nervous and really wanted to do the double and get both the lead and speed titles.

I went as smoothly was I possibly could and got a winning time of 14:00 sec. I really enjoyed doing it as well, its always so exciting to do but also to watch.

I am so happy with my results from the weekend and I have had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. The routes were amazing!! Especially the final yellow.

Also, a few months ago I was selected to go to the Junior World Championships in China which is only 30 days away. I will be competing in all 3 disciplines. Only a few were selected and I feel privileged to be going and I am so excited!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

European Youth Climbing Championships (Lead) Mitterdorf 2016

I flew out to Vienna with the GB climbing team for the European Climbing Championships. We arrived late at Vienna airport due to delays and then we spent one and a half hours in the airport waiting for car hire. By the time we left to drive to the hotel it was almost midnight.

Finally after getting lost in the woods and around the small town we got to the hotel. It was a really big apartment and it had a microwave! Pippa, Kitty and I shared a room, but Kitty had already arrived earlier.

The following day we got up late and caught up with Kitty and had breakfast in the hotel. The town we were staying in was very small, but there was a small shop nearby which we walked to and got snacks and a meal for that night. As usual I bought popcorn (my favourite competition snack)!

Later on we took some lunch down to a water park because it was such a hot day. The park was amazing, it had 3 massive pools, one with a twisty slide and another had 4 diving boards - 1m, 3m, 5m and 10m! Although the 10m wasn't accessible.

Pippa and I jumped off the 1m and 3m. She did the 5m but it took me a while to make myself jump! It felt so good one I did it. We spent a lot of the afternoon there and had a lot of fun. It was a very relaxed day. I cooked my own dinner and went to bed soon after the order was announced. I  was 11th on the running order, this is a pretty good position.


The format of the day was both qualifying routes running at the same time. One half climbing Q1 and the other Q2. I was on Q1 first. We left the hotel early and were there just before the centre opened. Ian registered us and then we walked through the centre to the outdoor competition wall. All the routes were ready, but the demos didn't start for another hour. I was really excited for my first qualifier because it was on a slab and I had no idea if I would be any good on it.

I watched Pippa climb just before me which gave me some good beta for when I went on. I was very unhappy with the way I climbed because I felt I could have got a few moved further. I climbed very rushed and nervously and I also over gripped on most holds. I got one hold under the average which meant to get a high up qualifying position I needed to climb better on my second qualifier.

I did quite a lot of route reading and I watched Kitty climb really well on it. Finally after a brush break it was my turn to climb. It wasn't any better than my first climb. I messed up 3 clips and didn't climb that well on the top section. However, the first part was really good. I pumped out at the top but managed to get through to the semi finals in 15th. This is not where I wanted to be, but all that mattered was that I was through.

By the time I had seen the results the boys had arrived and were warming up for their qualifying. We spent the afternoon watching them and cheering them on. Later on in the evening we went out to an Italian restaurant for a nice meal before semi-finals the following day.


It was another early start for semi-finals which I prefer. It was a finals format meaning we had to go straight into isolation before seeing the wall. We had a set 6 minutes for route reading after isolation closed. We were in isolation soon after it opened and spent a while in there relaxing and warming up.

Eventually, it came time to go out for observation and I went over to the door and watched as 26 people for all categories crowded around. I was a little bit nervous at this point. Our route as the black route through the middle of the wall. It looked top-able which wasn't good as I knew it was possible people might draw and that I needed to get higher than average to make it to the finals.

I carried on with my warm up in isolation before tying in next to the door leading out to the wall. Once tied in I walked out behind my belayer and started one last quick route read before pulling on. I thought carefully about my plan and was confident and excited.

I was reasonably happy with my result, but annoyed because I got to the same place as a lot of people. I was very pleased that I climbed a lot smoother than the qualifiers and it was a truer reflection of my training and strength. I still think I could have done a few things better which would maybe have got me a place in the final - but I guess everyone thinks that after a climb.

As the results came in I could see myself dropping further and further down the ranking. The top 8 went through and I came 10th on countback. I had put the qualifiers behind me when I went out for the semis, but now my poor climbing in the semis cost me a place in the finals because of count back! I was really disappointed for a while and I still get annoyed thinking about it because I never climb like I did in qualifiers. But I learnt so much from my experiences there and also a lot of stuff to take back to training.

Overall, the comp was fun and I enjoyed 2 out of the 3 routes. It was also great fun going swimming. Well done to Molly our only finalist!

For the last part of the day we got to cheer Molly on and watch the other finals!|

Friday, 26 August 2016

Deep Water Solo Exeter 2016

For the last 3 years the Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter have held the only deep water soloing event in Britain and it is so much fun. It is held just outside the quay climbing centre in a canal basin. The wall in built on a floating barge and big containers of water are used to balance out the water and the weight of the climbers. There are 4 categories, U16 female, U16 male, adult female and adult male. The format of the competition is 3 quals. followed by 3 semis (if you get through) and then a final!

This year my qualifiers were on Friday at 3pm which meant I could have a lie in. My whole family came down to watch and so we all walked down to the Quay centre from the premier inn. I then had time to look at the 3 routes before getting a boat over to the middle of the canal to get onto the barge. Behind the wall you can put your stuff down at the back and climb out of the hole in the wall to get onto the route. Here is a description of all 3 of my qualifiers.

The easiest of the three and a ladder of jugs. Its was really easy so I tried to climb it fast so my time would be fast as a lot of people were topping all 3 routes. I managed to do it in a really quick time of around 21 seconds I think. This took away a lot of my nerves and so I felt good for the next climb.

This route looked harder than the first. It was longer and it had a swinging ball in the middle which caught out a lot of people. I raced through the jugs at the start and then reached out to the swinging ball and matched it. I then matched it and went up for the next to jugs and got the undercut on the volume. There were 2 scoop volumes with crimps on the sides. I used these and stood in the scoop to get to the big sloper which was really good and the I went straight up to a pocket and matched it. I then went out to a rubbish crimp-slot and spent ages trying to find a way to match it. I eventually crimped the top and got the undercut I then reached over to match the top hold.

The last route for many people was easier than the first. The start was good with decent slopers and a load of jugs through the roof. Once I pulled over the roof it was just all crimps to the top. I loved the finish hold, it was another swinging ball I matched it and then took my chalk bag off and threw it to the photographer siting at the top but he dropped it and it fell into the water. So I let go and dropped into the water accidentally swallowing a mouth full of canal and when I tried to swim back I was weighed down by my chalk bag so I got onto the boat and took a ride back to the barge.

I climbed very fast on all the routes and only wasted time on the last one. After a while the results came out and showed I was through in first with the fastest time by 5 or so seconds.

Saturday was a day off for U16’s because the adult categories had their qualifying. We went down to watch and spent the day there.

Sunday was an early start with registration at 9:00am, I got there for 8:00am so I could have more time to read the routes. The routes looked considerably harder than the qualifiers. I was out last for the semi’s as I had qualified 1st. I watched a lot of people before going to warm up and then started watching again until the commentator called me over to my boat as I had not go over yet. I watched one more climber before getting in the boat over to the barge.

I was very pleased with how the semi’s went. I was the only person to top all routes. The first two routes were good but a bit sketchy at the top. The last one was so much more fun. It had the nicest holds which looked really hard to hold but they were actually really good. The first part of the route was amazing all the holds were really good. I got to the jug over the lip easily and rested there for a while. The last part was the crux which had an awkward move but I managed to get it and push for the top. I matched the top and because I knew this would be enough for finals as I was the last climber. I didn’t want my shoes wet for finals so I held onto the top of the wall and took my shoes off and my chalk. After this I jumped in!

I had a great afternoon watching the adult female and male categories. They were running a bit late but by 6:30ish we were going out to route read and getting onto the barge. The route was really easy but it was the fastest time that wins.

Behind the wall the official read out the running order and said that I was out second when I qualified first so I should have been out last which is what the running order in isolation said.
But he insisted that I was second out so while I was getting my shoes on quickly and trying to get my liquid chalk to dry everyone else was arguing that everyone was in the wrong order. I didn’t have time to do this because I was soon to go out. I kept going over the route in my head and then went as fast as I could without falling off. The mini dyno was great fun and I loved the crimps at the top. Everyone topped it easily but I had the fastest time which was 22 seconds. Second and third were Rebecca and Pippa. So we went through to the super-final. I was last out for this. Pippa got around 30 seconds and Rebecca apparently didn’t set a time because she didn’t hit the bell but they were waiting on video evidence. In the mean time I had to climb. I really went for it this time I had all the beta and could go so fast. I knew it was fast when I hit the bell and fell in. My final time was 18 seconds!!

On our way back off the barge they announced that Rebecca’s tim did count but it didn’t beat mine so I was still 1st. She had a second place time of 24 seconds!

Others from boulders that did really well are, Zoë 5th in my category, Ben 4th in U16 male and Rhos 1st in adult female.

I had a shower before the podium and when I came back everyone was waiting for me so I had to run down and get onto the podium. The trophy was made of plywood and a climbing hold it was very nice. I also got a pair of Scarpa shoes and a bag of other hand balms and chalk bags!

Overall the comp was very good and so much fun. I really enjoyed climbing and the routes were great fun.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

European Youth Cup (Bouldering) L'Argentiere 2016

On Saturday I travelled down to London with my parents. I was dropped off at a Premier Inn near Gatwick Airport where I met Tom (GB bouldering team coach) and some other members of the team. We were flying the following day and needed to get up at 4! I shared a room with Sid and Holly. 

We got up at 4:30 and only just made it downstairs on time. The rest of the team were ready so we all walked to the bus stop and took a bus to the terminal. I checked my bag in and went to get some breakfast. Our plane was delayed by 20 mins but apart from that it was really good. We flew to Marseilles and then drove for 3 hours to L’Argentiere-la-Besse. Our house was massive, it had three floors and a hot tub (we didn’t get a chance to use it though). I shared a room at the bottom with Holly which had a balcony. After unpacking we drove into town and had some food in a restaurant. 

Everyone had a long lie in on Monday before getting up and doing some mobility and get ready for the competition. We did some TRX exercises which I found really helpful and I can use in my training. I also used a foam rolled and lacrosse ball to get rid of any tight muscles. I did a little bit of finger boarding too. Later in the day we went to a lake near the climbing wall. It was really nice and there was a cafe too. I had an ice cream and put my feet in the water.

Before going to see the wall we went shopping to get snacks for the competition. I didn’t bring my own food from home because they sold it in all the shops abroad last time and so I thought it would be the same this time but I was disappointed to find they don’t sell half the stuff I wanted. 

It was very hot at this time of the day so I found it quite nice standing outside reading my problems. The wall had a self standing bloc and a long row of walls. It was much smaller than I thought which made me feel a lot less nervous and really excited about the competition.

For dinner we helped to make a big bolognese and we ate it outside in the garden - I really enjoyed it.



It was an early start for us Youth B’s as our qualification round was first. The warm up area opened at 7:30 so we went down just before to read the blocs again. I felt a bit nervous but ok. I went straight into the warm up room at 7:30 and started my long warm up. I felt that it went well and I was ready to go. Here are descriptions of all the blocs.

Bloc Description Pictures
Qualifier 1 A balancey problem on the self standing bloc. It starts on the big sloper and then goes over to a small crimp on the tip of the volume. I locked off and reached up for another longer crimp which was easy to hold meaning I could stand up on the volume and edge over and bridge between a big and small volume. I couldn’t quite reach the top from this position so I started to get a bit stressed out. I knew I had to move my foot up but I was too nervous to do it as I didn’t want to fall off. Eventually when I was calm I moved my foot up and matched to top with ease. It made me look a bit stupid!
Qualifier 2 One of my favourite blocs because it had lots of crimps and was overhanging. It started on 2 crimps and then went over to a decent gaston I locked off and reached to the top of a volume and then flipped my hand to an undercut, this allowed me to get the next volume. From this position I dropped my left foot and threw my left hand to a side pull and my right hand again up to a volume. The last move I popped for, because it was a good jug. I matched it and jumped down.
Qualifier 3 I think this was the pink overhang. It had many big moves to small sloping crimps - my ideal climb! It started off with a big move to and good crimp followed by another big move to a small slopey hold. For the next move I stood on the black volume and jumped for the same slopey hold as i was already holding and then swapped feet before jumping to a sloper. The sloper was on a volume so it wasn’t so bad. I heeled my hand and went over to the final sloper which I then jumped off to get the finish!
Qualifier 4 I didn’t like this one. It had a massive sloper at the top and lots of people were falling off trying to get it. It starts off matching a good sloper which you lock off on and reach up to a sloping crimp. I then rolled into a mini jug and stood up over to a gaston crimp. I put my foot in the middle of the black volume and rocked over to the sloper. I didn’t quite get around it enough and almost slipped off but I managed to hold on. So I came back to the gaston and shook out quickly before having another go. This time I went a little bit quicker and managed to reach it and swap feet quickly to secure my balance. I reached up for the final hold which was a crimp on the side of a small volume. I got it with one hand a touched the other to it. I closed my eyes holding on really hard mainly so I wouldn’t have to climb that horrible climb again. I heard the judges call and I jumped down.
Qualifier 5 Pinches. This climb started on two crimps with a big cross over to a long pinch and then a quick move out to another pinch on the opposite side. I then bumped up my left hand and stepped though to a good foot hold. I then crimped the top right of the next hold and came into the middle with my left hand. And with my left hand again I jumped for the top jug and got it! It was one of the easier routes. 
Qualifier 6 This bloc was half balance and half strength. The start move you balanced three points on the yellow volume and one hand on the white sloper. I then straightened my arm and rolled over to the white crimp blocked by another hold, this allowed me to move my feet up and lean into the side pull underneath my left hand. Once I had this I jumped for the crimp on the volume trusting my route reading, and it paid off! I caught it with one hand and placed my foot onto the blue volume and matched my hands. I rocked up for the almost upside down gaston which was good before kicking my foot out and slowly pushing over for the top crimp. I matched it and jumped down.
Qualifier 7 This bloc looked really fun and is the one I am most proud of. The start was fine and it included a heel hook which I managed to stick which I was really pleased with as I hate them! Next was a long move to the flat sloper followed by a toe hook. I was really nervous about this because I had never done one before ever! I decided to try it because every single person who had been on it used it. I put my toe under the hold and pulled myself up to the ball and got it! I was very surprised! I crossed over and used everything I had to try and get the second top but I was powered out so I fell. I knew all I needed was a rest and to stick to my plan and completely go for it. No hesitation! I kept my card in and waited forever while it went round the other competitors watching them to find any extra tips. Finally it was my go. I chalked up and completely went for it! First heel was perfect and my toe hook worked really well! I went for the second top and got it! The last move I was loosing energy but I jumped and held the top hold. It was an easy match but a rubbish top hold because it was all slopey.
Qualifier 8 This was my least favourite out of the whole competition. I started off on two crimps and a rock over to the top of a volume with a small intermediate. Next you flick out to the crimp on the volume which is good. Up to here is reasonably easy. Then you have to either heel the volume and hold the barn door or use your outside opposites which involves twisting and lock offs. I went for the twisting way first because it felt easier. This almost worked but I didn’t quite get the bonus. I only got to have two more goes because there wasn’t enough time and everyone took forever on each go.

Altogether I thought the qualifying blocs were really fun and I enjoyed them. My ending score was 7 tops in 8 attempts and 7 bonuses. I was happy with this but I feel I need to work on my volumes a lot more. When the results finally came out (I kind of thought I was in anyway from talking the the top girls but) it was official that I had made finals! I was 5th place! That is 3 places better than last qualifying!

For the rest of the day Holly and I watched the rest of the qualifiers. Here is a link to the results:!comp=5750&cat=80



Another early start but not quite as early as the day before. I was there as soon as warm up area / isolation opened and Ellie (GB senior lead team coach) came in with me and helped my warm up. It was weird in isolation because there was only 8 of us whereas yesterday there was over 30. Ellie made me some good blocs to do and I felt ready to go! 

Soon I was called out and I followed the official over to the back of the climbing wall. I sat down on the chair facing away from the wall. 5 minutes until my final started.

Bloc Description Pictures
Final 1 Was on the same wall as my first qualifier and was again a balencey climb. I stated matching the blue and then went to the volume which had a hold on the corner. I held the hold and heeled the blue starting hold. I shuffled my hands up to the top of the volume and put my foot on the hold. I then pushed up for the Bonus (a square brick slopy side up) and my foot poped off. I was so disappointed as I knew I would have finished it if I had got that hold. My next go was better and when I went for the bonus my foot stuck. I matched it and rocked over pushing the bonus behind me, I was then just standing knowing that I was going to have to step down onto the starting hold and then ping up for the top hold. The top hold was a massive sloper of a volume so easy to catch. I was nervous about the jump as I wanted it so badly. I messed around with my feet and then went for it. I stepped down wards onto the start hold and launched for the top sloper. I got it and it looked quite smooth as well. You can see the top move of this climb if you look carefully on the video of the competition. You can find the link of my Facebook page.
Final 2 This was a dyno problem. I started on the volume which had a nice crimp on it. I pulled over and got a hand on the flat crimp which was on a sloping black volume and then matched it putting my hand on the crimp below. From this position I jumped for the decent crimp on a triangular volume. I got nowhere near it. On my next go I almost got it. Its a shame I didn’t get my third go on video because I got the hold with one hand and face planted the floor because the swing was too big. After this go I had enough knowledge to get it. I threw double handed for it and held it. The top was my style, I leant away from the side pull volume and reached over to the big round sloper that I matched carefully!
Final 3 The easiest climb. It was almost all volumes. It started as a short move to an undercut volume. I then matched it and went up to a pinch volume, I stepped through and stood on the long flat box and went out to the triangular volume which had two holds on it. I matched it and got the second last hold, I guppied/undercut it and jumped for the the top volume. It was very good and I matched it. 
Final 4 I didn’t do very well on this boulder. It was going between volumes with rubbish crimps. I started on two crimps then moved over to a volume with I guppied and then tried to match into the crimp underneath but it was too hard. Over my next 6 go’s I got closer and closer to the bonus which was the move after the match. You come into the match then flick out to the bonus. On my 7th attempt I finally held the bonus. I tried to rock over onto the volumes to a tiny screw on hold but I didn’t quite make it. I was really disappointed and I need to do a lot more work on volumes.

After the competition I chatted to Ellie and Tom about the competition and how they thought I did. I waited for the results with Michelle and when they finally came out I was 5th. I was a bit disappointed because it came down to attempts between me and 4th. But 5th is one place better than my last EYC.

Over I really enjoyed the competition and I want to say a big thank you to all the coaches and team GB for all their support throughout the competition.