Tuesday 22 September 2015

Scottish Lead and Speed Climbing Championships & Junior Lead Cup Round 2

As usual we drove up on Thursday afternoon and arrived late and stayed the night in the Premier Inn. We got to Ratho for 10:00am the next morning for a quick speed climbing practice as there are no speed climbing wall in Wales! (hint!)

My first time was slow but I had about 15 attempts and managed about 17.50, I was not happy with this as my PB is 16.49 but I hoped this time would be low enough to qualify. After this we went over to Snow Factor in Glasgow to try out some snowboarding because it was my brothers birthday. It took my mind off the comp and I learnt the basics of snowboarding!

We went back to the hotel for tea, watched the rugby and got an earlyish night.

Saturday morning we got up early and arrived at the EICA just after 8. I like to get to the centre early so I have a lot of time to read the routes. Registration wasn't open yet so we went straight downstairs to read the routes. I threw my stuff on a bench and saw that only the first qualifiers were up. My qualifier was on a vertical wall. It had lots of small crimps and black tape all the way to stop bridging.  This made a lot of the moves look awkward.

Before the climbing started at 10, my dad signed me in and I was number 70. The running order was then posted and I was up 7th. This was an ideal position because it was around the middle of the group.

The route didn't seem to suit a lot of the group and quite a few fell off fairly early. I got ready and watched Katherine climb as she was 6th up. She took her time but managed to top it - she was the first in the group to top it.

This made me more confident that I could top it, but nervous as I didn't want to make a mistake. After asking the judge a load of questions I pulled on.

Here is a video with commentary of my first qualifier:

Pretty much as soon as I had topped the first qualifier my second qualifier was posted. It was female A's first qualifier (pink). It looked really hard so I had a longer look with my binoculars for ten minutes before doing the speed qualifier.

After the speed, I read the pink again and watched some of the other girls climb it. I was second to last so I had a long wait. When it was my turn I was a bit nervous because Katherine (who climbed just before me) had trouble when she clipped in the second roof clip and I thought it was twisted but she said it would be okay and decided I would sort it out when I got there.

Here is a video commentary of my second qualifier:

When I topped the route I knew I had made the final because no one else had topped both routes. I was happy to have made the final so I had some popcorn and crisps.

We went into isolation 2 minutes before it closed at 3:15 and bagsied a corner of the bouldering room. We were in isolation for about an hour and three quarters before coming out to read our routes. The organizers seemed to take a long time to pick these routes. The routes were as follows (all on the main comp wall) :

  • Girls C - Blue (Girls B Q1)
  • Boys C - Green (Girls B Q2, Boys A Q1)
  • Girls B - Pink (Girls C Q2, Girls A Q1)
  • Boys A, B,  Junior - Yellow 
  • Girls A, Junior - Green (Boys C Q1, Boys B Q2)
Some of the final climbs didn't really make sense e.g. Girls B had my (Girls C) second qualifier and three of them topped it.

After route reading I noticed that the top two clips were clipped up, so I checked that they were going to be unclipped when we climbed but they hadn't noticed so they said they would unclip them with the cherry picker when we went into isolation. When the first person was sent to climb, the next person was sent behind the wall so they could tie in, but not view the other climber. I was out last, tied in and put my shoes on behind the wall. I was a bit nervous at this point. When I walked out I double checked that the clips were undone and they were so I less nervous. As I was last out I had a final route read before I got on. 

Here is a video of the final:

It felt awesome to have topped all the routes and just to put me in an even better mood I found out that I had qualified first in the speed with a time of time 18.41. I knew I had a while before the speed finals because the lead finals hadn't finished and the mini kids speed finals were first so I had a cake and a chat. When I arrived at the speed climb I was told that my competitor had gone so, as it was knockout, I just had to hit the buzzer to get to the semi finals. I didn't go my fastest as my time didn't matter and I managed to hit the buzzer under 20 sec. After this I had to wait for the rest of the quarter finals to finish for the B&C boys and girls. I was against Emma in the semis - last year we were the two finalists. I was nervous as I wanted to make the finals. I stood on the line and clipped into the left side. My time was just over 17 sec and I made it to the final. It felt great to be in the finals and I had a break which the others completed their semis. 

I was in the final with the second fastest qualifier who qualified half a second slower than me. I was excited for the final and knew I would have to climb my fastest to win. I really enjoy going head to head in speed. This makes me climb faster because I can see where the other climber is and push myself to go faster. In the final I managed to get a new PB of 16.32 seconds!!

Speed Final;

Apart from the amount of time we spent in isolation, I thought the competition ran very smoothly. I loved the routes and was really pleased to have won. Although I am very jealous of the trophies the Scottish champions get - maybe we should have special trophies in the Welsh Championships!

Results are here.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Deep Water Solo Exeter 2015

On Thursday we drove down to Exeter for the DWS competition at the Quay.  We stayed in the Premier Inn next to the station and brought our bike so that we could cycle along the river to the quay.

There was a La Sportiva boot demo at the quay climbing centre where we tried on some different La Sportive shoes. It was quite late after the boot demo so we went back to the hotel.

The competition didn't start until 3pm on Friday so we had a late breakfast and cycled down to the quay. We were there quite early so I read the routes for a while until the first person start climbing. I was number 33, so was 33rd up. I went to warm up in the Quay climbing centre when the first person started. I then went back out to watch some of the other climbers. Everyone seem to be doing quite well on the routes so I wasn't as nervous. A couple of climbers before I had to get on my boat, I went to top up my warm-up as there was no warm up wall on the barge - except for two finger boards.

I was nervous going across on the boat but excited to try the routes. On the barge I got my stuff ready and waited for my turn. I stepped out onto the wall and started on Mick's whistle. The route was all jugs and quite easy it gave me a lot of confidence topping it.

I had 6 mins before my second route so I kept warm and jumped around. I was most nevous about this route because it had an Entre-Prise swinging volume in the middle - the wrecking ball! Some of the girls who had topped it told me that they missed the ball out so I was a bit stuck on what to do.

When I climbed out I was excited to try it. I started climbing and did the moves to the wrecking ball easy it was all jugs when I got to the ball I matched the right jug and reached Under the ball and up to a jug. The route was harder from here. The holds got worse but I managed to hold them to get to the top! I was so happy to top out on my second route because I knew I wouldn't have to climb wet!

I got my towel ready before I went out for my last route as even if you top out you have to jump in! This route was definitely the hardest. The first part was the easiest and I got to the to flying saucer holds fine. I then went to the volume which was better than I thought so I lent off the volume and got the sloper which I held again better than I had thought. But the next hold was really bad and I couldn't hold it so I had to match the crimp next to it and go out to the side pulls. They were both good and I held them enough to get the top. I was very happy to top all blocs. I took my chalk bag and headband off and gave them to Simon who was taking photos at the top of the wall so they stayed dry.

I was very happy after I came back on the boat because I knew I had qualified for the semi-finals. So I went straight over to the showers. Later on I found out that 16 girls had topped all routes and qualified for the semis in joint first place. I was up fourth in the running order for the semis at 8:55am on Sunday!

It was about 7pm so we went in to the Quay Climbing Centre for some food. The moroccan chicken was really nice. We went downstairs to listen to Dave Bowes (member of GB paraclimbing team) talk. It was really interesting to hear his story and  how he is using climbing to promote the Headway charity. We then watched the climbing film Redemption: The James Pearson Story. After the film had finished we cycled back to the hotel.

Saturday was the seniors turn to qualify and was a day off for the juniors. So we cycled into Exeter city centre before going down to the Quay to watch the seniors qualify. I watched the Boulders climbers qualify and they did very well both qualifying for the semis. We left early so that I could get an early night before the semis which started early in the morning.

We got up really early and bought a McDonalds breakfast on the way to the Quay. We got there for 7am so that I had plenty of time to read the routes. I was a little worried about the top move on the first climb, the top section on the second climb and the two slopers after the lip on the third. It was raining while I was reading the routes, but it stopped just as I was about to do the semis. I warmed up for the same amount of time as I did for the qualifiers and I was feeling good when I went across onto the barge. I knew when I had to climb because I was always after Gwyneth.

I really wanted to stay dry for the second climb so I really wanted to top out. I found the start of the climb ok and passed it quickly. I thought the move over the lip was hard and I didn't like the top move because the hold was sloping and the move was long. It was a good pocket at the top though so I managed to get it and top out. Like the qualifiers this put me in a good mood for the next climb.

I was glad there was no wrecking ball this time but I had forgot what the route looked like and I was worried I would mess up. When I climbed out I could see all of the under section so I remembered that part quickly. It was an easy start again. The top part was ok until the last move where I had to swap my feet. I didn't want to jump swap them incase I slipped so I down climbed a bit and swapped so I could go for the top easily. I was again received that I was dry for the last route.

The last route looked by far the hardest but the easiest to read. I knew what I had to do I just had do it. I was nervous about a lot of the slopers but there was no way of avoiding them. I stepped out feeling excited. The start had some nice crimps and a positive sloper the big hold in the roof was good and so was the small crimp over passed the overhang. I held this and went to the sloper and then over the top to the other sloper which was bad, I matched it and got the horn and it was ok. Next was the 2 slopers but one had a crimp on the side for your thumb which I liked. I went again the the 2 crimps which I loved and fiddled around my feet before pushing slowly over to the top hold which was not very deep. I matched it and got the nod from Mick.

I was really please to have topped all the climbs in the semis and was very excited to be through to the final. I watched some of my friends in the semis before heading back to the hotel for a shower and to dry out my shoes.

I got soaked cycling back to down to the quay because it was raining quite heavily by then. In fact the rain was so bad that they closed the wall for around 45 min. So we managed to get down in time to watch Ros in her semis. Ros did very well in the semis qualifying in second place.

The briefing for the final was at 4pm and they told us the format of the final. The final was a speed competition. Every climber had to climb their category's route as fast as they could and the timer would stop once you rang a bell at the top of the route. The fastest 3 climbers went through to a super final which was a repeat of the same route without the final hold so you had to jump for the bell and fall in the water.

After the briefing we had to go straight into isolation in the Quay Climbing Centre. I didn't warm up properly in isolation because I thought that we would go out to read the routes then go to the boats one at a time. But this year everyone went onto the barge at the same time and the competitors went out on to the wall one by one. When they said we only had 5min before going onto the barge I did the worlds quickest warm-up and went out to read my route.

When I read the route I read that there was two ways of doing it. The way I planned to use was to go up the jugs to a volume, hold the middle of the volume and then follow the jugs to the top.

We went straight onto the barge after reading the routes and the first climber started.  By the time it was my turn the fastest time was 32 seconds. I knew that I would make the super final if I beat this time. Before I went out I asked everyone how it was and how holding the volume was because when I was route reading the volume didn't look very good. They told me that you don't have to use the volume and you could go up and around it. When I went out I followed the holds and got over the roof quite quickly. I then did as everyone else had done and went up, down and across to the top. I managed to do it in 30 seconds. I looked at the clock as soon as I hit the bell and was very pleased to have made the super final. I topped out and went back down behind the wall.

The super finals started straight after the boys final. I was up last again as I had the fastest time in the final. Once the other two girls had climbed the time I had to beat was 25 seconds. I started really fast but knew they had changed the route slightly as they told us before they started. So as soon as I got past the roof I was looking for the bell. I was so stressed about finding the bell I slowed down at the top and as soon as I saw the bell in the same place I was really annoyed. I then sped up loads and jumped from the second top to the bell noticing that the top hold was gone and that was the only change. When I jumped for the bell I had to fall once I had hit it. As I fell I saw the time 23 seconds. I was very pleased. I had won the under 16 female category in DWS 2015!

I was very excited after this but before I had a shower I stayed to watch Ros in the finals. She did really well and got through to the super final. In the super final she managed to come second behind Emma Twyford.

On the podium I got a really nice glass trophy and as a prize I won a Dryrobe, a slack line from Ru-Slack and a small pot of climbOn.

The competition was one of the best organised of any I had been. Despite the rain break it finished on time. The routes were set really well and they managed to split everyone in the end. It was great to have the two commentators back again because they kept everyone interested in the event and make it more fun. I look forward to DWS 2016!

Video of my climbs: