Sunday 29 November 2015

Grand Opening of The Hangout Climbing Wall (Haverfordwest)

Earlier this month I was invited to the opening of The Hangout climbing wall in Haverfordwest leisure centre. My Gran lives close to the leisure centre so we drove  to her house and stayed the night with her.

We went to the leisure centre the next morning to get ready for the opening of the centre. The hall was quite tall and half of it was a gymnastics area. To the right was the wall. It looked amazing. There was a completely horizontal overhang and a funky hexagonal shaped wall which looked really interesting. It looked pro because you couldn't see any of the joins between the pieces of ply wood and it was new, well designed with all the different angles and shapes.

I was looking forward to climbing on it. I was introduced to Sian who is the manager of the whole leisure centre and I already know Liz who is the manager of the climbing wall. Also some of the army and were there as they funded the wall and a member of the Pembrokeshire county council was there to pull the rope instead of cutting a ribbon as it is a climbing wall.

I climbed with my brother to warm up before the official opening of the wall. As soon as they pulled the ribbon I started climbing the roof wall. It was a really nice wall with brand new holds. All the holds were jugs but the angle was very steep. I had to pose for a photo half way up the wall and
then carried on to the top.

I next had a photo with my mum and then by myself on the wall. After this Oscar and I had a go on all the walls, we tried lots of routes. I loved the hexagonal tube feature because it made climbing it a lot more interesting and fun. For my last route I tied the orange on the flatish wall. This was the hardest route I tried and I almost fell on a few of the moves. I felt very pressured to top it which didn't help!

Then it was time to leave as my Gran had booked a table for lunch so  we packed up and thanked everyone for inviting us. I had a great time and I enjoyed demoing. It was nerve-racking but good fun. Thanks to Liz and Sian for inviting me, I had a lot of fun.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Lead Youth Open Event & Boulder Youth Open Event

Friday - Travelling

I traveled up to Leeds by car with my parents on Friday. On Saturday I competed in the lead open youth event and on Sunday I competed in the boulder open youth event. It was a long drive to the Premier Inn and Leeds was freezing.

Saturday - Open Youth Climbing - Lead

I got up early and went to the Leeds Wall for an 8:00 - 8:30 registration. When we arrived we had to wait for a bit for the centre to open. It was freezing outside and when we got inside it wasn’t much warmer unless you stood under the small heater.

The number I got when I registered was 37. Also, I got the table closest to the heater which was nice. 
I then went over to read my qualifiers:

All the climbs in the centre have little grey screw-on foot holds (features) which are allowed to be used unless specified on the route card.

Qualifier 1
- a green route to the left of the main comp wall. All features were in for hands. This made the climb look a lot easier. It looked technical and a little bit reachy. The holds looked good and I thought I had a good chance of topping it.

Qualifier 2
- a blue route to the right of the main comp wall (on the very end). It had a proper crack which looked horrible but do-able and the rest on the route had good holds and some very long last moves. For this route the features were not in so this made the crack look really hard. 

We had a briefing at 9:30 and climbing started at 10:00. The youth C boys were climbing on our route before us so we had to wait about an hour before we could climb. I was up 5th last so I watched some of the boys but mainly waited for the girls to start. 

I watched Pippa and Abbie climb as they were one on the first few people to go and then started to warm up. I stopped when Kitty started climbing as she was one person away from me. I was a bit nervous before I started but I was happy that I had Lydia’s (one of my fellow competitors) dad as my belayer. He is a great belayer and I trust him. I had one last read as I tied in. I then walked over to the route and started. The first few clips were ok, all the holds were good and I felt good. As I thought, I got to the lip before it started to get harder. The move over the lip was really long so I tried to get into a more comfortable position but I couldn't so I just went for it. I got it just with two fingers and pulled myself back into the wall. I was very relieved to get this move. I knew the next few moves would be OK because they were crimpy and my style.  I got to the second last clip and wrapped the side of my hands around a small button hold and rolled over the top to a rubbish slopey-crimp. I held it as best I could and then pushed over to another slopey-crimp which was pretty much the same as the other hold. I then get a high foot and went for the top hold and got it.

I felt much less nervous after this and went over to read my second qualifier. It was difficult to read the crack so I watched as many of the boys as I could and got lots of tips from Jim in particular. I was fifth up for this route but it took twice as long as boys C were doing an overlapping route. I was again lucky to have Lydia’s dad as my belayer. The start of the route had a good position for a double clip which I used and a nice undercut to clip the clip on the crack so I wouldn’t have to hold the crack while clipping it.
I had three clips in before I made my first move onto the crack. It was a nice hole, but it was hard to move off it without barn dooring. I had to move my feet around a lot and I used a lot of my energy moving up the crack as most people did. The big crossover to the top of the crack was the hardest move but I made it and felt relieved to have conquered the crack. There was a triangular crimp that was really nice and a few more nice crimps before a big sloper. I was expecting the worst but the hold had some good parts on it. I held it and moved up to some more crimps and then to a big triangular volume which had a small bulge on it which I held to clip. I then spent a bit of time recovering as I was quite pumped. Once I was ready, I did a large move out left to a triangular hold and then straight to the two holds on the volume. I shook out again on this, made sure my foot was right and bounced for the second top hold which was a very small crimp with a very small edge. I kind of caught it for a second, but then pinged off and almost re-caught it but not quite so I was gutted because I was so close to the top. I was very happy to get the high point on the route and was guaranteed a final place.I felt very excited for the finals and was one step closer to getting my team place back!

As there wasn’t enough time to go out for lunch before finals I went out for a walk with my Dad. We went to the Bentley’s car shop and had a look around. The cars looked amazing and one of the had a control panel in the back!

We got back in time for isolation and I found out I had qualified 1st. This made me feel a lot less nervous.

There were two sections to the finals, final 1 and final 2. My category was in final 2. Most of the categories shared routes so not everyone could climb at the same time. We had a hour in Isolation before we were told what we were climbing. I was on the green route that girls A had. I was happy about this because the route looked so fun.

When we went out to route read I was very excited. It looked ok at the start and then the holds got worse on the top section. I thought I had a good chance on this route so I was psyched to get started.I was last to climb so I spent a lot of time warming up. I was getting more and more nervous. As Izzy went out to climb I tied in. My shoes were on ready and I was feeling confident. It felt really good to go out to climb at the same time as Molly and Jim!

I went out slowly and used my 40 seconds to read the route. I walked over to the start and got on. The first 3 clips I climbed really well and conserved lots of energy. I then came to a big cross over move. I made a quick decision and matched instead of crossing. This wasted a bit of energy but I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall off. I got over the lip by holding what I thought was a bad sloper but was actually pretty good. I clipped and got the green volume I climbed onto the good hold and clipped again. I was quite pumped at this point so I went for the one around the corner and got it. I then went straight for the next hold and was too pumped to stick it.

I was disappointed when I came down as I didn’t climb as well as I had hoped. I then found out I had won and was pleased. This meant I had a good chance of being back on the team!The presentations followed shortly after climbing had finished. I won a blue DMM harness. The day was very fun and I enjoyed all the routes although I thought the crack was a bit mean! It ran pretty smoothly despite the overlapping routes. I enjoyed it.

Sunday - Open Youth Climbing - Boulder

After a good performance on Saturday I got up early again and drove over to the climbing works. When we arrived inside it was freezing. I didn’t think I would be able to climb at all. I put six jumpers on and I was still cold. 
I went over to register and I was number 52. There were as usual 8 qualifying blocs all in pink. This round they all looked hard. I went round to have a look and make a plan. I had in mind a good bloc to start with. I warmed up by doing lots of running and playing tag with Pippa. I did all my usual stuff but had to do a lot more climbing as my fingers were freezing.

We next had a briefing which was announced by Rob. All of category C & B would be qualifying from 
9 - 11am. So I carried on my warm up so I could start on time. I wore gloves while warming for a while. It wasn’t warming up at all. 

At 9 I started climbing. The first bloc I tried was on a black slab it had lots of ridged holds and long moves. I did the start easy but, then came to a long move. The volume was out and we had one shiny foot hold. I put my foot on it and then rocked over but my foot slipped and I fell. Not a great start.

The next bloc I tried was the one that most people topped. But I slipped off on the last move because I didn’t put my foot on the hold properly. 

I decided to go around the corner to the other side of the wall and try something else. I attempted the bloc on the 90 degree side of the overhang. It had a long move but I felt confident. I made the first move and did a big rock over to the bonus which I caught. I moved to the second last hold and chalked up quickly before I pushed up to get the last hold. I felt much better after topping one problem!
I tried the overhang and the other 3 blocs and got a flash! I went around again and had my last 2 goes on one bloc almost topping it. I then got a mini dyno problem on my third attempt. This made me feel a lot better. I had my last go on the roof next and was hoping to get it. I made it through the upside down part and of the slight overhang to the last two crimps. I put my foot on and went for it. I didn’t quite hold it but I was reasonably close. 

I only had 2 blocs left that I could do so I went to the long traversing bloc first. I had one last go left so I really wanted the bonus. I went across the traverse and got to the mini jug and put a heel by my face and swung up to the bonus catching the screw hole. I bumped around to hold and pulled up to stand. I then grabbed the undercut crimp and jumped for the top catching it! I then had 5 tops.

For my last bloc I had 2 attempts. It was definitely the hardest bloc of the round. This was the bloc I tried first. I tried not using the shiny foot hold and just jumping but that didn’t work so for my final go I tried to rock over using the foot again but I just slipped off. This was disappointing. My qualifying was over and so we went out for lunch in the weather spoons while the other categories were qualifying.
For lunch I had gravy and chips, and a hot chocolate. 

After lunch we walked back to the centre and brought some gloves on our way. I put my bag straight into isolation and waited until the last second before it closed to go in. I saw I had qualified second and I was a little disappointed but thought I could bump up to first in the final.

We had to wait an hour for the routes to be re-set. This was a little boring but we did play lots of games. I was very excited to read the routes. Our first bloc was an overhang and looked ok. The holds looked good but a bit hard to work out. The second bloc looked really easy and I was looking forward to it. The third was very balancey and the holds were small but decent. It looked top-able. 

The first climber went out to climb straight away and the time went really quickly. Only one person had flashed the bloc so far so I was determined to be the second. I went out and had one quick route read before getting on. As planned I skipped the nasty sloper and held the nice pinch and moved slowly up to the next hold. It was good so I managed to get the triangle and twist into the side pull. I move out to a big jug and put my feet onto a volume next to my hand. This allowed me to push up to the pinch which was slopy and horrible before going into and nice crimp. I got the last longish move to the jug!
I went back into isolation for a while before coming out again for my second final bloc. It still looked ok and everyone said they had flashed it. I was nervous as I really wanted to get it. The start was interesting all four points of contact on the volume and then up to another pinch volume which was really nice. I pulled up to the bonus and went across to the crimp. The last 2 moves were fine, left hand sloper with nice crimp on top match and left hand finish.

I was psyched for the last bloc but a little nervous. I packed my stuff up and on my way to the climb dumped it on the side of the wall outside isolation. I carried on walking down towards the end of the bouldering area. I saw my bloc it only had 6 holds on it. I had a quick read and pulled on. The first move to the volume was fine but I struggled to move up from there to the big volume. I tried a few ways until I go it. I got a high right foot and palmed off the volume. I started edging up the volume but I slipped and couldn’t save myself from coming off. I was so angry and annoyed at this as any other day I would have done it. So I got straight back on and breezed the move holding the volume and topping it. Not feeling at all satisfied!

I knew Holly would flash it or top it second go so I was pretty sure I would end up second. I was right! She got it second go so I lost to count back! I felt so annoyed that I slipped off and I will never let myself forget it. 

We went out to the same place as we went at lunch and had dinner before coming back to the centre to watch the rest of the finals. 

For the presentations I won a grey DMM bouldering bag. Overall the comp was very very cold, however the routes were very interesting but I  would have preferred some harder routes in the final maybe the same as Girls A. The comp was also run quite smoothly and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks to Rob and The BMC for a great weekend I have had a lot of fun.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Welsh Climbing Championships 2015

Day 1 - Travelling

On the 6th November 2015 I travelled with my parents and three brothers to Caernarfon for the Welsh Lead Climbing Championship held at The Beacon centre. The Welsh Championships is different from other comps because instead of having 2 qualifiers and 1 final it has 3 qualifiers, 1 semi-final and 1 final.  For this comp everyone moves up a category so I was in ‘B’. I was looking forward to competing against my old competition again.

On the way to the hotel we stopped off at the Beacon Centre to have a quick look at the routes. I thought they looked really fun and challenging.

We arrived at the hotel at 6:00 and ate in a restaurant next door. When we checked into the hotel we had room number 3 which was amazing and made me feel more confident.

Day 2 - The competition

We woke up early and had a cooked breakfast in the Premier Inn restaurant. We then got our stuff and drove down to The Beacon Centre for 9:00am. I found my 3 Qualifiers and read them carefully. Qualifier 1 looked easy with only jugs on it. Qualifier 2 looked harder as it was on a more overhanging wall and there were only a few jugs. Qualifier 3 looked really balancey and sketchy so I wasn't looking forward to it.

Climbing was due to start at 10:30 but then changed to 10:45. I went to register at 10 and got a pink t-shirt. I was also up seventh on my first route.

I did a big warm up before we started climbing and then a bit extra before my turn. I thought I was climbing well and I was confident I could top the first route. I tied in to the rope after the sixth climber had been and then started the climb. It was a long first route which was why there were so many jugs. I was climbing up at a reasonable pace and trying to climb efficiently. Like all the other competitors I also topped it. I felt good after I did this because it made me feel a lot less nervous.

I was 4th up for the next route and I didn't have that long to wait so I stayed warm in the bouldering area.

I was feeling good for this climb but got more nervous as I got closer to climbing.

I tied in fast and had a last look at the route before I pulled on. The start was easy and I managed up to the roof fine. The middle section however had a few holds that weren't as deep as I thought but still good. I found the route really interesting and loved it. The second top move to the undercuts was the hardest but I managed it and topped the route. I was very happy and went to route read the 3 qualifier straight away.

I watched the other girls climb. Pippa was the only person to top it. I went to warm up in the bouldering area again because it was almost time for me to climb. I came back to watch Zoe my friend from Boulders Academy. She did well and got into second place. I was getting nervous now but I tried to stay calm and kept reading the route. When I went to tie in I was worried about the slopers on the top of the route because I am not very good a holding slopers. I got on to the route as soon as the judge was ready. The start had lots of crimps so I did it ok. I got about half way and I came across my first sloper. When I hit it there was a nice crimp on both sides which I clipped off and chalked up on. I then carried on up the wall until I came to the move Abbie and a few other girls came off. I clipped then went out to the undercut, I got a high foot and rocked over getting the hold and moving on. I carried on climbing up to the next hard move at the top. There were two slopers. I was holding both the slopers But they were too greasy to clip off so I had to climb on two moves and clip late so I wouldn't slip off. The last few moves to the top were fine and I liked them. I was relieved to top it and guarantee joint 1st place going to the semis.

I was so excited about the semi-finals. The format of the semi-finals was if you were next in line to climb you would go into the ‘transition zone’ and tie into a rope. When you stepped past the barrier a 40 second timer started, in this time we could read the route one last time but you had to get onto the wall before the timer finished. At first I was a bit scared about this rule because I had never experienced it before.

I went into isolation a couple of minutes before it closed. I sat by Gwen and Oscar. We warmed up by doing some running because I had cooled down quite bit bit since the qualifiers. I did a few boulders to make sure I was climbing well.

We went out to route read but our judge didn't know what route we were on so we spent 2 minutes trying to find out what route we had. I found out it was the green on the main wall on line 19.

We came back to isolation and climbers started to go out to climb. As more climbers from my category went out to climb I was dying to climb. Pippa went out to climb so I tied in and put my shoes on.

I walked out to the green. I had a bit of time to route read until my judge told me I had ten seconds to get on the route so I had one last run through. I felt confident as I climbed the easy start of the route. The first hard part was when I had to go over the lip to a sloper but it was unexpectedly good and so were the next few holds. The route got hardest at the two largest slopers I clipped first then held the top of the hold and moved as controlled as I could to the other sloper just managing to hold it. I then moved straight to a small good hold which I moved off again to a much better hold that I clipped off. I went up to a good pinch where I clipped before moving on to the two crimps on the volume. I clipped again and tried a few times to get a under cut eventually getting it and holding it. I moved onto a small crimp and straight to a two sided mini jug, it was good so I rested as much as I could on it. I was determined to top the route then as I was so close to it so I went up to the crimp but I was too pumped to go to the next one so I set myself up and dead pointed for the top hold. It was risky but I had nothing left. I got it unexpectedly and clipped quickly.

I came down and later saw I was currently first place so I left my bag in isolation for the finals.

Soon after I finished climbing, the whole of the girls semi-finals had finished and the boys had started so I watched my brother climb his route. I left my kit in the isolation room as I knew I’d be back there soon.

My brother Oscar did awesome and topped his route too so we went into isolation together. The Boulders Academy Team (coached by Simon Rawlinson) were doing amazing - we had 14 finalists!

The format of the final was the same as the semis so I knew what I was doing. Shortly after a quick briefing I stood by my judge and he told me our route but I had to wait for the rest of category ‘B’ to come over so it wouldn't be unfair.

I knew exactly where it was so I ran around the corner and started reading. The start looked ok it had a nice sequence and a few long moves, they didn't look reachy though. The middle and top were quite crimpy with 2 round slopers at the top. I thought it looked ok apart from two moves in the middle which I had a good plan for so I felt confident.

We started going straight away but as there were only 5 of us I decided to warm up straight away. I was getting really nervous so I tried to go over the route in my head a few times.

I went into the transition zone when Pippa was climbing. I was ready to go apart from tying in as we only had one rope for our category. I tied in quickly, and as soon as I stepped past the barrier my 40 seconds started. I ran out quite far and had a last read of the red final. I had 10 seconds left so I got on the route. The sloper 4 holds up wasn't as good as I thought but I held it and the route was fine up to the lip. The holds were good, I went wrong handed to the goodish sloper which I matched and moved off to a side pull. The side pull was good so I put a heel on the sloper and rocked over to the nice crimp. I then moved again to another crimp and crossed over to better crimp. This move was the hardest but I went slow and got it. I guppied a really nice volume and used all the holds around the corner. The top had a few pretty good slopers which were ok. I thought the top move would be to long but it wasn't so bad. The last hold was good and the clip was good.

At this point I knew I had won even if someone else topped it because I had a 1st place count back. It felt really good to win my first comp in ‘B’ and I found qualifier 3 the hardest and then the semi-final. The final was the third hardest route.

My brother was joint first at the end of the finals so after all the podiums he would do his super-final as it was 8:15. On the podium I won a bag of sweets and a pair of Tenaya climbing shoes.

Oscar had to top rope a lead route and unclip two clips on the way. He was against Ethan Fowler who got to the big volume. Oscar came out and had two big foot slips which almost pulled him off but he stayed on and won by 3+ points! He was very pleased. Oscar won the same prize.

The comp was very fun and the routes were some of the best I have experienced. As usual the welsh championships in my opinion had 2 too many routes. But I had a lot of fun. The comp finished at 8:45. This is a record of latest finishing competition I have been to.

The results are here.
Videos of my climbs are here.