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.

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