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. 

Saturday 18 June 2016

European Youth Cup (Bouldering) Graz 2016

Travel and Friday

Last weekend was my first ever bouldering EYC, held in Graz, Austria. I flew out to Austria with the GB team on Thursday. It was a very small team going to this competition, only 4 competitors. Holly, Martha, Silvia and me. Our two chaperones/coaches were Tom and Michelle. We arrived at Vienna airport in the afternoon and then got our hire car and drove straight to Graz.

On Friday I got up late and after breakfast we drove to The Bloc House wall (the wall where the competition was going to be held) to see how long it would take to get there for Saturday. Then we parked in Graz’s city centre and had a walk around.

Next we went to Graz’s old town which had a big clock tower on the top of a large hill. It had a lot of steps! It was very hot and tiring walking to the top, but the view was amazing! You can see the art gallery or university from up there and it looked like a massive bunch of water bottles, as you can see from the photo. If you look closely at the picture on the ground  you can see the stairs leading up to the clock tower. 

We carried on walking up, and got to a little shop near the very top, where we had Ice cream before finishing the walk to the very to of Graz! The view from there was the best. It also had a metal plate with markings showing which direction different cities were. London was on it, but not Cardiff.

You had to pay to take the lift back down to the bottom so we walked and got the car. After dinner we did some mobility stuff ready for Saturday. 

The Competition

In the bouldering team they have a system at these comps. Everyone competing gets a buddy. The buddy follows them around, carries there stuff, talks to them and gives them tips of how to do the climbs. My buddy was Silvia.

I felt my warm up was good and was ready for the blocs. We had 5 attempts on each bloc and 2 hours to complete as many as possible. Here is how they went:

Bloc Description Pictures
Qual. 1 This was the second bloc I tried and it was the easiest of the 8. I wanted a top so I decided to get this one done. The start was fine and all of the holds were crimps on big volumes. I topped it easily and I enjoyed it.
Qual. 2 This climb was a roof. I got on it quick because there wasn't a big queue. The start was a volume and an under cut. I went over to the jug matched and then out to the crimp on the volume before moving my feet in close and going across to a mini jug. The last move was the hardest as the hold was shiny not grippy. I jumped right over it and pinched the top part so I couldn't swing off. I then matched.
Qual. 3 My third choice was this one as it looked top-able and really fun. It was a slab with a big volume at the start. I was most looking forward to the last move to see if I could stand on the tiny foot hold. When I pulled on and stood up for the first hold I got it pretty easily. The next move was to a two pinches. They weren't as good as I'd hoped but I managed to step my feet across and pull over to the big blue hold, it was so nice! And for the final move I stood on the tiny foot hold and popped up for the top jug. I held it and was very pleased with myself!
Qual. 4 My fifth bloc was the salmon. It had a lot of big holds which looked slopy and difficult to hold. I thought the top part would be the easiest but it was the other way around. I found the start moves easy but struggled a little on a rock over to the bonus. The next hold was a crimp which would have been really good if it hadn't of been turned slopy side up. It was horrible. Eventually I worked out that I just had to pull hard on it and got for the top. Once I did that I topped it.
Qual. 5 This was my first choice of bloc to try. On my first attempt I was shaky and managed to shake my way to the last move almost falling a few times before I got there. I stood on a slippy foot hold and pushed up for the top hold where I almost had it but slipped off. This put me in a bad pace of mind but I put my card straight back in. There was a 15min wait before my next go as a lot of people thought this climb was ok! I had composed my self by this time as was ready to finish it and move on. I was a little less shaky this time and my feet didn't slip around as much as my first go. I got to the last most again and this went low and rocked up slowly for it. I crimped the good bit and quickly matched.
Qual. 6 I left this problem until last as it was a run and jump. My worst nightmare! I was in a good state of mind at this point though as I had topped 6, 4 of which were a flash. I put my card in, pulled on and ran across the volumes turning the wrong way and spinning off! For once I just laughed at how rubbish I must have looked. Silvia gave me some tips and I had another go. This time I almost caught the aret and I knew how to do it, all I needed was to catch it slightly higher up. There was only one person in front of me as again nobody wanted to do this climb. For this attempted I kicked my leg back and bounced across the volumes and hit the aret with a straight arm tensing everything to hold the swing. I was so surprised that it actually worked! I managed to hold it. But this was only the bonus, I still had the big roll over to complete before I could be un-focus. I stood up on the foot hold and fell over into the finishing jug. I was so psyched!
Qual. 7 This climb took me 3 attempts. On my first go I got passed the bonus and threw out for the second sloper and couldn't hold the swing. The waits in between go's were so long but I just watched everyone and worked out what to do next. My second attempt was roughly the same. I got to the same place again but tried a few different feet but none felt good so I went my original way and fell again! Between my second and third attempted was the longest wait but I learned a vital tip from it, and with out it I wouldn't have topped the boulder. All I had to do was soap my feet around so I was off balance for a bit but could hold the swing between the slopers. I knew I could top it this go. I pulled on and climbed it as soothly as carefully as I could so I didn't mess up before I could try out the new beta. I got to the sloper and with out hesitation I put my left foot into the pocket and went for it! I got it easily! This annoyed me a lot but showed me that my route reading needs improving. I was also very excited, I managed to keep calm and put a foot up for the last move. I pushed up and got it! I was so excited!
Qual. 8 This was the hardest bloc and the only one I didn't top out of the 8 qualifiers. It was completely my style so I was disappointed not to top it. I had attempts at different times of the day. I had my first 3 go's in a row and then the last 2 later. On my first go I missed the bonus because I didn't catch the right part of the hold. On my second and third attempt I got to the same place, the second last move. It was so big and my arms could only just touch the hold. I then had to transfer my weight from one side to the other. I needed more shoulder strength for this. I tried a few ways but none worked. On my last go there was only a few mins left so I spent as much time brushing as I could to run the time down a bit so there wouldn't be time for many others to go. It was a bit mean of me but it was a good tactic. I messed up this go really bad. As I was jumping for the hold I fell of on, on my first go my foot slipped off the foot hold and I didn't have any power to get me to the hold so I ended up on the floor. I spent so much time brushing too! I was angry for a little bit until I realised that I did well on all the rest of the blocs and there was a small chance I could get into finals.

I packed my bags up and when the time ran out we went outside for lunch. As I was eating I saw people standing by the results and so I ran over to see if I was in. And I saw my name in 8th! The last placed finalist again! I was so excited! My Dad was watching the results on his phone and he got them before me! Holly and Martha also did really well finishing 22nd and 38th.

After I finished talking I went through the time table with Michelle and I had 4 hours to wait before finals because youth B make and youth A and Junior female still had to compete in their qualifiers.

Silvia was in A so we watched her qualifying. She had some of the same blocs so she already had good beta. She climbed really well finishing 16th.

By this time I had to go into isolation. Tom came in with me. And I was in there for an hour! The food in isolation wasn't as good as Imst because this time they only had fruit no celebrations!

There were 4 blocs in the final. You had 5 mins to do one then 5 mins rest. There were also bonuses to get. The finals went very quick, here is how I got on:

Bloc Description
Final 1 My first move was a dyno which I managed to get on my second go. Then next was to a small crimp (the bonus) I held it but it was very sloppy and so I jumped for the next hold but couldn't hold the swing. On this attempt I did the dyno and found a good bit on the crimp. This then made it easy to do the next move. It was to a sloping hold with a nice edge on it, I matched it then went to the final hold. This hold was a big sloper but easy to match with my foot up high. I was so happy to top it!
Final 2 My second bloc was a slab and it looked doable. On my first attempt I got onto the volumes and fell off trying to put my foot up. This was really annoying but I got back on and managed to put my foot up slowly. The next holds were OK and I had to switch my weight from one hand to the other so I could reach further. This part wasn't as hard and it was really fun. The last few moves had lots of feet and good holds. I remember smiling as I matched the top hold!
Final 3 This bloc looked completely my style and I was very excited for it. It had positive holds but it was overhanging which made them not so good. I pulled on and did the first move wrong handed this then messed up the next part and so I fell off. In total I had 5 attempts which was way too many as I was so pumped. On attempts 2, 3 and 4 I kept missing the bonus because I was pumped. On my last go I had a longer rest and did all the moves right  getting the sequence correct before grabbing the bonus. This was great. I knew the next move would be very difficult as getting the bonus took all my strength. I was also aware that time was running out and  I needed to speed up a little. I put my foot up and went for the second top hold. I didn't get far enough and fell.
Final 4 My last problem. It was again my style but looked like the hardest bloc. The first few moves were ok up until the big move to the volume. I went for it and held the swing well. This is the bit I am so happy about, I think I was the only person to get the bonus first attempt! After holding another swing when catching the bonus I was getting pumped. I now know that  I should have used the under cut I originally planned to used but made a quick decision (which properly lost me the top) to go for the second to top hold which I didn't get. This out of all my goes was the best. I think the previous boulder tired me out.

Overall I was pleased with my performance but I made some mistakes that could have boosted my final position by a lot. On the results it showed that my final position was 6th. I was happy but felt annoyed that I didn't top the last two blocs as I knew I was capable of doing them. I let the pressure and time force me into mistakes. Next time I will be more comfortable so should climb to my full potential.

Thanks to Tom and Michelle for coaching and taking us to Graz. Also thanks to Silvia because you helped me a lot going around in qualifiers. I had an amazing first bouldering EYC.