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, Zoƫ 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.