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!|