Saturday, 1 April 2017

BMC Youth Lead Cup Round 1 (Reading Climbing Centre)


It was nice to have a change of climbing centre for this round of the British Youth Lead Cup. It is usually up in Sheffield which is a 4 hour drive for us whereas Reading Climbing wall is much closer. My parents drove my brother and I to Reading on Friday night ready for the Leading competition on Saturday and the Bouldering on the Sunday.

When I walked into Reading climbing centre I can remember thinking to myself I really hope its not the blue route next to the barrel because it looked horrible! But to be honest I often say that for most routes then find that they don’t look that bad!

My first qualifier of the day was a blue climb on the side of the barrel (typical) a slightly overhanging wall it looked like there was a lot of big moves and there were no obvious rests. I watched the demo and tried to work out the sequence. At first I was really scared about going on it but it didn’t seem so bad after I had read it. The first climber was on around 10am and I was 10th in the running order which was a pretty decent position to be so I could watch a few people but not wait ages for my go. Unusually, watching made me more nervous, I thought there were a few big moves and one of them was 3 clips up. All the competitors before me had fallen off on this move except for one very tall girl. This was slightly off putting! Warming up was easy there despite the bouldering area being small. It included lots of competition style holds. I thought my warm up was good but the timing of it was a bit off as I thought that everyone would have took longer on our route.

It quickly came around to my go and I was pretty nervous – the first climb is always the worst for me. Near the wall, the moves seemed closer together and the holds looked better which was a reassuring thought before I started climbing. I was pretty happy with my planning for this route and knew the high point I had to pass. The first section up to the sloper move was reasonably straight forward, I managed to remember the foot sequence I wanted to use and it worked really well. I clipped the next clip and committed for the move straight away as planned. I stuck it and carried on climbing. The next hard section was at the current high point on the route, before this was a big sloper that I had been dreading using. Although I was surprised but relieved that it was quite grippy and not as bad as I had suspected. I think the crux of the route for me was probably the undercut move because matching it was quite awkward. After the undercut there were a few nice crimps before a really bad sloper which I was just about to slide off when I grabbed the foot hold next to it and used it instead. I should have shaken out lower down before attempting this move because I was really pumped by the time I was on the penultimate hold. It was a simple move but the crimp was rounded and warm since the sun had been shining on it all morning. I didn’t have enough energy left to get the top hold and I fell just as I touched it. Maybe I should have tried to clip the last draw first - I though about that just before I went for the move but decided against it. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the top but pretty pleased with my performance.

Junior and Senior girls were climbing our second qualifier so I watched the last few of them but there were only 7 or so in the whole category. It was a black route on the left hand side of the barrel. There was an overhang with good hand holds at the start followed by a sketchy slab at the top. From what I heard the final holds were pretty bad. I thought I might be up first on this climb from looking at the qualifier 1 start order but later I found that I was actually up 3rd to last. Again on this route everyone fell off at the same place. The crescent shape volume over to the nice in-cut crimp. It seemed to be a very shouldery move! Nobody had managed to pass it by the time it was my go. I pulled on the route with confidence knowing all I had to do to make the final was get near the high point on this route.

The holds were good at the start but it was quite over hanging so it was more energy draining than I would have hoped. I got the the crescent volume and double clipped. I put a toe on the hold around the arĂȘte (where others had put a heel) and lent out towards the crimp. I held it with my finger tips at first but then slowly released my toe down onto it so I could transfers my weight onto the right side and then carry on moving. This worked well but left me with little energy as the route curved up becoming a slab. In the Senior category a lot of people fell off the next move just above half way. You have to bump up the arĂȘte and pop for a peanut shape sloper. I felt off balance here but I steadily bumped up the side of the wall and push for the sloper not expecting to hold it because I was getting pretty pumped. But I did get it and there was a shallow ring around the hold to crimp on! This gave me a quick chance to shake out and rest before attempting the top. When route reading, the tear drop shaped holds looked ok because they were on the vertical part of the wall but actually they were really bad. Holding the second one I had to use the arĂȘte so I could reach to the final hold. It was a nice crimp and at that point completely vertical. I clipped the chains and was very surprised to have topped it.


I knew I was through to the finals so we went out of the centre for a while before isolation closed. After observation I was confident that I could climb well on the black route we had. Opposite the barrel wall. I was last to climb in my category and I hated the wait. Although, people seemed to be going out very quickly which was also slightly worrying. I remembered my liquid chalk and walked out to climb at the same time as my fellow boulders academy climber Gwen. The beginning of the route was easy and relaxed me a lot more. The volume pinch was good and that was the end of the easy climbing. Next was only crimps and sketchy feet. It was hard to clip in a balanced position and my feet felt like they were going to pop all the time.

When I got to the crimp rail I tried to clip and then dropped the rope and carried on because I was too pumped in that position. I clipped from an undercut and the next one from the large sloping ball which was better than it looked. Very pumped I noticed there was only 5 moves left until the top! The next two crimps were decent but the following move was a cross under and I couldn't get my shoulders close enough together to do it. I got very pumped at so many tries at this so I decided eventually to match the hold before and go for the move. I almost held it but didn't quite have enough left because of all the mistakes near the top.

This was the high point so I felt really good to have won but disappointed with all the mistakes I made!

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