Monday, 18 November 2013

SYCC 2013 and Commonwealth Games Dinner - Saturday 9th November 2013

I have been very busy in the last couple of weeks - so I am cheating with my blog (a little) by linking to some other reports.

On Saturday 9th November I competed at the Scottish Youth Climbing Championhip at EICA, Ratho. It was freezing cold,  probably colder than normal as they are working on replacing the roof. I climbed well, topping all my routes, even the techy slabs that route-setter Neil McGeachy loves to set and climb! After climbing my final route I quickly went to the changing rooms to shower and change into my DJ before heading to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games Dinner. This meant that I wasn't able take part in the Speed comp, but well done to my brother, Alexander, for winning the Boys 16-19 years.

I had been invited to the dinner in Glasgow to receive one of 5 Scottish Sports Aid Trust merit awards. So I was really surprised when, at the dinner, it was announced that I had won the Miquel trophy for Most Improved Young Sportsperson 2013. I was really excited to win this award and it was great to meet Sir Chris Hoy!
With Sir Chris Hoy
How awesome for Sport Climbing to be recognised alongside more mainstream sports!
Ready for the Dinner - but still climbing!

Scottish Sports Aid Trust

MCofS Report

Wildcountry news

In summary I am thrilled to have retained my Scottish Champion title and to have won the Scottish Sports Aid Trust Miquel trophy. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bouldering EYC Laval, France, 12th/13th October 2013

I was psyched to be attending my first Bouldering EYC. I flew to Manchester on Thursday morning with fellow team member, Rachel Carr, to meet up with the rest of the team. From there we flew on to Paris and then drove to Laval.

On the Friday there was an Opening Ceremony and registration. The comp started on the Saturday with the youth A and junior female qualification and then youth A and junior male qualification. The youth B qualification was on the Sunday so youth B climbers were able to support everyone else on the Saturday, which was great fun. The whole team climbed well with Nathan Phillips qualifying for the final in 5th place.
It was amazing to watch Nathan crush the final and finish in 1st place!

On the Sunday it was an early start as my qualifiers were being held at a different wall in another town 30 minutes away. The youth B girls were first so this gave me and the rest of the GB Youth B boys time to warm up. When Qualification started I first got on problem 2, a very crimpy and powerful boulder, but messed it up twice, so moved onto problem 1, a really awkward problem where you needed to get your feet sorted, which I flashed. I then tried problem 5, a big slopery problem, which I flashed. I flashed three more of the problems and then got stuck on the last 3. I finally managed problem 7, which was a really awkward one hand dyno press, on my fourth go. Problem 2 and 3 eluded me. I was a bit surprised when Pete Dawson told me that we were both in the final. I had qualified in 6th place and Pete in 5th.

The Finals were held later that day. In the Final there were three problems. We came out for presentation and then observation. It was a great feeling being introduced to a very large crowd of hundreds of people. Looking at the problems with the other finalists I thought they looked desperate and didn't think I would top any.
In the Final - Photo by Brieuc Deleage
The first problem, was not my style at all being big pinch slopers and powerful, but I managed to get to the 2nd last hold - getting the bonus on my 5th attempt. Only one climber, Stefano Carnati from Italy, managed to top this. The 2nd problem had an awkward and tricky sequence but somehow I managed to pull through and flash this. This put me in 2nd place, although I did not know that. The final problem was a really awkward dyno, which I could not catch and ripped my finger open. However, although other climbers managed to catch the dyno and get the bonus hold they failed to top. Stefano and a French climber, Matteo Rousseau, managed to top out this problem, which put me in 3rd place.

I was sitting in isolation when Tom Greenall, GB manager, came in to congratulate me. I hadn't realised until that point that I was in 3rd place. Tom was rewarded with a very big smile!

Youth B Boys podium 

I really enjoyed my first Bouldering EYC - well done to all the team and especially Nathan.

BMC report here -

BLCC and BSCC, Sheffield, 5th/6th Oct 2013

I competed at the British Lead Climbing Championship on the Saturday and the British Speed on the Sunday, at the new Awesome Walls in Sheffield.

My first qualifier on the Saturday did not go to plan, as my hand ripped off about three quarters of the way up the route. This meant that I had to top my next route to guarantee I made the final. Both Jim Pope and Peter Dawson topped both the first route and then the second, so the pressure was really on. However, by managing to top the second qualifier I went through to the final in 4th place.

Our final route was around 8b/8b+ which went through the longest and hardest section of the wall. Three boys categories were on this route (so Youth B, A and Juniors.) Youth B climbed first, as we were the youngest. I had a good climb and managed to get into the roof, where I realised that I had misread the sequence. I managed to quickly correct myself, but this left me very pumped, so I was able to make a couple more moves before falling off. I wasn't sure if this would be enough to make the podium as there was still 3 more GB team members to climb - Angus Davidson, Jim Pope and Peter Dawson. However, it turned out that across all categories everyone had misread the roof sequence and I was the only one to get past that point, meaning I had won Youth B and got further than the older boys too!
Youth B Podium - looking smart!

On Sunday I entered the British Junior Speed Climbing Championship for fun. This was a good day with a great atmosphere and I climbed well getting into the final and posting a personal best of 10.90s in the semi-final. In the final round I was up against my brother, Alexander. We both found the pressure got to us and had slips and mistakes all the way up the route! In the end Alexander hung on to win and I had to settle for 2nd. We did speak to each other on the way home - honest!    

Junior Speed Podium 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

EYC Stavanger - 7th/ 8th September

On Wednesday 4th September my Dad drove me to Aberdeen where I stayed overnight at Rebecca Kinghorn's house. Rebecca is also on the GB Climbing Team and the following morning, with her Mum chaperoning, we flew from Aberdeen airport to Stavanger, Norway. The rest of the team would join us later as they were flying out from London.

On Friday we drove to the wall to check out its location, shopped for some food and had fun! Later Ian (Team Manager) attended registration and the Technical meeting.

Climbing started at 9.30am on the Saturday morning. I was climbing 13th just after Peter Dawson (GB Team.) I sat on the chair watching him climb and cheering him on as he made it all the way to the top but, unfortunately, dropped the last move. Then it was my turn to climb. The route was crimpy with some big moves so suited my style quite well. I felt really relaxed until about 3/4 way up when I became flash pumped. However, I managed to pull through a couple more moves to reach a rest point then I battled it out to the top - which I was very happy with.

Our second qualifier was not until the afternoon. Three GB Climbers, Peter, me and Jim Pope were up 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively so we made sure we were warmed up well before climbing started and with two Italian climbers route read together. Pete climbed very well and managed to top the route, which guaranteed him a place in the final. I was next to climb, the route had a hard start and then lots of traverses and stand-ups into undercuts in a groove. This allowed you to take good rests before the hard slopery top section, and I again managed to top. This also guaranteed my place in the final. Next up was Jim "pope on a rope" and he had an awesome climb, jumping between slopers at the top - it was insane! Jim also topped, which secured him a place in the final too!

As the second routes were completed it became clear that the GB Team had all performed well and all 12 team members had qualified for the finals - a record! This was a fantastic result for the team, and I was delighted to have qualified for the final in joint 1st.
GB Team
The Youth B Finals started very early on the Sunday morning at 8.30am, so we arrived early, as soon as isolation opened, at 7am to warm up. When we came out to observe the route we were expecting a standard overhanging, horrible route but were surprised and excited to find that the route included a double hand dyno, so everyone had a smile on their face when they returned to isolation. Everyone was super-psyched for the route. Whilst I was in isolation I could hear and work out from the cheers of the crowd how the other climbers were doing. I could guess at when the dyno was caught and I suspected that both Stefano Carnati, from Italy, and Sascha Lehmann, from Switzerland, had topped. I also thought Hugo, from France, and Nicolas, from Belgium, would have topped. Therefore, I knew that I had to top out if I wanted to be on the podium. I was last out to climb and I stayed relaxed through the first section of the route up to the dyno. At the dyno I was about to go for it when I paused for a second and realised "hang on I could static this" and was able to go to the hold with my right hand. This turned out to be a good hold so I was able to get a good rest here. After that I continued into the upper section which was much harder than the rest of the route. Even though I was pumped I managed to get to the last hold but almost fell off putting in the clip. I had to re-adjust my position in order to clip - so I was relieved to top out. When the rope was taken tight I was overwhelmed with happiness!

Once the results were confirmed,  I was in 2nd place to Sascha on Time. However, I was not too disappointed as I had topped all my routes and I was happy for Sascha too.

I was also 2nd in the overall EYC rankings for 2013 and received a cool medal.
The overall EYC Podium - me, Stefano Carnati, Sacha Lehmann
For Girls Youth A, Molly Thompson-Smith was 3rd in the overall rankings - here we are on the podium together.
With Molly

Monday, 9 September 2013

Summer 2013

It has been a very busy time over the summer and so I must apologise for not keeping this blog up to date.

At the start of the summer I travelled to Ceuse with Robbie Phillips for a four week climbing holiday.
It was a long journey there and back crammed into the back of Robbie's Jimmy.
I had a great trip and got some good ticks, including Slow Food, my first outdoor 8b+, which I really enjoyed as it was crimps in a roof, and my second 8B, L'ami de tout le monde, which I think is the most fun route I have ever done.

My tick list included - 3x 8a (2nd go) - Carte Blanche, Bourinator, la couleur du vent;
8a+ Rat Man, which unfortunately was a one move wonder but apart from that was good climbing;
and lots of easier onsight practice.

At the Campsite - Photo: Robbie Phillips
My brother, Alexander, joined us for 2 weeks and I also met up with fellow GB team member Alex Waterhouse and another friend Billy Ridal. It was really good fun to be outdoor climbing with friends, but I think 4 weeks away from indoor training is too long for competition climbers (at least for me!)

On my return from Ceuse, I had a day to sort out my kit before I flew out to Imst, Austria with the GB Climbing Team for the European Youth Championships. This was not the best competition preparation and I have learnt from this for the future. I had a good first qualifier finishing this route in 3rd place, but made a mistake while clipping on the second route and slipped off quite low down. However, luckily, I had done enough to qualify for the final in 10th place. In the final I managed to improve on my qualifying position and finished in 7th place.
In Imst 
The following weekend I travelled down to Leeds to compete at the BMC Open Youth Lead and Boulder Competitions. I climbed really well on the Saturday to win the boulder comp and the series, so I am now the British Boulder Champion for Youth B boys. On the Sunday the Lead comp took place. I climbed well in the qualifiers topping both routes, but I misread the last move of the final route and finished in 2nd place to Pete Dawson, fellow team member. Well done Pete!

Next came the World Youth Climbing Championship in Canada, during August. I was really happy with my performance in the qualifiers and topped my 2nd route. I qualified for the semi-final in 4th place and was psyched to do well.
2nd Qualifier - Photo: Nick pope
Then it all went pear-shaped, as my heel slipped in the semi and I ended up finishing in 12th place overall and not making the final. I was really upset and disappointed, but I picked myself up and then refocused for the final EYC of the year in Stavanger, Norway.

It was a great result for the team in Canada as all 6 GB climbers made the semi-finals!

The GB Team - Photo: Nick Pope
This summer has been a great learning curve and I have learned from both my successes and failures.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

EYC Edinburgh 8th/9th June

On Saturday the 8th of June I competed at the EYC at EICA, Ratho. There were over 200 athletes from 19 different countries. The first Qualifier was a green 8a+ up the middle of the old comp wall. I was pleased to get past the crux which was about three clips from the top, but I fell on the second last move of the route. However, as the competition progressed and other climbers got onto the route, it became clear that no one else would get further. I was happy with my climb, even though I didn't top, because no one beat me on that route. My second qualifier was a blue 8a up the side of the new comp wall which was hard from the very first move all the way to the top. I topped this route along with a few other climbers in my category. The results from both routes combined meant I qualified through to the final in first place. :)    

My Final route
The final was on Sunday the 9th and my final route was a green 8b/+ up the middle of the new comp wall. I was last to climb as we came out from isolation in reverse order from the qualifiers, so I had not seen anyone else climb. I had a good positive climb until I messed up the sequence and fell about half way up the wall. I was disappointed as I thought other climbers may have got further. However, I was soon congratulated by my coach, Robbie Phillips, and other GB team members because I had finished in 2nd place! I am very pleased with this result because it is my first podium at a European and it was the first European comp of the year.  
Green 8b/+ Final

Youth B Boy podium
You can read a report about the comp here

I am now looking forward to a Climbing trip to Ceuse, France.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

SYBC 2013 at TCA Glasgow

On Saturday 4th May I competed at the Scottish Youth Boulder Championship at T.C.A, Glasgow. This is the first year that this competition has been a part (Round 2) of the British Bouldering Championship, so it was very busy with climbers from all over the UK and Ireland competing. The GB Boulder Team were competing and keen to do well and prove themselves.

I was competing in Youth B boys. We had 15 problems to complete in the Qualifier and I was happy to flash all of them. I was not alone in achieving this, however, and of the 6 climbers that qualified through to the Final, four of us were tied for first place. The route setters were busy tweaking some of the final problems to ensure they would separate us.

We went into isolation at the back of the wall, and as the Final problems had been hidden all day behind curtains I was psyched to see them. We had 3 problems to climb in the final (and 4 minutes to climb each one) and I studied them carefully when we came out for our 4 minutes of observation time. I thought they all looked climbable.

Final Problem 1

I was 4th out to climb each time. The first problem I was pleased to climb on my first attempt. Our second problem was a balance-y climb on a slab and, unfortunately, my foot slipped twice. I topped it on my third attempt but I was really cross with myself for making a silly mistake. On the third problem I was determined not to make any mistakes and so was pleased to onsight this one.

Final Problem 2 

At the top of Final Problem 3 
After we had all climbed, and the results were posted, I was delighted to have finished 1st. It was a very close competition and problem attempts (5 as opposed to 8) were all that separated Pete Dawson and I.

Youth B Boys podium
Pete Dawson, me, James Mabon

I was pleased to have retained my Scottish Champion title and received a cool trophy designed by Malcolm Smith.  

Thanks to MCofS and TCA for organising this comp - it was really well run especially as there was a large amount of climbers attending.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Malham, Easter 2013

Last week I enjoyed a climbing holiday in Yorkshire with my family. We were very lucky with the weather as it stayed dry although it was very cold, especially at Kilnsey! I also met up with friends, from Scotland, at Malham Cove which was very good fun.
Icicles at Malham Cove

The first day I climbed at Malham Cove and did Overnite Sensation, 8a+. This was a really cool route which has a hard bouldery section at the start and I really enjoyed climbing it.

The following day I worked the moves for Magnetic Fields, 8b. This is a very powerful route with a crux move at the second clip requiring a tricky foot sequence. After a day of Trad climbing, at Giggleswick, I came back to this route on the Wednesday and managed to send it! I was really happy as these are the hardest routes I have climbed outdoors. 
Moving into the crux section of Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields, 8b

Thursday was a rest day, although we visited some climbing friends in Harrogate and ended up at the Climbing Centre there. So much for a rest I jumped on the hard Leading Ladder routes and onsighted them!

On Friday I worked the moves for Predator, 8b, at Malham. It is a long, sustained route with hard moves the whole way and few resting points. It is a really cool route. We drove back to Edinburgh on Saturday morning, after I had given Predator an attempt. I got high on the route, but was too tired after a week of climbing, and fell at the crux section. Next time ......
on Predator, 8b

The Malham crew!

The moral of this story is... to have a rest day! Or live closer to Malham!