Sunday, 6 December 2015

GB Team Selection!

On the 23rd November I was thrilled to find out that I had been selected for the GB Junior Lead Climbing Team! I have wanted to be a part of the team for 2 years now (feels much longer than that) and have had the disappointment of not being selected 3 times. However, this made my selection all the more rewarding and I will train hard this year to make the most of my position on the team.
I was relatively surprised to find this out as I thought I had not climbed well enough on the weekend, achieving 4th in the leading. However, reflecting upon it now, I realise that regardless of my position I climbed well, proving my consistency. Congratulations to everyone else who was (re)selected, looking forward to climbing with you guys! Thanks for reading.
Keep climbing!
GB Climbing Team Logo

Youth Open Bouldering-November 2015

Apologies for the gap between this post and the last one- I've been very busy with school work etc.
It was on the 22nd November that I went to the Youth Open Bouldering event at The Climbing Works, Sheffield to compete in my less favoured discipline-bouldering (to non-climbers this involves climbing short problems without a rope).
Upon arrival I warmed up and went to look at my problems-I was pleased but surprised to find lots of slabby problems and only a few vertical/overhang/roof ones. I was still annoyed about my 4th place the previous day. However, I tried to come into this comp with a new mindset as I knew I didn't have as much pressure on me today.
The qualifiers were surprisingly difficult considering the gradients of them and the most topped by anyone was 4 out of 8 by Hannah Slaney. I managed to flash (get first go) the easiest (but by no means easy) problem in a corner which involved pressing on slopers and careful feet. What put me in 2nd qualifying position was flashing another much harder slab, which most people tried to dyno but I, being rubbish at dynos, found a way to do statically.
The finals were a mix of styles with one slab and two overhangs. I discussed the sequence of each with my fellow finalists in observation and warmed up carefully in isolation. The first problem was a powerful overhang with a mix of crimps and slopers. I got to the bonus hold first go (I knew at the time this put me in joint 1st position so far) but couldn't get past this point on any attempt as I couldn't figure out where to put my feet.
The second problem was far more suited to me, being a slab and I read the problem carefully before getting on the wall (it was a 3 min+ time system). With careful foot placements and slow, balanced movements I was able to flash this, retaining my position of joint 1st.
I soon realised that the person I was tying with, Alexia Basch, had qualified in 4 the place behind me so if I could climb well in the last final I would win the competition on count back! This made me nervous and on the last block I fell before reaching the bonus because of a big, powerful deadpoint move. This was my worst kind of move (apart from full dynos) and I was unable to complete the move on any attempts. I watched Hannah Slaney, who climbed after me, get past this move and to my dismay, calculated that I had come 3rd. Although this would have been a good position for me in bouldering, I had been so fixed on winning before the last block.
However, they do say 'don't count your chickens before they've hatched' and I found in the awards ceremony that I had miscalculated my position and had come 2nd! I was chuffed with this but also surprised that I had done better in the bouldering than in the leading. Congratulations to Alexia Basch, who came 1st and Hannah Slaney, who came 3rd as well as all the other competitors.
Keep climbing!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Youth Open Lead-November 2015

I have been meaning to write a blog for a while but haven't got around to it. When I got on to the GB climbing team recently, I decided that it would be a nice idea to start now.
On the 21st November I went to the Leeds Wall with my mum to climb in the British Youth Open Lead event. Having come 3rd and 2nd in the previous two Lead Cup rounds, I was eager to place highly, even by pipping my record and winning. I got to the wall roughly 2 hours before the climbing started to give me time to look at the routes and demos and get warmed up. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my first qualifier was a nice vertical route with a combination of crimps and slopers and no  especially huge reaches. I watched the demo and warmed up on lead, probably too soon as I was climbing 12th and the first climber hadn't gone yet. However, what concerned me the most was my inability to stop shaking with nerves! When it was my turn to climb only one girl had topped the route and I was starting to doubt my initial self confidence. The start of the route was harder than I had assumed and took a lot of careful foot placements to get right. Nevertheless I soon found myself at the crux and with a few deep breaths I climbed on and got to the last few moves on nice crimps. I was relieved to top out after having climbed so shakily, but I pushed the experience to the back of my mind and watched my 2nd qualifier demo.
I felt slightly more at ease for this route as I knew that I was in joint 1st position from the previous route. However, this route was on a steeper gradient and less suited to my style. Climbing 4th I didn't have much time to worry and got on the route feeling determined. The holds were mainly good crimps but as I moved towards halfway the moves started to get harder, with wide bridging and cutting loose required. By the time I got to the crux section I was feeling moderately pumped and in this part of the route the footholds were sparse and at awkward angles so I kept cutting loose, losing energy quickly. I got to the high point which was a long move going to a crimpy undercut from some lower down crimps and high feet. Here I fell off but I was a little disappointed as I felt I could have climbed higher had I not known the high point. However I was still pleased to qualify in joint 2nd place.
In preparation for the finals I watched a couple of demos for other categories' routes in case I got these for my final. I spoke to others in my category and we decided that it would probably be one of two routes, both of which were steep and long moved. This worried me and I decided to go away to have lunch and go for a walk outside to clear my head. At 3.15 I went into isolation which was not an ideal place for this. The area itself was very small and cramped and the only surrounding walls were top rope with no mats and very few poor holds to practice on. Nevertheless I made the most of what was there. When we went to observe the routes I found to my dismay that our friends ball route was one of the ones I had thought it might be but that it was also the one I least wanted to get. It has been boys A qualifier 2 as well as boys juniors qualifier 1 and I had seen many boys, even tall ones, struggle with some of the long moves off poor holds.
I came out to climb 5th feeling determined if not very anxious. The first section of the route was pumpy and powerful but I used the best technique I could to get through it. I got to the first crux section where I moved out sideways to some crimpy undercuts in a long move. Having done this, I set up for the next move-a dead point over a volume to a small slopey crimp. I gave the move my best effort and almost got it. The next thing I knew I was off the wall and shouting in frustration for I knew I could have got it and that other, taller climbers would get further.
The next climber, Hannah Slaney climbed beautifully, pulling through the first crux section with what looked like ease and coming off higher up at a long move to a crimp. Looking at the results board I was annoyed to find that I had missed a podium place by 1 plus point!
My mum told me that the girl who came third, Rebecca Kinghorn, had got to the same place as me but had tried reaching up with the wrong hand to get a feel for the hold, before setting up to go with the right hand. She fell going with the right hand but had scored higher than me for touching the hold first. I learnt a valuable lesson from this- if you think you are going to fall off, try by any means to touch the next hold, before setting up to do the move in sequence.
I was not best pleased with my 4th place but speaking with my coach I was able to acknowledge that I had climbed well and had taken a valuable lesson away from the experience.
I hope you enjoyed reading my first post,
Keep climbing!