I have been competing in the European Youth Cups for two years now and I finally think I have got the hang of them! My first blog is about my trip to Kranj:
On the 22nd of November, 18 GB youth climbing team members arrived at Stanstead airport at an ungodly hour - 5.45 am!!! Of course being the climbers we are, myself and Buster were both late! Buster left his passport, I missed the exit to Stanstead. Great start for us eh? However we all made it through and onto the plane in good time. After a pretty boring an uneventful flight, Team GB arrived in Slovenia. The down jackets were out... so were the scarves... and the gloves, however it was not as cold as expected (no one was complaining!).
2 days full of crazy Swiss guys (Franz), glittery nail makeovers and a showing of Skyfall meant that it was finally comp time. My first goal was to make finals. Second, to podium. And third, to end up with a top 4 overall ranking. We got down to the wall at 8 to support the Youth A girls, Youth B boys and Junior boys who would all be climbing first. After watching most of the Youth As on our route (we were sharing), I was 3rd up. I was happy with this position because I had seen plenty of people on the route and it meant I wouldn't have to wait around for too long.
I really like the small corridor that is the warm up wall at Kranj. It has the perfect holds: the right number of jugs, crimps, slopers etc. After an hour long warm up, I felt ready. I sat in the chair and tied in. After a good effort from the first and second climbers in Youth B, it was my turn. I walked up to the wall and pulled on to the start undercut. The start was a bit sketchy with not so great holds and techy rock overs and crimpy locks. I quickly but carefully completed the first section and moved onto the next: a juggy roof. I shook out and made the most of the nice holds. After a quick chalk up, I moved up and out of the mini roof to two crimps followed by a bad hold made good by its location of around the side of the wall. I shook out on the next two undercuts knowing that I would have to power through the top section if I wanted a top. I moved onto the last panel to face a huge lock off move I had seen many girls struggle on previously. I pulled into the lock, my fingers just tickling the hold. Back down. Shake. Lock again. Panic over, I reached the hold. Completely pumped from the tough lock off, I threw for the penultimate hold. As I had forgotten to bump my hand up to the intermediate, I did not have the height or control to hold it. I was disappointed with my efforts but it was a good enough climb to put me in joint first place.
Route 2. After a 5 hour wait it was time to crush. Had an amazing warm up before this route and when I was climbing, felt as if it was the best I had ever climbed; maybe because I had more rest than I do usually. This route started of with a mega tech fest. It had a few bridges in it that I was JUST about flexible enough to do! After a hard move off a small crimp into a small jug like undercut in the roof, I felt more comfortable. I cruised through the roof section (despite bashing my head!).I had completed half the route and reached the main resting point. After a couple shakes, puffs of chalk and french blows, I continued at speed into an easy volumes section before facing the HUGE yellow volume I could only dream of climbing on in the UK! After a sketchy clip and cross through on a tiny foothold, I moved on to what I read as the crux move. I bumped into a decent yellow hold before powering into an okay hold on the last panel. I had chosen to not do the heel hook that i had seen in the demo and fellow competitor use (who had been the only one to top) due to my poor heel hooking skills (ha ha) resulting in me going big off a low foothold. I was on the home straight with no more clips to distract my climbing. I moved smoothly and kept going till I was at the last two holds before the top hold. I positioned my feet for this last move which Ian had told me I would need to give everything I had for. I threw for the last hold and caught it easily with my feet still on. I clipped the chains. I was happy. Really happy. I had made finals. I had achieved my first goal for Kranj and qualified in joint first with Hannah Schubert for the finals held the next day.
I'm going to skip straight to isolation. Went out to observation and read the route with previous world champ Hannah Schubert from Austria, Stasa Gejo from Serbia and Celine Cuypers from Belgium. It was a black route with a steady start. It looked really hard from the roof upwards. We were all ushered back into isolation where I had 8 climbers to finish my warm up with. I was warming up when Ian came to tell me that five out of the ten girls had already been called out! I quickly finished my warm up and got my gear on. Ian and I waited on the bench. He gave me a good pep talk (cheers Ian!) telling me not to worry about speed and to just worry about getting to the top etc. After what seemed like forever, I was called to tie in. I got mega focused in the tie in zone. I walked out, reading the route as my belayer got ready. Chalked up. I stepped off the ground and began climbing. Feeling cool, I climbed smoothly up to the first couple clips enjoying all the slopers, pockets and crimps that came my way. I pulled round the corner onto the previously unused huge green volume I had been staring at all weekend. I shook out and rested for a bit and then moved on to the roof. I tried to climb this quickly as I knew the pump was coming for me! I hit a hold on an orang volume at the end of the roof and immediately felt the pump kick in. I kept fighting, pulling over the lip and onto a hard clip which I almost dropped. Two rubbish footholds later, I was completely boxed! I snatched out left for a small but good crimp and then tried to hold the next undercut. Unfortunately this was it for me and I came down snatching for the undercut. I was again disappointed. The commentator called me over for an interview which was slightly embarrassing but a good end to my final climb. After watching the last climber, Hannah, fall at the same place as me, I was either 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th! Myself, Hannah, Stasa and Franziska had all got to the same move! This meant it was down to time. All 4 of us held hands as we watched the results board and listened out for who had got that 2nd place. After about 10 minutes (which seemed like forever!) it was announced that I had climbed quickest and gained the silver, followed by Hannah in third.
That weekend was definitely the best one of 2012! I had achieved my first silver and to make it even better, I had been selected as the new team captain due to Luke moving into the seniors. And lastly, I had found out that I was ranked 3rd in the world for 2012!!! It had been an amazing weekend! The last comps of the year are the Youth Opens in Liverpool (Bouldering and Lead) a week on Saturday. Pysched!! Sadly, this does mean that Kranj was the last of the international comps for 2012 but I am excited to get training this winter so that I am ready and crushing next year when I move up into the next category: Youth A!
Congratulations to all of the team that went to Kranj- especially Jonny Stocking who qualified for the Junior male final -they all climbed really well! Here are the teams results:
Youth B male:
Pete Dawson 11th
William Bosi 14th
Angus Davidson 18th
Alex Waterhouse 21st
Youth B female:
Molly Thompson Smith 2nd
Tara Hayes 12th
Youth A male:
Connor Byrne 12th
Buster Martin 16th
Youth A female:
Sarah Pashley 23rd
Eleanor Hopkins 29th
Rebekah Drummond (Did not compete due to injury)
Jonny Stocking 10th
Luke Tilley 13th
Jonny Field 17th
Callum Forsyth 20th
Charlotte Graden 13th
Jen Wood 15th
Thanks to the chaperones: Ian, John, Jill, Alister, Phil and of course my dad! :) Also, special thanks to all my sponsors:
Lyon Outdoor (La Sportiva, Beal, Petzl)
McGrath Charitable Trust
Pilates on Elgin
CGA (Country Gentlemans Association
Westway Sports Development Trust
Joan and David Thompson (My grandparents!! :D)
My parents :)