Molly Thompson Smith

Molly Thompson Smith
Edinburgh EYC 2013

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Getting a feel for rock

Bouldering at Carrock 
So after the EYCH in Edinburgh I headed back up North to the Lake District, home of the Hitman (aka Liam Halsey) and his girlfriend Lucy with my coach Rob Russell. I was spending a week at Liam's so I could get out on some rock. The trip wasn't focused on me 'sending hard things' or 'crushing', I just wanted to experience the whole process of going out climbing for a day or week. And I can definitely say it was very new and uncomfortable!

After a 5 hour drive we arrived at the Hitmans, had some pie and headed off to Carrock for an afternoon/evening of bouldering. I was still tired from the Euro champs and so I was relieved to find out the walk to the boulders we would be climbing was really short. We warmed up on some easy blocs and then moved onto less basic things. I really enjoyed the bouldering on rock and found it pretty similar to indoor bouldering.
Having some fun ahah

Climbing Pierrepoint at Gordale

Tuesday saw us travel to St Bees for a day of bouldering by the sea. The weather was absolutely amazing which is why we decided to go there. The approach was a bit sketchy but I loved St Bees so much; the rock was so attractive and the moves really cool. I enjoyed climbing everything - from the really basic blocs to trying much harder problems. I especially enjoyed working 'Headbanger' - the first move was the hardest for me and after some helpful beta from Dan Varian I managed to get it many attempts later. I also had a play a few other harder blocs and had fun trying to make up new sequences to make the moves easier or more doable for myself. My favourite problem I tried and watched Liam demolish was 'Floating Points'. It was like a board problem... so my favourite type of bouldering!

Pierrepoint, Gordale
The next day we travelled up to Malham. It was really hot and the midges were out in full force meaning we bailed after one route. Although I didn't get to climb anything the rock looked really cool and hopefully I'll be back soon! We moved over to Gordale after an ice-cream and tea break. I found it so much harder getting used to climbing on a rope outside... I would look at the wall or look at Liam climb something and not see anything... it was just blank to me. This meant that I was just patting around on every route ha! Obviously I will get better at seeing things over time but it was something I struggled with. It was great watching Rob and Liam climb... it was clear they were very experienced and knew how to read the rock so it was really helpful being able to try and learn from them.

Thursday we were lucky enough to visit the Lyon HQ in Tebay and have a tour... it was really nice and interesting to see what actually happens behind the scenes! So thanks so much Lyon for having us and Corin for the t
Beta from the Hitman
our! We also picked up some amazing gear which was so good to use. After, we travelled up to Troll Gill (not sure of its actual name!) and again had to bail due to ridiculous midges
. It was really frustrating to walk in to the crag and see how cool the rock and the lines looked but be so distracted by the midges and have to leave. But thats just how it is sometimes. It was nice to have my first rest day in a while anyways!

Friday we decided a day of bouldering would be best and hopefully the midges wouldn't be so bad. We spent most of the day at Virtual Crag which took me a while to get used to the rock. I found it quite sharp and the holds uncomfortable. But I got used to it and managed to do a few cool blocs which was fun :) Afterwards we headed to Langdale boulders and lazed around in the sun (and did a bit of climbing!).

La Sportiva Katanas ft. Rob

Saturday we retuned to Gordale to get another ropes day in. Rob thought it'd be cool for me to have a play on the famous 'Supercool'. It was such a nice route with really really cool moves. I really want to get back to Gordale again and get on the route again some time.

Sunday we drove home, myself and Rob both shattered! It was really nice to experience a week outside and I certainly learnt a lot! It was pretty uncomfortable for
me at times as I'm used to a nice café on site or at least some toilets! And walking through glass
Chillin at Virtual Crag
doors to get to the wall rather than a half an hour walk in! But I'm really glad I've had a proper introduction to rock climbing and I plan to get out a lot more and get more confident on the rock!

Big thanks to Liam and Lucy for putting me up and to Rob for putting up with me for a whole week too!
And a massive thanks to Steve and the Lyon guys for all the awesome gear and also to Berghaus for the super comfortable clothing.

Trying hard on 'Floating Points' at St Bees.

Thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust

And to Rob and Liam for the pictures

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Gold and Silver - The Euros

I've decided to not write a massive blog on what went down in Imst as I think the few articles that have been published have done the job pretty well and I don't want to just repeat them! So here's a quick bit about my preparations and feelings in Imst and a few links to any articles on it if you haven't seen them already.

Imst Qualification Route 2
Imst Final Route
Usually I feel pretty nervous before a comp… not bad nervous but good nervous. But for Imst I felt nothing. I’d gotten ill the day before I started my GCSEs which was gutting… It was ridiculously difficult to study, sit the exams and even harder to train! Almost 3 weeks later Imst was creeping closer and closer and as I was not really getting much better my parents had decided I wouldn’t go to Imst. Of course I was mortified and so tried everything I could to get better quickly… steaming, medication, rested from training… and it slowly got better. I just about convinced my parents to let me go and headed to the airport for a long journey to Imst. The day before the comp I decided to not leave the hotel and stayed in whilst the team went out to explore and ride the Alpine Coaster. I’m pretty proud of myself for being mature enough to tell myself to stay in and not go out with my friends so I would hopefully not feel any worse for comp day. Whilst the team was out I watched a couple films and had a really good yoga and meditation session, which calmed me down a lot. After a restless night I woke up pretty tired and demotivated for the comp. Nevertheless, I did what I needed to do and made finals in 8th. I was really nervous for the final route - the most nervous I'd ever been which i found strange. I gave myself a little pep talk down in the holding area beneath the wall and really got in the zone... something I'm going to try and do more often! Somehow I managed to pull one out of the bag and have a great final climb leaving me with a massive grin and my first gold! :) It was so rewarding to finally be on the top step of the podium and it was also really special for me to be able to share this moment with the team. 

Here are the links:

Climb Magazine

Okay, now I thought I'd give you some thoughts on rye European Youth Championships in Edinburgh last weekend:

The 14th and 15th of June saw Europe's best climbers come to Edinburgh for the second major event, and first championship event of the season. I was slightly nervous about this competition as all I had been hearing for the past two weeks was 'Good effort in Imst Molly, I'm expecting another gold in Edinburgh!' Safe to say the pressure was high but I didn't mind.

Final Route Edinburgh
The qualifications were frustrating for me. My first route was on the old comp wall on the line i had had the previous year... Rope drag city basically! This route wasn't exactly my style so I decided to take my time in order to avoid a costly foot slip of misjudgement of how good a hold was. Unfortunately, I took my time too much and ended up being called down for time 2 holds from the top. I was so angry because I knew I could have easily topped this route... what made me even more angry is that my silly error had left me in 16th place on the route with a spot in the finals looking out of reach.

The pressure was on for route 2. Being on the Hangar wall it was automatically more suited to me. I managed to pass a hard move 4 clips up and continue to the roof resulting in a 3rd place on that route and a 7th place overall... finals were calling.

EYCH Edinburgh Podium
Sunday morning came and I was psyched. After my best comp warm up this year I walked out feeling ready. The final route had an easy start with the holds gradually getting worse. I fell at a really big, hard move at the beginning of the roof. I was annoyed because I knew that if I had been able to stick that move I think I could've made it to the end of the roof. Expecting my competitors to breeze up the route, I watched the rest of the girls climb with my team mates and Ian (Team Manager). Surprisingly, all the girls were dropping off beneath my highpoint... it was like deja vu; the same shock and disbelief I had in Imst! I was in first up until the last climber, Alina Ring of Switzerland. Alina looked strong up until a couple moves before where I had gotten to where she started to look pretty pumped. Part of me thought maybe I'd scrape my second gold but Alina fought a good fight, coming off at the same place as me. Following the rules of countback I finished in 2nd place, a result I'm please with as all I want is to be consistent. 

I just want to say a massive thanks to my lovely Mum and Dad who I owe everything to... I wouldn't be able to climb without their amazing support. I also want to thank my teammates for helping me climb to gold and then silver and congratulate them all on their strong performances. And lastly, a huge thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon Outdoor (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Westway Development Trust
Sport England

PS.Thanks to Tanya Falling and John Ellison for the pictures