Saturday, 12 March 2016

Youth Open Leading-March 2016

Last weekend on the 5th March I arrived at Liverpool Awesome Walls to compete in my first lead comp of the season and the first comp in which I would be representing the GB Team. This was exciting, although I felt nervous as I knew people would have high expectations of me. On arrival I was told I could collect my new team kit from Berghaus. It came as no surprise that the kit was much cooler than previous years as I knew Berghaus were a huge company producing quality goods. My favourite item is the branded down jacket!
After the initial excitement of trying everything on, I felt shaky again so went to warm up and watch my demos. Both of my qualifiers were technical with a slight overhang and larger overhang at the top changing to vert for the last few moves.
Pulling on to the wall for my first route I felt  a roomful of eyes turn to the Union Flag on my back and I knew I had to do well to prove my worth. After a few sketchy moves at the beginning, I reached the top section where others had been falling. Coming over the overhang on to tiny crimps got me pumped but I managed to keep my head and topped the route, being one of two in my category to do so.
This made me a little more relaxed and I went to have my team profile picture taken with a smile on my face. The next route look slightly harder as I had never used a lot of the holds before. After watching one of my fellow GB Team competitors fall low down on the route, I prepared myself for some difficult climbing. The first part was sketchy, with some strange holds which I didn't quite know how to hold. Reaching the place where others had fallen, I took care chalking up and just kept climbing. Coming over the overhang I had to lock off and reach as far as I could, grabbing the next hold with two finger tips. Unfortunately the hold was shiny and as I brought my foot up my fingers pinged off and I fell, slamming into the side wall and hitting my back. Nevertheless, I knew I had done enough and I soon discovered I had qualified for finals in 2nd place.
Isolation, to my annoyance, was in a small Boulder room which had a ceiling you could touch from the ground and a lack of poor holds for warming up. I spent time catching up with others in the cramped quarters and soon it was time for observation. We had been given the same route as 3 other categories, a pumpy route on the comp wall which arched out into a near horizontal section, then curved on to a vertical part to the end.
After a long couple of hours spent keeping warm in isolation, it was finally time for me to climb. The first part of the route was on smallish holds, moving into jugs through the roof. I chalked up on the last jug and powered over the roof on to smaller crimps. This transition made me suddenly very pumped and when I cut loose I thought I would fall. However, the crowd kept roaring and I didn't give up, only falling when I grabbed a hold with the wrong hand to clip and was too pumped to switch hands and move on.
I was slightly disappointed to come third, as I often do and I had qualified higher. However, I was still pleased with my climbing. Congratulations to everyone who competed!
Keep climbing!
New mug shot (credits to Nick Pope) in the new kit
My profile on the team website can be found:

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