Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Ups and the Downs

Assessment day

It’s been a while since I last wrote on here, but I’ve had no good news to talk about! However, I do now, but we’ll start with the not so good stuff…

On the 3rd of March I had an assessment day for the British team, and this has been my focus for the last few months. The idea was that we had 5 routes to attempt, a 7b, 2 7b+s and 2 7cs. Completing 3 would qualify you for selection to European events this year.

The day started well enough, a bit numb (because of the cold!) on the first route but got up it, and the second route was fine, although I was pretty shaky (not sure if it was nerves or excess caffeine…). Then it started to go wrong. The third route started up a steep wall, before turning a small lip and moving into a technical corner. I started off up the first wall fine, but as I was moving through the steepest part I got the worst flash pump of my life! It was incredible, my arms just didn’t work! By some ridiculous fluke I managed to pull the last few moves before the no hands rest in the corner, but it was very close! In the corner I had a rest and a breather, and moved on into the technical, crimpy, slopey corner. It was fine up until one move, where it turned out you had to use the feature screw-ons (which were a different colour to the wall and all chalked up!) which I thought weren’t in! Even without these, I managed the move with difficultly and cruised to the top!

Then it went really badly! After a good long rest, and some exercises to clear the remains of the pump it was time for our 4th  route. This one was all about endurance, but on the crux, my foot slipped going for a good hold. I wasn’t happy at all… The worst part was I did the route the next day all the way to the top (we were only going to 2/3 height) with no pump at all, very frustrating!!

My final climb was even worse, I was frustrated about the 4th route, so didn’t rest long enough before my attempt, and as a result I once again flash pumped at around ½ height. This time there wasn’t a no hands rest to save me, so I was off within a couple of moves! A lesson to be learnt there somewhere…

After the day I was selected for the Ratho EYC in May, along with the Imst EYC in Austria in August (just after Ceuse so should have some good endurance!). Then after that there’s the European Championships and the Kranj EYC that haven’t been selected for yet, so I better get cracking!

CWIF and Peak

A week later, I took a train up north to Sheffield to compete in CWIF. I’ve always seen this comp online, but this year was the first time I actually got a chance to compete, so I was pretty psyched! Looking at the problems, they all looked hard, with just one that I could confidently say I could do every time, although most of the rest looks like they were do-able. I started off on some of the slightly easier ones to begin with, but quickly moved on to some of the harder ones before they became too crowded. Apart from the occasional route with a long move, it went quite well, and I ended up scoring 156, putting me in 58th place overall and 4th (I think) in the under 18s! I must be better at bouldering than real climbing…

On the Sunday it was looking really nice, so we headed out for a bit of a boulder at Stanage. Turns out it may have been a bit TOO nice, as the rock was really greasy! After a bit of a mess about on the pebble we moved on to the only problem we knew would be in the shade, Brad Pit. I looked at it last year when I was up there, but never had a go, so this time was my first session. The beta is generally match the rail then heel up to the left of the rail, then go left hand up to the bottom of the sloper and then match with the right. From the sloper, hand up to a rubbish crimp then slap or just dyno off the sloper. Might as well start with the tall beta!

My first attempt seemed pretty promising to me, and I managed to touch the sloper. The next was even better, and I managed to get a bit of a hold on the sloper! After a few more goes, I stuck the sloper with the left hand and then in a few more I managed to match the sloper. Then it started to get really hard! The next move was huge! Even with the top crimp I couldn’t even slap for the finish! I worked out the problem was it was so warm, meaning my hand was slipping off of the sloper when I got to the crimp, so I had to readjust it so it was back on before the slap.

By this point, I was about to miss my train home, so after a couple of incredibly close slaps (almost holding it) I had one final go:

Will defiantly go next time if it’s a bit colder!

Cider Soak

Finally some success!

On Sunday, I went up to Ansteys Cove for a bit of a play, and the draws were up in Cider Soak, the classic 8a of the crag, which I’ve wanted to do for ages, but this was my first real go. On my first bolt to bolt I surprised myself, getting every move either first or second go! I had a few more bolt to bolts that day and was getting mot of the moves first go, apart from the move off of the resting jug. I was getting worse, so decided to call it a day, so took the draws out determined to come back soon.

That day came soon enough, the next day in fact, but I only had about an hour get it done (I should have waited really, I was 4th day on!)! I bolt to bolted it to get the draws in, then went for the redpoint! My first attempt was a flop, my foot popping while clipping the third draw.

The next go I was feeling strong, moving though the first section well, and was quite surprised when I latched the resting jug! The first section is the crux, but the section from the jug is almost as hard and entirely droppable. In my bolt to bolts I’d done the move off of the jug in a very powerful way, and when I was resting and had a couple of test go’s, I realised I wouldn’t be able to do it that way this time. I made up a bit of beta involving a match on a crimp, and I had the sloper. Right hand to the crimp, heel on, left hand to the sloper , heel up, slap to the crimp, slap with the right hand to the jug! I’d done it :D My first 8a outdoors, and come to think of it, about my 10th completed route on rock… Time to get some mileage in! Anyway, I have completed one of my goals, to climb 8a outdoors before I was 15!

A video of the assent is here:

In Easter I’ll be headed up north to Malham, Scotland and the Lakes! I’ll keep you posted!



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