Deep Water Soloing Competition in Exeter Quay Climbing Centre

Deep Water Soloing Competition in Exeter Quay Climbing Centre

On Friday we drove down to Exeter because I had entered the first Deep Water Solo (D.W.S.) climbing competition in the UK which was due to start Saturday morning.

We arrived in Exeter on Friday night and went straight to the Quay Climbing Centre. The first thing we did was go the wall which had been built on a pontoon over a canal basin.

It was probably the most amazing thing I had seen in my whole life! One of the things we noticed was how you would start the climbs. They built it cleverly by cutting two door shapes either side of the wall so climbers could get onto the routes. They had done the same in the middle so you could climb on the middle of the wall.

After looking at the wall and reading some of the routes, we went into the Quay Climbing Centre to listen to some inspirational talks. Sadly, we had to leave early from these because I needed a good nights sleep.

The next morning we had to get up early to register for the competition as I was 15th in line to take a boat onto the pontoon to start the competition. We had three routes in the qualifiers and 3 minutes to complete each. We only had 6 minutes rest between each route so if we fell in we would have to get dry quickly.

I was a bit nervous about my first route, but I had read it and it looked really easy. I managed to top it pretty easily, this made me feel good for the next climb.

The second route looked easy apart from the top move but I thought that I could top it. I manage to get to the top move and was a bit scared when I got to this point but I managed to match the top hold.

My final qualifier looked hard and I was really nervous about this. Not only did I need to top it but I had to drop in at the end anyway so I was going to get wet whatever happened. Up until the steep overhang the climb was OK. But when I got to the overhang I couldn’t quite reach one of the holds so I popped for it and got it. It was a good hold and I managed to move off it. The next couple of moves were OK and then I reached the volumes. The holds on the volumes were tiny and not very good. I managed to hold them even though I was shaking. The top move was the hardest and I only just reached it.

I dropped into the water after the climb and it wasn’t as cold as I thought but it was gross.

Topping all of the qualifying routes meant I had definitely qualified for the semis. Only 4 of the under 16 girls managed to top all the qualifying routes.

We spent the rest of the day chilling and watching some of the other qualifiers.

On Sunday I had to get up early again as I had to register for the semi-finals and was second in line to climb. As well as the qualifiers two members of the GB team went directly into the semis.

When I arrived at the DWS wall I went straight to look at the routes to refresh my memory from yesterday when I had looked at them. The first route looked the easiest and definitely doable. The second looked OK as well with a couple of hard moves towards the top. The third route was most definitely the hardest because the top few moves had really awful small holds and it was very steep.

As I expected the first route was pretty easy and I managed to top it. The second route was pretty easy up until the top two panels. The holds suddenly got smaller and the moves were longer. I got to the second top hold and then I was stuck. I was trying to grab the hold slowly but I wasn’t quite tall enough. So I lined my hand up and popped for the top and stuck it!

My last route in the semis was OK on the steep overhang apart from one reachy move in the middle. The next couple of moves getting over the lip were OK and I managed to do them. After this there was one move going to the side pull which I really thought could do. I got too excited because I was close to the top and I made the move too fast not hitting the hold right. I fell into the canal from here and got wet.

After watching the other climbers finish I knew I had qualified for the final second behind Hannah Slaney. There were two other qualifiers both in the GB team. I really hope to make the team next year too!

We had to wait a while to take a picture of the results – here it is:

It was really hot and sunny, so we used a break in the climbing to go to the shops and get some sun cream and a hat.

It was a long wait for the final, but it eventually came. We were called into isolation in the Quay climbing centre so we couldn’t see the route setting for the final. We were in isolation for quite a while and spent the time warming up.

We were all called out and taken on a boat ride where we could read the route for the final. It was the green – we had been climbing greens from the beginning of the competition. I thought I could top the route apart from one move in the middle where you had a long reach from a crimp to an undercut sloper.

I was called to climb third and took my position on the starting holds. When I started the climb I found the slopers at the start hard to hold but I managed to stick them. I next came onto the steepest part of the wall which had a sort of traverse across it. It was coming up to the hard move. I dropped from a crimp down to another crimp on the bottom of a volume. Next was the hard move – I pulled back and went for the undercut sloper. When I hit it I tried to move my feet across as that was the only way I was going to stick it but I couldn’t quite reach and I slipped off.

Initially, I was glad to have finished the final. But then I found out that I had come 4th and I think it was decided on time. I think I was 3 seconds behind the third place and 2 holds behind 1st place. The final was very close. Now I was feeling very disappointed because I was in second place after the semis. I will post the exact timings and scores when I get them.

Overall the competition was really good and I had a lot of fun on the climbs. I thought the routes were excellent. The crowd was amazing and I heard there were over 1000 spectators. I will definitely enter again next year.

All results can be found on this page: RESULTS

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