British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCC) Sheffield 2014

British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCC) Sheffield 2014









Second place.

I went to Sheffield on Thursday 2nd October to compete in the BLCCs on Saturday and the BSCCs on Sunday. We stayed in the Premier Inn overnight as usual and on Friday had a lie in before going to Awesome Walls to have a look at the route setting and have a quick climb.

When we went into the centre the walls weren’t as high as I remembered and the competition wall wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. Most of the centre was unavailable as the route setting was all going on in the main area. There was another section roped off for the paraclimbing as well.

I had a few climbings and tried the artificial rock wall which was really reachy (and fun!). I tried a couple of bouldering problems before leaving the centre.

In the afternoon we went into the centre of Sheffield and saw Jessica Ennis’s  golden postbox. I climbed on top of it and had a photo.

On the morning of the competition I got up early and had breakfast in the hotel and went to Awesome Walls to register for the competition. My dad registered me in his name so I had to explain to Rob and scribble it out.

Once I had registered we found a base for our stuff and I got a vest. The vest was too big so my mum pinned it up.

Next I looked to see what my qualifiers would be and the first one was the easiest green in the whole of the competition. I looked for the second qualifier but I couldn’t find it, I asked one of the BMC guys where it was and they said that it would be up after we had finished our first qualifier.

I was 12th to climb on the first route. I wasn’t pleased about this because it would take a long time for my turn to come and I would get very nervous. On the other hand I knew that on my second qualifier I would be higher up the running order.

After watching all the people in front of me, they had all topped it! That made me feel more nervous because I would look stupid if I didn’t top it! I put my chalk bag and shoes on and tied into the bucket of rope.

The start of the climb was simple up until the black strip. Then it started to get harder – there were more slopers and all the holds got worse. The sequence was weird but I had read it well. I managed to get over the black strip and to the second sloper. They weren’t as bad as I thought, but hard to move off. The next part of the climb was on a corner and was much easier than the slopers. I reached the top two panels and improvised the top because one of the holds was not as good as I thought. After I got past this part the top move was easy. I was really nervous throughout the whole of this climb and was hoping to be less nervous on the next qualifier.

When I got down I took my chalk bag and shoes off and found out that my second qualifier was the girls B first qualifier. I was happy about this as it looked a fun route but there were a couple of holds which didn’t look good.

I was third in the running order for the second qualifier. I was much happier about being third as I would get the climb over with and watch everyone else. I chatted to my friend Caitrin from girls B who had already topped the pink to get some beta about the holds.

My turn came around quickly but I climbed quite slowly. The route was OK up to the mini roof and then got more difficult because the holds got worse as I was going over the lip. I managed to hold on to the sloper, clip off it and then move on. The next section was reachy, but the holds were OK. The last part was reach and the hold were not great. I didn’t realise that I was as tall as I was so part of my route read didn’t work so I had to go to plan B which was to climb down a bit and go the other way. This worked and I managed to get to the second last hold. This hold was good at the top but got worse as you went across. I held the top bit and rocked over to the top. The top hold was amazing and I clipped the lower off.

I was very happy to have topped both climbs and was definitely in the final with Martha who had also topped both climbs.

We watched the rest of the climbers and then went out for lunch. When we got back the paraclimbing had started. It was amazing to see that blind people could climb really hard routes without even knowing what the holds look like and that some people could climb with just one arm or just one leg.

Isolation closed at 3:30 and I went in at 3:28 because I don’t like isolation and competitions always seem to run late. I did some bouldering in isolation to keep warm, When we were called to read our routes I had guessed that the orange would be ours and was pleased it was this route. After reading the route we went back to isolation and I was third in the running order.

When I came out I was a bit nervous but excited. The first part of the route was mostly decent slopers – I managed to do this part and move onto the crimps. I am really good at crimps so I managed to do this part pretty easily. There was a biggish sloper which was better than I thought and I managed to hold it. Next there were two transformers and I held these well because I had come across them before. The next move was a big move to the gigiantic sloper that looked rubbish. When I got to it it was definitely as bad, if not worse, than I expected. I held it and moved off to the crimp which was much better. The next hold was a crimp before another gigantic sloper. I couldn’t quite reach the sloper without being unbalanced so I took my time and made sure I got it slowly. I got it, moved to the next crimp, clipped off that and rocked over to the finish hold. I was really pleased to have done it and was wondering how the other girls got on.

I found out that Kitty had also topped it and watched the other girls climb to find that Pippa also topped it. My mum went down to ask Rob if we were going to be split on time or a super final because countbacks were not an option. All three of us had topped out everything.  I was hoping for a super final because I knew Kitty was a faster climber than me. I was really upset when I found it was decided on time because I knew Kitty had beaten me. When I looked at the scores I was second.

In future, the route setters must set the routes hard enough for the C girls because no competition final should have more than one person top it. I am hoping to be challenged like the youth C boys are.

It was a while before the podium but I eventually got my prize. I received a DMM rope bag and a weeks free pass for Awesome Walls and I got a plate for second place.

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