Day One – Traveling
I had to wake up early on Thursday to drive to Luton Airport to fly to Zurich for the Youth Colour Climbing competition on the weekend. When we got close to the airport, we Face-timed my coach Simon Rawlinson who was driving up with my friend Gwen and her parents. We tried to see if we could spot their car but they were 5 minutes behind us.
When we arrived at Luton airport we checked in our big bag but then found out that we were not EasyJet speedy boarders so we couldn’t have 2 hand luggage bags on the plane. This meant we had six extra bag but they allowed us to check in the extra hand luggage for free anyway.
The flight to Zurich was fine and we met up with Gwen and Simon in Zurich airport and got our hire cars and drove to Imst. When we arrived at the apartment we dumped our bags and drove straight to the climbing centre. The centre was closed, so we went down to the outside wall to look at the routes. The wall looked amazing even though I had already been there before but I couldn’t tell which routes were for the comp.
Day Two – Imst
After a lie in on Friday, we had a quick breakfast and got our bags ready and walked down to the climbing centre. It took us a while from Tarrenz and it was really hot so we had dip in the fountain to cool down.
We went down to the indoor climbing arena and warmed up before getting on an easy route. I tried a long blue which finished along the roof. I misjudged the route, it was harder than I thought. I really enjoyed it because there was a lot of heel hooks and because it was mostly upside down. After a few other climbs I tried a yellow 7b+. The route was mostly as I expected but some of the holds were worse than I thought they would be. The start of the route was certainly the hardest because the holds were really shallow and it was hard to find decent positions to clip. It got easier as I got further up the route but I was too pumped to finish the top. I was a bit disappointed after this route because I thought I could flash it. We ended the session and the day by doing one last climb on the big overhang with the GoPro on my back to video the whole centre as I climbed up.
Day Three – First day of YCCF
We drove down to the centre early and went straight down to look at the routes. I didn’t have very long to look at my first route because I had to go and warm up before the routes were demoed at 8:45. I did two laps of the football field and then laps of the traverse wall starting from the vertical well, getting more overhanging as I got warmer.
|Route 1 – Grey|
I did some mobility with Ian and then Simon made some sequences up for me on the woody. I felt confident after this but then felt more nervous after properly reading my first route. I watched the demos of all the routes as they were all demoed at the same time. But then focused all my effort on Route 1 – Grey.
It started to look easier as I watched other people climb it and a lot of the holds looked better than when I first read it. After climber 129 had climbed I went up the hill with Simon and did a warm up. Simon made up some boulder problems for me to try like he did earlier. I though my warm up was really good. It made me feel more confident because I was really nervous about this route because it was my first one.
When I walked back down the hill to my climb I put my harness and chalk bag on and took my shoes over to the route. I sat in the chair while climber 137 was climbing and tied in. When it was my turn I was very, very nervous and felt like crying at the bottom of the route. I pulled on to the tufas and found them a lot easier that I thought and I did the first four clips pretty easily. The next three clips before the overhang were harder than the first ones even though there a big sloper in the middle. The roof part had a few bad holds towards the start, but I did them slowly and carefully and did it fine. Then I did the last three moves, which were all jugs, really easily. I was really happy to have topped my first route and it gave me confidence for the next one.
|Route 6 – Yellow|
I had a long break in between each route which was enough time to read them well. My next climb was route 6 – yellow. It had a big banana sloper 3 clips up which I didn’t like the look of but I was confident I could do it. I warmed up again for this route – this time by myself and then came down for the route. I was less nervous for this route because I had already topped one and I was in a good mood. I started the route well and climbed efficiently until I got to the sloper where I struggled for a while because I couldn’t figure out a way to hold the sloper without feeling like I was going to slip off. I managed to do it eventually by moving my knot over the sloper to stop it pushing me out and getting caught as I rocked over and I got a better feel on the sloper which made me confident about doing the move. I was a bit shaken up after this and was a bit worried about the 4 min time limit so I powered through all the mini slopers up until the roof. I then slowed down for the roof part because it was more difficult and I didn’t want to make a mistake. After clipping the first clip in the roof, I was quite pumped but determined to top it. I matched the bottom half of the jug and went right handed to the top of it. I then clipped before moving out to the last few holds before the jug. Feeling pumped at the top hold I jumped and caught it, cutting loose before pulling my feet in and making the clip. I was really, really please to top the route and had already beat my last years score as I only topped one route last year.
|Route 5 – Blue|
I started to read my third route straight away which was route 5 – blue. It looked much harder than the first two but I still thought that I could top it. The flat part of the blue route looked difficult as there were only small edges and some of the looked pretty bad. I made a good start to this route and all the holds were pretty decent. As I moved up the route the hold were still decent, they were just small but the moves were quite big. I complete the flat part of the climb without too much trouble and go onto the roof. The holds on the roof were deeper than I expected and I did the first two clips in the roof OK, but I was very pumped for the last one. I only just made the second last move almost falling off with pump – I was really happy. I made a big leap for the final move as I knew I couldn’t have reached it but I was too pumped to hold it so I came off. I was really, really disappointed after this because I was so close to topping the route and went to have 5 minutes in the shade by Oscar. Ian came to talk to me and explained that I only had to make up 2 points to be in the lead which made me happier. So I went to read my next climb.
|Route 4 – Purple|
My next climb was route 4 – purple. It looked the hardest route so far as it had a lot of long moves and the route was quite long. It also looked quite pumpy. So I read this route well and had a look through my binoculars at the holds.
I was quite nervous before I started the route. But I was less nervous when I pulled on. When I got to
the third clip I went for a really bad hold and couldn’t hold it but I only just managed to hold on with my other hand. I got scared after this but I climbed all the way to the third to last clip easy and clipped it. At this point I was very pumped and the last few holds weren’t very good so I tried to clip but I didn’t have enough energy so I did one more move to the pinch and tried to go to the second top but I couldn’t. I messed around trying to do it. Then I heard something like ‘Emily climbing’ but I ignored it and carried on climbing. But about 5 seconds after I fell off.
I was disappointed after this route because I really wanted to top it. When I went to read my next route it started to rain so I put my coat on and my family took the bags to the car. I liked the look of the yellow even though it looked really pumpy.
|Route 3 – Yellow|
I stood under the umbrellas out of the rain before it was my turn. I had to push though the big crowd to get to the char before I tied in. For the first part of the climb I climbed slightly upset but didn’t find it that hard. I got 5 holds from the top and started to feel the pump. I was going to try and clip but I new I wouldn’t make it so I tried to get the next hold but I didn’t even get close so I fell off.
After I came down I was again disappointed but I just wanted to read my next route and climb it.
My final route of the day was route 2 – blue. My GB team mate Hamish had already climbed this route and topped it so I asked him about it. He gave me some great pointers which really helped my confidence for this route.
|Route 2 – Blue|
I was feeling ready for this route, and the most confident I had felt on any of the routes although I was still a bit nervous.
Excited I started the route. I was surprised at how much easier the start was than was than I had thought and my Dad said I looked good climbing it. When the route started to get steeper the holds for two clips were the same, good jugs. I was enjoying the route. The next part of the route was the hardest part because it was about balance. I did it exactly as I planned and it worked really well. The next hold was the one on the volume which Hamish had said wasn’t very good. He was right! I didn’t like it either but I managed to clip from it as he had done as well. I move on to the large jug and it was very good. I clipped from this hold and quickly moved on to avoid lots of pump. The rest of the holds were decent. When I got to the second last move I jumped and caught the jug I then did the last move and clipped.
I was very happy after this and also tired so we went back to our apartment after my brother had finished climbing.
Day Four – Second day of YCCF
I woke up later than yesterday today but still got to the centre on time. Instead of looking at the routes first I went straight down to the footy pitch and did my 2 laps with my brother Oscar. We then went over to the indoor wall and started traversing. I did a lot of overhanging stuff.
|Route 7 – Red|
After warming up I dumped my stuff off by the shade and walked down the hill to the routes. While I was reading the first route they announced that we were only climbing two routes instead of three. I was happy about this because I was quite tired and I can focus more on two routes than three.
I read my first route with Ian while watching the demo’s. It was route 7 – red it looked harder than the routes the day before but it did look my style of route.
After climber 128 I went upstairs to warm up. I felt excited and scared but I thought the route looked really fun.
Once I had sat in the chair and tied in I put my shoes on and walked over to the bottom of the wall. I grabbed the start holds and pulled on. I climbed through the flat part of the route slowly and got onto the roof. I was quite pumped on the roof but I managed to clip the first clip. I was then too pumped to clip so I tried to do one more move but I fell.
|Route 8 – Green|
I thought I did ok on that route, even though I was a bit disappointed because I didn’t top it. Simon and Ian both said I should focus on the next route. So after some popcorn I read my next route, route 8 – green. This route looked harder than the red and it finished one clip onto the massive roof. I read this one with Ian as well. The only part I didn’t like was the big slopers but apart from that the holds looked ok. I kept eating and drinking whilst I looked at the route until I thought I had read it enough.
I did the same warm up as last climb and felt good about it. I was really nervous but also bouncy as I really wanted to get onto and do it. So I tied in as soon as 137 had gone.
I chalked up and started the route well it was fine up until the first and biggest sloper. I had to do this part very slow but I managed to get past it without feeling as uncomfortable as I thought I would. This made me feel relieved so I finished the flat part of the route fine mainly because most of the holds were crimps! On the roof I did an awkward clip which used a lot of energy so I was very pumped. I couldn’t get the third clip in the roof in so I tried to get the next hold but was too pumped to hold it as usual.
I ran up the hill after this as I was so annoyed with my performance. I packed everything up and sat under the shade. Ian and Simon came to speak to me and stopped me being as upset so that I could watch Hamish on his last route.
While I was waiting for the results we caught lizards and tried to find the fattest one. We found one which was quick fat and named him Greg/godzilla.
When the results finally came out I had managed to come 5th. I was very disappointed with this.
It was great comp and despite my disappointment I really enjoyed it. I learnt so much and it was amazing to have my coaches and friends there to help me out and cheer me on.
Thank you to Ian Dunn and Simon Rawlinson for all their help and support over the weekend!
|Close to the podium|