On Thursday we drove down to Exeter for the DWS competition at the Quay. We stayed in the Premier Inn next to the station and brought our bike so that we could cycle along the river to the quay.
There was a La Sportiva boot demo at the quay climbing centre where we tried on some different La Sportive shoes. It was quite late after the boot demo so we went back to the hotel.
The competition didn’t start until 3pm on Friday so we had a late breakfast and cycled down to the quay. We were there quite early so I read the routes for a while until the first person start climbing. I was number 33, so was 33rd up. I went to warm up in the Quay climbing centre when the first person started. I then went back out to watch some of the other climbers. Everyone seem to be doing quite well on the routes so I wasn’t as nervous. A couple of climbers before I had to get on my boat, I went to top up my warm-up as there was no warm up wall on the barge – except for two finger boards.
I was nervous going across on the boat but excited to try the routes. On the barge I got my stuff ready and waited for my turn. I stepped out onto the wall and started on Mick’s whistle. The route was all jugs and quite easy it gave me a lot of confidence topping it.
I had 6 mins before my second route so I kept warm and jumped around. I was most nevous about this route because it had an Entre-Prise swinging volume in the middle – the wrecking ball! Some of the girls who had topped it told me that they missed the ball out so I was a bit stuck on what to do.
When I climbed out I was excited to try it. I started climbing and did the moves to the wrecking ball easy it was all jugs when I got to the ball I matched the right jug and reached Under the ball and up to a jug. The route was harder from here. The holds got worse but I managed to hold them to get to the top! I was so happy to top out on my second route because I knew I wouldn’t have to climb wet!
I got my towel ready before I went out for my last route as even if you top out you have to jump in! This route was definitely the hardest. The first part was the easiest and I got to the to flying saucer holds fine. I then went to the volume which was better than I thought so I lent off the volume and got the sloper which I held again better than I had thought. But the next hold was really bad and I couldn’t hold it so I had to match the crimp next to it and go out to the side pulls. They were both good and I held them enough to get the top. I was very happy to top all blocs. I took my chalk bag and headband off and gave them to Simon who was taking photos at the top of the wall so they stayed dry.
I was very happy after I came back on the boat because I knew I had qualified for the semi-finals. So I went straight over to the showers. Later on I found out that 16 girls had topped all routes and qualified for the semis in joint first place. I was up fourth in the running order for the semis at 8:55am on Sunday!
It was about 7pm so we went in to the Quay Climbing Centre for some food. The moroccan chicken was really nice. We went downstairs to listen to Dave Bowes (member of GB paraclimbing team) talk. It was really interesting to hear his story and how he is using climbing to promote the Headway charity. We then watched the climbing film Redemption: The James Pearson Story. After the film had finished we cycled back to the hotel.
Saturday was the seniors turn to qualify and was a day off for the juniors. So we cycled into Exeter city centre before going down to the Quay to watch the seniors qualify. I watched the Boulders climbers qualify and they did very well both qualifying for the semis. We left early so that I could get an early night before the semis which started early in the morning.
We got up really early and bought a McDonalds breakfast on the way to the Quay. We got there for 7am so that I had plenty of time to read the routes. I was a little worried about the top move on the first climb, the top section on the second climb and the two slopers after the lip on the third. It was raining while I was reading the routes, but it stopped just as I was about to do the semis. I warmed up for the same amount of time as I did for the qualifiers and I was feeling good when I went across onto the barge. I knew when I had to climb because I was always after Gwyneth.
I really wanted to stay dry for the second climb so I really wanted to top out. I found the start of the climb ok and passed it quickly. I thought the move over the lip was hard and I didn’t like the top move because the hold was sloping and the move was long. It was a good pocket at the top though so I managed to get it and top out. Like the qualifiers this put me in a good mood for the next climb.
I was glad there was no wrecking ball this time but I had forgot what the route looked like and I was worried I would mess up. When I climbed out I could see all of the under section so I remembered that part quickly. It was an easy start again. The top part was ok until the last move where I had to swap my feet. I didn’t want to jump swap them incase I slipped so I down climbed a bit and swapped so I could go for the top easily. I was again received that I was dry for the last route.
The last route looked by far the hardest but the easiest to read. I knew what I had to do I just had do it. I was nervous about a lot of the slopers but there was no way of avoiding them. I stepped out feeling excited. The start had some nice crimps and a positive sloper the big hold in the roof was good and so was the small crimp over passed the overhang. I held this and went to the sloper and then over the top to the other sloper which was bad, I matched it and got the horn and it was ok. Next was the 2 slopers but one had a crimp on the side for your thumb which I liked. I went again the the 2 crimps which I loved and fiddled around my feet before pushing slowly over to the top hold which was not very deep. I matched it and got the nod from Mick.
I was really please to have topped all the climbs in the semis and was very excited to be through to the final. I watched some of my friends in the semis before heading back to the hotel for a shower and to dry out my shoes.
I got soaked cycling back to down to the quay because it was raining quite heavily by then. In fact the rain was so bad that they closed the wall for around 45 min. So we managed to get down in time to watch Ros in her semis. Ros did very well in the semis qualifying in second place.
The briefing for the final was at 4pm and they told us the format of the final. The final was a speed competition. Every climber had to climb their category’s route as fast as they could and the timer would stop once you rang a bell at the top of the route. The fastest 3 climbers went through to a super final which was a repeat of the same route without the final hold so you had to jump for the bell and fall in the water.
After the briefing we had to go straight into isolation in the Quay Climbing Centre. I didn’t warm up properly in isolation because I thought that we would go out to read the routes then go to the boats one at a time. But this year everyone went onto the barge at the same time and the competitors went out on to the wall one by one. When they said we only had 5min before going onto the barge I did the worlds quickest warm-up and went out to read my route.
When I read the route I read that there was two ways of doing it. The way I planned to use was to go up the jugs to a volume, hold the middle of the volume and then follow the jugs to the top.
We went straight onto the barge after reading the routes and the first climber started. By the time it was my turn the fastest time was 32 seconds. I knew that I would make the super final if I beat this time. Before I went out I asked everyone how it was and how holding the volume was because when I was route reading the volume didn’t look very good. They told me that you don’t have to use the volume and you could go up and around it. When I went out I followed the holds and got over the roof quite quickly. I then did as everyone else had done and went up, down and across to the top. I managed to do it in 30 seconds. I looked at the clock as soon as I hit the bell and was very pleased to have made the super final. I topped out and went back down behind the wall.
The super finals started straight after the boys final. I was up last again as I had the fastest time in the final. Once the other two girls had climbed the time I had to beat was 25 seconds. I started really fast but knew they had changed the route slightly as they told us before they started. So as soon as I got past the roof I was looking for the bell. I was so stressed about finding the bell I slowed down at the top and as soon as I saw the bell in the same place I was really annoyed. I then sped up loads and jumped from the second top to the bell noticing that the top hold was gone and that was the only change. When I jumped for the bell I had to fall once I had hit it. As I fell I saw the time 23 seconds. I was very pleased. I had won the under 16 female category in DWS 2015!
I was very excited after this but before I had a shower I stayed to watch Ros in the finals. She did really well and got through to the super final. In the super final she managed to come second behind Emma Twyford.
The competition was one of the best organised of any I had been. Despite the rain break it finished on time. The routes were set really well and they managed to split everyone in the end. It was great to have the two commentators back again because they kept everyone interested in the event and make it more fun. I look forward to DWS 2016!
Video of my climbs: