Day 1 – The Journey
On Wednesday 25th my family and I started a 14 hour car journey to a small town in Austria called Imst. The reason we were all going was because the first weekend I was competing in my first ever EYC (European youth cup) for leading. We decided to stay out for the week because the following weekend my little brother was competing in a different competition, The Youth Color Climbing Festival at the same place.
The journey wasn’t as bad as it sounds as my brothers and I slept while my parents drove. The only down side was that Germany had a lot of traffic and no free mobile data roaming (😠) resulting in us arriving 2 hours later and a grumpy me!
After arriving in the late afternoon on Thursday I decided to stay with my family for the first night and meet the GB climbing team in their hotel the next day.
Day 2 – The Alpine Rollercoaster!
I met up with the team at 10 at their hotel. The rooms were massive! It had a good sized bedroom with two single beds joined. We also had a really nice large bathroom with a living room next door.
I had all you can eat breakfast before taking a team trip to the local supermarket to buy food for the competition day. I bought rice crackers, Kitkats, bananas, bread and banana flavoured milk.
When I arrived back at the hotel I realised Kitty had the key so Pippa let me use her fridge.
We had a short walk into town but the highlight of the day was definitely the Alpine Roller Coaster! I remembered it from the previous year and it was amazing! First you drive up a long road up the side of a mountain and there is a park and various activities to do. Then you get the chair lift further up the mountain to the top of the track. It is a bit different to your usual roller coaster because you sit in your own car and control you own speed. It is amazing until you get stuck behind some old slow people at the front which is what happened to us when we went on it. On several occasions we ended up in a large queue. But it was still really fun.
We ate at the hotel that night before going to bed early for the competition.
Day 3 – The Comp!
I got up at 6am and I went to breakfast at 7. It was all you can eat again but two croissants was enough for me.
Ian said we needed to get to the wall by 7:30 so we were in the cars by 7, and I was nervous by this point. The night before I checked the running order and I was up 27th so I had a while to read the route before warming up. I was happy about this because I knew for the second route I would be up towards the start.
My first route was a black which went just into the roof. It looked do-able but pumpy. I spent a while warming up in the inside wall as it relaxes me because I have something to concentrate on. I thought the bouldering problems I warmed up on we’re really fun and they put my mind in a good place for the route.
After warming up I was psyched to climb and wanted to get it over with. Sitting in the chair and tying in has got to be the worst part of the comp because it is so nerve racking. The climber just before me had topped it so I felt the pressure even more. I pulled on the starting slopers and they weren’t as bad as they looked. There were a few of these over the first section of the route but I found them okay and got to the big undercuts which were good but not as amazing as they looked. I did a double clip from them and moved on to the two mini jugs next to a large black volume with another small jug on it. This was a good resting spot but I didn’t spend long there I just moved on quickly. I regret this now! I was pumped but I fought through the slopers and got another 2 clips just missing the hold by the next clip because of pump. When I came down I wasn’t completely happy as I could have got further if I had rested longer but I got to the average place which put me in jointed 8th with 9 people for this route.
My next qualifier was the yellow on the right of the wall with all the pinches. I had a while before the climbers on the first route had finished and so the obvious thing to do would be to route read the second route but they didn’t announce it until route one was over leaving me with less time than anyone else to read it as I was up 5th. I didn’t mind to much though because I didn’t have much time to think about it. I just warmed up and watched the other girls. My dad and brothers came down to the wall to watch me and I am so glad they did because I forgot my liquid chalk and if I didn’t have it I would have been so nervous! But my brother ran to get it for me as he knew I’d do the same for him. He passed it to me while I was tying in and sitting on the chair waiting to climb.
I was confident that I could do enough for finals. I looked for the judges go ahead and then pulled on. The start was easyish with some nice big pinches and a few crimps. I worked my way through the section not knowing that I was climbing really fast again and not taking time to shake out. I got the the middle section and really enjoyed it as it had lots of crimps and fun moves. I should have rested on a really incut crimp because I ended up wasting loads of energy clipping from a bad sloper! The next move was to the volume where I held a big undercut and moved over the volume. After this I did a horrible move to a big sloper on the last volume very close to the top and I got it, I threw for the undercut around the side and then up for some disgusting slopers which I shook on quickly before going out for the next pinch which I didn’t quite hold and fell off.
I was disappointed and hoped I could scrape into finals. But now I could relax and wait for the results. I didn’t end up doing that though, my dad worked out who had to fall of where in order for me to get through. It was very stressful!
In the end I watched the last person I needed to fall off fall off and knew I was in! I was so happy but wanted to get official results before I told anyone!
Soon after this the comp finished and the official results were up. I was through in joint 9th! The other team GB members who made it to were, Hamish boys B (also his first EYC) , Molly girls Junior and William boys Junior. The two youngest and two oldest competitors!
We then went back to our cars and my car were waiting for ages for Ian. But when we went down to check what he was doing he was sorting an appeal against me. One of the other competitors appealed me into 10th which was still in finals but officially last! I didn’t mind all that much though.
We went back to the hotel for a while, and then to the pizza place down the road. It was so nice. Hamish and I had an early start again because the Youth B finals were first at 8 o’clock.
Day 4 – the final!
Got up at 6:15 and needed to take all my bags as we wouldn’t be back to the hotel in time to checkout later. I met Hamish and Ian down at breakfast at 7 and we drove down to the wall for 7:30.
I was really excited to see the routes but we had to go straight to isolation. But from the top of the hill all I could see was giant blue and yellow blobs!
I got a new number at the desk still 27 but not as a scrumpled as the first one. I decided to keep it as a souvenir. There was a table with a massive barrel of celebration chocolates which I got very excited about and also some water and energy bars.
We started warming up straight away and I felt good. It was nice to have Hamish to talk to and we weren’t competing against each other too!
Soon Molly and William arrived and Ellie (GB team coach). I want to thank Ellie because she helped me warm up when she came and I think it really helped.
We walked down for viewing at 8:45 and up close as well as a far all I could see well big holds and volumes! It was amazing and it looked so fun. Another thank you to Molly for helping me with the route read and going through the moves with me. It made a big difference. I felt my route read went well and I knew what to do. So after the 6 mins was up I got my bag and went straight around the back of the wall to tie in. It was cold back there and I was nervous getting everything ready.
It was a while before they let me out and I was so nervous when they did. Honestly, I thought I was going to cry, but I held it together mostly. I got out and I didn’t know whether to start or wait because nobody told me but the youth B boy was already on so I got on too.
The start section of the final was very slopey and probably the hardest part. I went quickly and I wasn’t really aware of what was happening so I hardly remember it. I was on the middle section soon enough and I didn’t take any rests on the better holds which I again regret now. I just powered through clipping then going. Until, I reached two slopers which I hated but were new and at their most grippy stage. I pulled in to clip and got it in. I then moved on to two big pinches and then onto some nice crimps. I clipped again and went for a good volume and my foot was to low and it slipped off! I wasn’t aware of this at the time but after watching the video it was clear.
At first I was disappointed but after speaking to Ian and my family I started to see that I had done really well for my first EYC. I watched our other finalists with the team under a big tarpaulin. Credits to Duncan (Kitty’s dad) for making an awesome shelter.
At the end of the finals I got my stuff out of the hire car and went back to the campsite with my family.
Overall I was pleased with my performance under the pressure and I’m happy with my first EYC result. A big thanks to all the GB team coaches and to Molly for helping me out. Thanks for the support from my family, especially to my parents for driving all the way down there and to my brothers for putting up with being pulled out to loads of climbing comps (although you did get to miss school and go to Austria this time!)!
A week later ……
My brother competed in the Imst Youth Color Climbing festival. He topped all 6 of his routes on the first day, qualifying in joint first place with 17 others. On the second day he competed in the final and finished 10th! Very Proud!