This winter has been all about training for me with a few ‘firsts’ along the way. Training wise I have been very successful; 1-5-9 on small rungs is feeling easier each session, my endurance feels a lot better and I just feel a lot stronger in general, so now all I have to do now is get outdoors to complete some goals and enter some comps to see if I notice a difference under pressure. Earlier this year I spent a day at Anstey’s Cove trying ‘La Crème Direct’ (“hard F8a”) and left having done my first trad route which was ‘Cream Topping’ (E6 6a). Then I came very close (probably too close too get and not do) to ‘Bristol Weeds’ (F8a+) at Cheddar Gorge and now I’m trying to do ‘Ken’s Problem’ (V12).
On Saturday 16th February was the first round of the BMC Youth Climbing Series at The Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter. Everybody did the first route with ease which was around F5+/6a, most did the second at around F7a+ and then we moved onto the boulders. Several people managed to flash the first problem which was graded V5, 4 people flashed the second at V6 and nobody managed the final problem which was supposed to be V8! On equal points with three other competitors it was all down to the last route… not sure what grade this got but I think it was ~F8a. I was the first of the equal three to go first, feeling rather tired and hungry I started up the route and before I knew it I was midway up the route and at an okay two finger pocket rest. Feeling super pumped I entered the roof section and managed to pull through to a big hold where I wasn’t able to get anything back to go for the final section so I just went for it with a bit of grunting, I dropped the knee, hit the sloper, got a really high heel, hit the crimp then another poor sloper, pulled back to go again for the final hold and then by pulling back I didn’t have enough to go again for the final jug! I went for it and I was out of there! Feeling very annoyed with myself I anxiously waited for the next competitors to get on route. Around 20/30 minutes later I found out that I reached the furthest point on the route and I had won. The Dartrock Team members climbed really well and fellow team member Tom Wright won second place.
Sunday 17th I had a few attempts on ‘Bristol Weeds’ (F8a+) where I came very close but as we arrived at the Remnant quite late so I ran out of time and it got dark. Monday 18th and I had a rest day where I played on some slabs at Anstey’s Cove where I did an awesome groove into overhang called ‘Cocytus more Steam Connection’ (F7a). Tuesday 19th and I was back at Anstey’s to try ‘Ken’s Problem’ (V12). I arrived at the problem not knowing what to really expect and at the start of the session I couldn’t manage one move, then slowly I learnt more and more moves and now I am falling from what I believe is the last hard move. I am returning tomorrow (Thursday 21st) to have try and finish it off.