With six weeks off from school for the summer holidays I’ve had plenty of time for training, climbing outdoors and competing. Its been a fantastic summer for outdoor climbing throughout the country, we’ve had dry rock for the most of the season but thankfully Its not been too warm which has been great for getting on projects and having successful trips!
The weekend before the end of term, I was invited up to the Edinburgh international climbing arena at Ratho to demo the youth climbing series grand final, which is a role that we perform as members of the GB junior climbing team. I flew up with Molly Thompson-Smith and was warmly met by William Bosi and his family at the airport, who were kindly looking after us for the weekend. The next morning we set off to the wall to demo. Ratho is always an impressive venue and it was fantastic to see it filled with so many talented youth climbers, some as young as 8! On the sunday we decided to fit in a day at Dumbarton and set our sights on a classic 7c ‘omerta’. The climb is a 30 metre arrete which involves a variety of balancey and dynamic moves. Me and William tried the route first and quickly got all the moves dialled, it was interesting how different his sequence was to mine! We rested for a while and then I went for the send and I got past the hard moves and clipped the chains, William was next quickly followed by Molly and Angus, getting a team send of the route!
The holiday started with a trip down to dorset with Timo Zheng to do some sport climbing. I always enjoy climbing in dorset because its such a nice feeling climbing with the sea behind you and enjoying the views, although it can get a bit nippy! we had a good evening at the cuttings where Timo got a quick ascent of the three star ‘Hall of mirrors’ 7c. The next day we headed down to Battleship for the first time. We warmed up on ‘buoys will be buoys’ then ‘pump hitler’ which were both top 50 routes with amazing climbing on them. The goal of the day was to climb the classic ‘Zinc oxide mountain’ 7b+ which is a cool line going up through the different bands of rock with a variety of different climbing styles and millions of years of history! The bottom of the route climbs on some bad undercuts and crimps then the top bulge becomes great moves on pockets and sidepull cracks, so you get the full package! I managed to onsight it! Then I decided to try something harder so got on ‘shapeshifter’ 7c with no expectations and managed to onsight that too which was a great end too the day for me as it was my first 7c onsight.
August bank holiday weekend my dad drove me up to sheffield for GB junior lead team training, in preparation for the upcoming Lead world youth championships in New Caledonia. The first day started at the Climbing works where we did some endurance training, climbing every bloc in a 40 bloc circuit on the minute, followed by some core and upper body exercises. The next day it was great to get back to Awesome Walls, Sheffield. We all had fun trying the hard routes in a comp style format. It was fantastic to see everyone achieving 8a and 8a+ flashes! Its always great being able to train on such a steep and tall wall, as it compares well to the walls we encounter in the international competitions. On the sunday we climbed at the foundry which is probably one of my favourite walls, we did a similar activity to the day before, trying to flash the hard routes, and we all did really well considering it was our third day of hard training! It was a really worthwhile weekend with Ian and the team and everyone is looking well prepared for the worlds!
On the monday I was hoping to get to Rubicon to get back on ‘Zeke the freke’ but due to the bad weather I went to Raven Tor with Pete Dawson and we had a look at Jerry Moffats’ classic ‘Revelations’. Having spent the last few months thinking that ‘Zeke’ was going to be my project, I seem to have changed my mind! Revelations is a much nicer route to climb, and has a lot of history to it. I went back a few weeks later with Jack and Ed, and with some new beta, got very close to the crux move. I have really enjoyed trying it over the last weeks, I just need to go back to finish it off!
The grand finale to the holidays was the amazing deep water solo comp at The Quay in Exeter. It was a really well run competition and clearly took a long time in the planning as everything ran so smoothly. The Blokfest team and Ben West did a fantastic job of the setting with a perfect split throughout the results! The comp was on a 7 metre wall floating on a barge in the quay and competitors were brought out by boat to climb 3 qualifiers. The top climbers in each category made it to the semis the following day then the finals in the evening. I was happy to qualify for the finals in 1st place topping 2 of my 3 routes and taking a splash down on the last move of the third. The finals on sunday afternoon were routes from bottom corner of the wall to the top opposite corner and it was quite different doing observation from a boat!
I was out climbing last in a tough category of very strong U16 boys. The atmosphere was amazing, with fantastic support from an enormous crowd, by far the largest I’ve seen at a competition. I realised I had won when the volume got louder from the crowd but I wasn’t able to get any further as I didn’t spot a heel hook on a volume so took the plunge into the water 4 moves from the end. It was awesome to watch the men and women’s finals and Michaela Tracy put in an amazing effort nearly topping her route as did Liam Halsey in the mens who both won there categories.
Thanks David Simmonite for the photo!
The following day I went down to Berry Head with Gav Symmonds, Gaz parry and Mike Goldthorp to do some more deep water soloing. We started of on ‘Rainbow bridge’ which is an amazing traverse along the face. Once we reached the end of the traverse Gav told me we were now going straight onto a 7c extension to the traverse… Pumped out my mind from over gripping on the 7a I had just done I didn’t feel quite ready for this! But Gav and Gaz had set off on the climb so I had no choice but to follow. They had both climbed round the corner into the rest so it was great to have the deep water soloing legend Mike robertson giving me beta from the boat behind me as I would have been stuffed otherwise! I reached the rest with the two others and we kept going along the traverse on amazing but slightly wet climbing, I was terrified but having an amazing time and I was relieved to reach the in situ rope which is used to climb between two faces of a cave. From here it was “just a 7a” Gav said, but I got a bit of a shock when I was horizontal in a roof with my feet left way too far behind. I cut loose on the jug and surprised Gav as my legs came wanging out past the lip of the roof, and they were all that he could see of me! I somehow held the swing and topped out the climb with my forearms double the size they were when I started!
My whole summer was capped of with my first ever multipitch at Berry Head which I seconded after Lucy Creamer on the route from “Classic Rock” ‘Dreadnaught’ E3. This was a great experience climbing high above the water on the three pitch route and I really enjoyed learning the process of It: Lucy was a fantastic and patient tutor. I was most scared about not dropping any gear and it was all going well until I dropped the very last piece, Doh!
I hope everyone else had a great summer holiday, I’m super Psyched for the worlds next week!