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The last month has been quite an interesting one; I had my first proper injury, went on an amazing GB team trip to Austria and climbed with Adam Ondra in the Peak District!

Luckily my injury, which was during PE at school wasn’t as bad as I first thought and turned out just to be sprained wrist. It did mean that I couldn’t climb for a few weeks and I missed out on demoing the regional final of the BMC YCS which was a shame as I was really looking forward to climbing the routes. A few weeks later of no climbing and lots of ibuprofen I started climbing again and soon felt confident to begin climbing some harder routes. This was good news because I was going to Austria for the GB junior lead team training weekend in the Tirol.

Our 4:30AM start meant that we were in Innsbruck with plenty of time to go climbing before the rest of the team turned up. We dropped of our bags at the really nice hotel and headed of to the Tivoli climbing wall. When I got to the wall I was blown away at how steep it was and the density of routes and holds in such a small space!

Austria was a great destination for our training event, because all of their walls are of such a high standard, with lots of routes in the 8′s and some in the 9′s. These are the sorts of grades that we are put up against in the international competitions so it was great to be able to spend some time trying them. We  travelled between the Tivoli wall and the Imst wall which is by far the coolest wall I have ever climbed on! A highlight of the trip was trying some of the senior world cup routes which I had watched live online a few months earlier. It was good to have almost all of the GB lead team out in Austria; there was a great atmosphere and lots of support for each other.

I had been looking forward to the following weekend even more than the team trip. At the start of the year I had been asked by one of my sponsors Lyon Equipment if I would like to take part in a promotional weekend… Climbing with Adam Ondra in the peak district!

jim and ondra

Of course I wasn’t going to say no. People always say you should never meet your heros but in this case they are wrong! It was amazing to be able to climb with Adam and see him try some of our hardest routes in the Peak. Watching somebody climb in real life is so much more inspiring than watching an edited film. From watching his films I assumed he was very angry when he fell off, but I realised that actually he is really passionate about what he is doing and is instantly back to his happy self. He was a genuinely nice person who was open and generous with his advice and encouragement. I feel very privileged to be a part of the Lyon team which gives me the opportunity to climb with the likes of Adam, Neil and Pietro at events like this one. Thanks to Paul, John, Corin and the rest of the team from Lyon Equipment for making it such a good weekend.

A short film from Lyon on Vimeo –  Adam Ondra visits the Peak District

Tivoli wall crammed with routes!

Tivoli wall crammed with routes!

The amazing Imst wall

The amazing Imst wall

 

Work experience and more!

So much has happened recently, Its time I wrote something about it!

I was really lucky to be able to do my work experience at The Castle Climbing Centre, my local wall and second home. I really enjoyed my two weeks there and it made me realise that I could actually work in the climbing industry long term. I learnt lots of skills, not just about climbing but about the huge amounts of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep the centre running. I loved every job they threw at me, even the filing! My favourite time was learning to route set with Mike, and then setting my first two routes. I much preferred route setting to the boulder setting that I did because I liked the process of doing the rope access work which was a whole new experience for me. An added bonus was that I got to meet Alex Jones who was preparing for her Sport Relief Climb on Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park. Thanks to everyone at the castle for having me! 

In the middle of my work experience I travelled up to Sheffield for the GB Junior Lead team training event at Awesome walls. We had the chance to on-sight some hard routes graded from 7c-8c then red point them the next day, I surprised myself by on-sighting an 8a+ on the comp wall which was my hardest indoor on-sight to date. It was great to be able to try such a wide variety of hard routes with the other team members all encouraging each other on. It was also interesting to hear from a sports psychologist, and nutritionist who was very happy to see I was munching on some flapjack and drinking chocolate milk- No seriously!! 

The following weekend I was back in Sheffield for The CWIF which is always good fun! I actually managed to climb more than half of the blocks this time coming in the top 100 beating one of my previous results of 169th :-) It was brilliant to see so many great international climbers competing in the competition. I also judged the semis and Male finals with Gav Symonds again this year; I had to pull Rustam Gelmanov off one of his attempts, Ive never been so scared in my life!

One sad thing that happened this month was the passing away of my great uncle John, I was very proud to have known him although I didn’t realise how much he had done in his life which was mentioned in his obituary. He lived in the Lake District and it was while visiting him there that I first started climbing outdoors. We travelled up to Eskdale and it was lovely to be in the valley again. There was a huge turnout for the funeral and I met Sir Chris Bonnington at the wake who was a really nice guy and very enthusiastic about young people climbing.

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On the way back from the Lakes I stopped of in Kendal just in time to have a go on Steve McClure’s Petzl super route for the competition at The Lakeland Climbing Centre. I scraped my way into third place after Ed Hamer and Neil Mawson and won fifty pounds!

The following day I went to The Boardroom in Queensferry with Leah, Liam and Tom. They have a really cool feature called the Psicoblock which is a massive over hanging wall above a thick foam mat. Its like deep water soloing but at a climbing wall! The whole wall had loads of features I had never seen before at any British climbing wall, and was well worth the journey. I would definitely recommend a visit!

Ive had a very fortunate few weeks, meeting some amazing people, and seeing some amazing places. Thanks for reading, Jim