Friday, 27 July 2012

Briancon LWC

As British leading champion I felt I ought to attend at least one of the rounds of the lead world cup. After a quick scan down the IFSC calendar and a bit of research I plucked for Briancon as it is one of the shorter walls on the tour and therefore must be better for a lost boulderer such as myself!

Post BBC’s I found my finger still sore and just over a week to do some emergency circuits, but also fit in as much route setting/coaching as possible as I was going to Europe for three weeks.

Qualifiers started early, the first climber starting at 8:30, thankfully I was out 24th on the first route giving me a little more time for some more coffee to kick in. The first route was definitely my style on small volumes slopers and pinches and I got pretty high falling of the same move as quite a few others leaving me in 14th on that route. 

The first route slopey pinches in a roof....heaven!
The 2nd route looked like it was going to hurt! A line of crimps up to the overhang then a powerful sequence through it. The crimps were smaller than they looked and I had to enter battle mode from the deck (normally reserved for at least 15 moves in!) I got through the bottom wall just, then could enter a more comfortable area of power moves (well for me anyhow) the pump was setting in and I fought through another 6 moves before failing on a long go again move.

bearing down on the 2nd qualifier
elbows about to go up.

Making semi finals had never even crossed my mind, but I finished in joint 21st and so got to come back the next day for another fight.

In semi finals you have 6 minutes observation time, then back to isolation and come out in reverse order of qualification. The route looked hard which was a good thing since I get pumped at the same height whatever the grade!
The bottom wall was much harder than it looked, as the moves didn’t quite flow, battling between positions. I pulled into the roof pumped out of my mind and thankfully found a knee bar rest where I could take both hands off and try to recover a little. 

After a while I decided I was about as recovered as I was going to get and quested across the powerful sequence across the roof where my pump soon returned with a vengeance I fell moving through the lip too pumped to think clearly and doing the move slightly wrong! I was still pumped an hour later!

A few people fell of just before me and most went only six moves further, which I found really encouraging that I was not too far away from making finals! I finished in 21st, a little disappointing as its always nice to go up a bit.

I will definitely be doing the lead at the world championships in Paris and maybe Kranj at the end of the year. I may even squeeze some proper training in before hand! 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

British Bouldering Champion

Well it finally happened! I am the 2012 British Bouldering Champion, after three years of being so close I was convinced that this one was my nemesis. This year seemed like no exception as I did my middle finger pulley three weeks before! I could climb on it but it would then swell lots and be useless the day after. So three weeks of antag work and occasional pull-ups would be my training for the BBC's.....I wasn't hopeful!
Qualifiers went ok considering the boards we covered in lines of crimps, thankfully nothing you had to really pull of though. And I qualified in joint 2nd for the finals, hoping for some more volumes and slopers.
 here is me on one of the qualifiers. photo Alex Messenger

I was happy to see that it mostly was during our observation period (you get 2minutes to look at each problem before the final starts) and although it took lots of goes, I managed to top all 4 problems (the only person to do the 2nd problem). Relief is most definitely the word!
Me celebrating topping out the 2nd boulder in the final. Photo Alex Messenger

More of Alex's photos here.

Ellie and I are now in Briancon, after having driving for what seemed like an age to get here. First stop is the Lead World Cup which is being held here on Friday and Saturday, followed by 2 weeks of climbing on the real stuff. Watch live at

Thursday, 3 May 2012


So its been far too long since i last blogged, guess i just got out of the habit over the long winter of not really doing anything interesting (apart from the third ascent of Brownian motion) and started using twitter too. I just had my head down training hard and bolting holds to various different walls.
My pre season training went well, even managed to stay injury free, something i haven't managed to do for a long time. This meant by the time the first international came round, the CWIF (climbing works international festival) i was feel strong fit and ready to compete. It seems my feelings were correct as i finally won it (having been 2nd in this comp at least 3 times before).

My bubble burst slightly as a head cold decided it wanted to go onto my chest, making training and sleeping very difficult for two weeks, leaving me feeling a little under prepared for my first world cup of the season in Slovenia, but i managed to squeeze a few good sessions in before heading out but still unsure of how i would fare.
Thankfully i made it through the lottery of qualifiers and into the semifinals topping 3 boulders out of the 5 but should have been 4 really! The semi finals were a similar story really topping 2 boulders out of the 4, one of which was one of the harder ones, but failed to stick the horizontal roof dyno that quite a few others did, leaving me in a slightly disappointing 17th ( 2 flashes was enough to be in the final). It definitely felt like a top ten climb to me but in a field where every man in the semi finals had previously been in a final before it was always going to be a tight one.

The following weekend was Vienna, somewhere that has treated me quite well in the past so i was hopeful for a strong performance. I felt good and relaxed warming up perhaps a bit too relaxed in hindsight as i missed the easy dyno on the first problem thinking how warm the holds were! I slightly misread the third problem topping that 2nd go too! The 4th problem was infuriatingly close as i slipped off the final hold, turns out no one else got close! The 5th problem was easy, leaving me with 3 tops in 5, but should have been 3 in 3 really! even 3 in 4 would have put me into the semis...just. instead i landed up 27th kicking myself over two stupid mistakes and wondering what if over the 4th problem! At least i got some points! The semis and finals looked like my style too!
We have three weeks off now before Innsbruck, giving me a few weeks to work on a few things, and try to get things a bit more hooked up.