Then some de-psyching news for me, at the end here, but I still hope I’m getting closer to a final after my first three EYC rounds in Youth A.
I’ve moved up this year from B. It’s been a bit nervy cos, looking at the Youth A climbers last year, when I was in Youth B, they were beasts – so strong. Quite a few are 9a climbers. It’s a tough and competitive group. I didn’t know how I was going to do.
First comp was Ratho. I was up second on what looked like a really fun route on the old comp wall. The start went well until I reached a tricky clip in the roof, which took me a while to sort and really tired me out. It finished off quite a few climbers. Should a clip be a mini-crux? I fought through a few more moves, but came off through tiredness, disappointed but psyched for my second route. This looked like it really suited me, being steep and on positive holds on the hanger wall. I felt like I was moving really well until I started having to fight a really tight rope with a not-very-alert belayer. Should I call a technical? I carried on into the roof but I went from feeling fresh to boxed within a few moves and came off.
Resting on the second route at Ratho
Picture: Nick Colton
I came 13th, my best result in my first Youth A after being 11th in Youth B last year in Bulgaria. The whole team did really well, with six in the finals.
Next up for me was Voiron in France, this was a really cool comp. I was really psyched for my first route and managed to get level with the last draw before the chains with a bit of fight. After this last clip though I fell of a hard roll-over into a gaston. After this move there was a good hold to shake, and it was ok to the top. Everyone who did the move I fell on topped! Annoying.
The next route was a slab to a really funky roof section. I managed to get there feeling fresh after a quick shake out. I headed into the roof. It was completely different to how I imagined it and took me a while to work out. I fell of a few moves over the lip but I felt like I climbed well. Here is the video.
I finished 16th overall. Although this was not as good as Ratho I was pleased because there were a lot more hard competitors and I felt like I climbed much better! Molly put in a really good effort to come 5th and Luke and Jonny came frustratingly close to the finals. Another good comp for team GB!
Then it was Linz in Austria. I knew it was going to be a long day as I was climbing midway through the group of 51 on my first route, which meant I would be near the end on my second! The first route went well. I got to the rest and composed myself and set up for what appeared to be the crux sequence. There was a long move to a pinch and then a tricky clip. Then a move to a side pull, then an undercut where I came off. Just after me someone found a way to match the pinch to make the undercut easier. I should have seen it, so that left me frustrated.
I came down at 10.30am and had to wait until 5pm to do my second route. It really felt a very long time. I wasn’t pleased with this climb. I got a sudden pump and fell off a tricky cross over into a roof.
Overall I was placed 12th and was pretty pleased and thought I am getting closer and can really feel my comp climbing improving. Well that was what I thought until I found out my score was wrong. It was too high. Someone had typed in a wrong number. No-one noticed on the day and I didn’t notice until the day before the BBCs the next weekend. I asked the BMC to try to get me marked down because I don’t really want to benefit, but at the BBCs Tim Hatch and Nick Colton said nothing could be done. I was de-psyched by this. I thought I was 12th and I was probably about 16th. Need to climb harder! It messed my head and didn’t help my BBCs performance that day; I came 13th.
Anyway, back in Linz, Jim put in a really good effort to top his second route, which was amazing to watch. Also Jonny S did really well making the final and finishing 8th. A lot of people got PBs in terms of position and everyone else was close. Another good weekend for team GB. Molly bounced straight back after missing the final for the only time in four EYCs this year and is going to crush in Imst.
Big thanks from Molly and me to Rob and Liam, our cool coaches.
I’m off to Ceuse for two weeks with Will Smith and Jonny White. Back for the Youth Open at Ratho at the end of July and the next EYC in Imst in early August.
Psyched for the summer!