Friday, 22 April 2011

GB Winter Activities

Finally the clocks have changed the days are sunny and we begin to feel the beauty of peak performance. During the dark months when the competition season is out, short days and poor weather prevent much if not all outdoor climbing and training is the main focus. Boulder competitions and local boulder leagues are often the only things that keep the juices flowing and provide a break from dark circuit boards and gruelling regimes. Here are some updates on what we have been getting our teeth stuck into over the winter.

British Bouldering Championships

This is one of the only times in the year that we get the chance to get together with our team mates for a day of bouldering. It is always great fun with lots of familiar faces and is interestingly different from the competitions we are so used to. However even though we jauntily say that we are route climbers and not that interested in bouldering deep down we are all there to prove to ourselves, and the climbing community how good we are and where we stand against those folk who call themselves boulderers.

There were some fantastic performances from the team particularly in Junior Females, 4 out of the top 5 places being held by us route climbers. Tara won, Rachel and Molly followed and Sarah came 5th. The junior males was easily won by our new team member Sam Brannigan. In seniors males Adam did very well qualifying for the finals and finished 5th Ed came 11th and I came 15th. Kitty just missed the finals by 3 points in her first year as a senior which is a fantastic result! All round brilliant performance by everyone well done!

Tara Hayes in the finals

'Winning the BBC's does mean a lot to me personally because it's nice to get something back from all the hard work you put in - but don't get me wrong, I love the training! As for the training, I enjoy every second of it but you do have to really push it if you want to achieve your goal. I find the competitions really motivate me for the training because if you put in everything you've got, the results will come in the end. I thought the competition ran smoothly even though it was in a tight time schedule; so I'd like to thank everyone who helped to organise the comp.' – Tara Hayes

Climbing Works International Festival

This is the boulder event I most look forward to, the atmosphere is always great and the standard inspirational. With 30 problems in qualification this really is a test of your bouldering ability. The competition was held over 2 days this year and attracted an incredible, 300 competitors from the UK and abroad. Adam Watson put in an outstanding performance making it through to semis and on into the finals finishing a very impressive 3rd overall. Ed was incredibly close to qualifying for the semis coming 17th with 16 climbers going through. I came 52nd / 2nd in the under 18

Adam Watson in the finals,

Luke Tilley flashing a qualifyer, Photo: Kenny Stocker

Southern Indoor Bouldering League

The capital city, as one would hope has a big boulder league, SIBL is held at 6 different climbing centres and once again we have had a brilliant representation from our team. In the junior girls (Under 16s) Molly battled it out and achieved top place, a note worthy achievement at 13! Kitty was also well on track to completely dominated the senior women category. Unfortunately missing two rounds for other climbing commitments, amazingly still coming 4th with a round less than taken for the final score.

SIBL Junior female podium, Photo: Sam Johnson

“This year was my most successful, coming 2nd twice and 1st three times. The best five scores out of six determine your final position for the series. I really enjoyed competing in the series, with my favourite rounds being The Castle and Craggy Island.” – Molly Thompson-Smith

Nottingham Boulder league

The winter boulder series held every year is always an exciting event with a strong turn out of local boulderers. Team members competing this year were Tom Bonnet, Sarah Pashley, and myself. There were excellent results from everyone, Sarah came 2nd in the senior females, Tom joint 2nd in senior Males just a few points behind me. Tom has done a summary of the series

“My main focus in climbing is lead climbing but I do enjoy the laid back atmosphere of bouldering. Even in the bouldering comps, there is still the friendly aspect of climbing where you all end up helping each other out and offering advice.

I recently competed in the Nottingham winter bouldering league. It consists of five rounds where the best three are averaged into one final score. Luke Tilley and Sarah Pashley were also in this competition.

The first round was in November. I was feeling really psyched for this competition and I was also feeling pretty strong after quite a lot of training I had recently done. I was climbing well and I did well in the first competition. I topped fifteen out of a possible twenty problems but not topping them on my first go meant that my score was 129 out of a possible 200. I was pleased with this score and it was quite high in relation to the rest of the field.

The second round was December. Again I was feeling pretty strong and I felt good for this competition. I was climbing well in the competition. Being dynamic where required but not out of control. The competition went really well and I finished with a really good score of 180 out of 200. I flashed all of the problems that I managed to top in the comp giving me a 1st in this round.

The next round that I did was February as I missed the January competition. This round looked really good and the problems looked really different. It was a really good round and it differed a lot in problem styles from the previous rounds and it threw me on a few problems. I still managed to come out with a strong score of 161. I was pleased this score and it put me in a good position overall.

The overall standing was all down to the last round between me and three other people. Ben Meakin, John Nightingale and of course Luke Tilley… I climbed well but made a few little mistakes meaning that I dropped some points. Finished with a score of 158.

Overall I managed to finish joint 2nd with Ben, Luke Tilley coming out on top in 1st place. I was really pleased with this result as I was not expecting such a good finish. Great competition this year and I look forward to next years winter league.” - Tom Bonert

Luke Tilley on the final problem of the final round, Photo: Paul Philips

It is great to see such good results in the major and regional bouldering competitions from the lead team and I think this bodes really well for the summer lead competitions if this boulder strength can be applied to routes. The season is about to begin, with the leading ladder final and the Edinburgh EYC, good luck everyone!

Written by Luke Tilley, Sponsored by Evolv, Metolius, Prana, Alpkit and Pulsin

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