Monday, 27 August 2012

Crushing the Crag

So a year has passed since Team Crush’s last Kilnsey trip and Naomi, once again had taken the challenge of organising the rabble. After inviting themselves to stay at our Grandparent’s‘Bothy’ – an out house my Granddad redid into a bunk room. Another year to send some hard routes!

Day one and Tash and I were out at the crag before the others had even arrived. We had warmed up on the Bulge-let; 6b+, finding that we needed a little more time to get used to the limestone. An hour later, after working out the rock on the few easier climbs, the rest of Team Crush appeared. They were just in time to witness my feeble attempts on Pantomime; 7b+; a powerful, steep and bouldery route, and if you know me, that’s not my style. Feeling now that the limestone was slowly beating me, I moved to Directissima; 6c and a top roped trad; 7a neighbouring.

Gracie on Pantomine
Day 2 we were off straight to the crag, a whole 2 minute walk away. The day started off much better than yesterday, this time, flashing a 6b+!!! After our warm up, Tara, Tash and I, got on Ground Effect; 7b. After pulling past a bouldery hard start I worked it to the top, the crux, being half way up needing a deep Egyptian and determination. This climb would go! Feeling more Psyched, Tara and I decided to get on the classic Sticky Wicket; 7b, a vertical technical climb. Tara went first, she worked it to the top, found it good but she had felt that her fear of falling outside had prevented her from going for moves and for the flash. I got on, working it too and finding the same problem of falling, definitely a part of my mind I need to fix! Later we made our way over to Gracie and Tash, we found them giving Smooth Torquer; 7a+/b a go, another, short and powerful climb, with another tricky start but jugs straight after. Gracie told us that she had got it in two, falling off not at the cruxy start but a dynamic move just after. I had to give it a go! I watched Tash repeatedly try the bouldery start swinging off after dynoing for a hold. Before I got on, Ian Dunncame over and gave me the beta for the less powerful people. My attempts were similar to Tash’s, catching the hold then swinging off, I was tiring and my finger skin was fast departing but I had to do this move, I finally got it, sticking my feet, but then in my exhaustion forgot the next hold and came off. Now I had that move, I knew I could do it, tomorrow would get some sending! Gracie, psyched to get a send, got back on and beasted it!


The sun was shining and because we are Team Crush and we are crazy, we all decided to go swimming in the river; well most of us, Tash and Gracie whimped out and watched at the edge. It was FREEZING! I would have been out first if it were not for the motive of; it will make me climb well tomorrow…

Gracie and Sara having a break from climbing...
After earning our let at my grandparents; doing the gardening and in mine and Tara’s case, scraping weeds out a drive way we were back on the crag. Today would be the day I get a route ticked. I warmed up on a 6b+ then got straight on Smooth Torquer, I was not planning on getting burned out for it this time! I watched Taraget the flash but it still took me a couple of goes to get the first moves again and I was starting to get worried that I would get too tired. So I rested for an hour or so while I watch Billy try an 8a and Tom Red Point it! I finally got back on Smooth Torquer and got the red point, my best outside route yet at Kilnsey! While Billy was resting I got a belay up WYSWYG; 7b, the first part of the 8a. I worked up it, I found many of the moves big but knew, maybe not to day but another, it would go.
On the way back from our adventures in the river.

Second to last day and it was not good. I woke up feeling awful, getting out of bed I knew I wasn’t right and after throwing up, blacking out and spending the morning sleeping on my Gran’s sofa, I knew I wouldn’t be climbing that day. I managed to get up to the crag however and sit with my sister, Naomi, (she also wasn’t climbing due to a shoulder injury) and watched the others get on hard routes.

The last day had arrived, still tired and kind of better, I made my way up to the crag with Team Crush. I knew I wouldn’t get on anything hard, so I tried the 7a top rope I tried the first day. Managing to get a couple of moves then coming off feeling exhausted and unable to pull, I decided it was a day and joined Naomi again. About 30 min before I had to leave to get the train, I had worked up some energy to get back on Ground Effect, I pulled past the moves I had struggled with but then fell off, forgetting the next beta. Being so late on the climb I couldn’t work it again and Gran was calling and the rest were packing up. The week was over, time to go home.

This year I didn’t get many ticks, (the illness didn’t help!) but I have a plan for next time, so no dawdling at the beginning, straight to the lines!

Finally good luck to Tara who is currently in Singaporefor the Junior World cup! I’ve got high hopes for her, ticking 4 7b’s, flashing 3 out of the 4 and 6 moves off an 8a, she’s beasting! And thank you Granny and Granddad for letting us use your Bothy, hostessing and looking after Team Crush! And lastly thank you to Naomi, ‘team manager’ for organising, mothering and cooking!!!

The Crag its Self

Thursday, 16 August 2012

As Strong as a Mountain and as Dynamic as a Flower

the Comp Wall
A few weeks ago I had my 3rd European. It was held at the Kletter Zentrum Imst, Austria. Its comp’s wall is placed outside and is AMAZING. If you’ve ever been to Ratho, it makes it look small. But to make it even more impressive it is surrounded by snow sprinkled mountains.
          We had another display of the British Team’s strength. Again we got 3 finalist: Luke Tilley, Alex Waterhouse and William Bosi and some pretty awesome climbing from those not reaching the final!

Qualifier 1 looked reachy, pumpy and fun. Unfortunately, I was 35th on, although giving me plenty of viewing time, it also gave me time to get shaky and nervous. I had watched both Gracie and Molly reach the first crux; a long and powerful move which spat both of them off. But I was determined to stick the hold and climb on.
Qualifier 1
As I got to my chair to start tying on, the sun was beating down, not helping my ever rising nerves. It was my turn to face the climb. I was too nervous to climb at my full potential but I tried to push this thought away, just focusing on the next move, trying to get my feet right and to make my clipping good.
However my nerves got the better of me. I come off because of a misjudged foot sequence. I came down, frustrated, knowing this was not the best performance I could have done.

After having lunch back in our apartment and a good long 5 hour rest we made our way back to the wall. Here we discovered that my 2nd qualifier was the Junior Female’s qualifier 1.

Qualifier 2
I knew I couldn’t let the previous climb faze this one: this would be a new start. Being 15th on, it also meant I had enough climbers to get me psyched and ready to climb but not too many to get me quite as nervous.
I felt more calm and composed as I stepped on the climb this time. I kept breathing deeply and concentrating. I felt like the climbing was going OK. I wasn’t climbing too smoothly but I had remembered to rest and so far hadn’t gone wrong. Finally I reached a big throwy move out left, a move I could have done if I was fresh and had my foot in the correct place. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. So, after just scraping the hold I fell.  I fell in quite an unnerving way; smashing into the wall. This made all the spectators and competitors look my way and draw in a breath. At least I got my moment of fame…
As I was lowered, by a slightly shaken belayer, I felt happier.  However I still knew that my two climbs had not witnessed my full ability!
Knowing that you haven’t climbed your best in such a big competition when you’ve put in so much effort training is hard to get over. Luke however, made this so much easier.

Qualifier 2
He had seen that I was nervous on both qualifiers, especially my 1st. Being my brother, he often sees me climb and therefore knows my full ability. He knew this wasn’t it.
Luke explained that it isn’t my actual physical ability letting me down: it’s not being able to control my head.  He explained that he meditates, meaning when he is climbing he can keep his head and body calm. He said when he is climbing he repeats, ‘I’m as strong as a mountain and as dynamic as a flower’.
Meditation obviously works wonders as he climbed awesome in the qualifiers. He made the final in 9th and then beasted it. He ended up finishing 7th!

Talking to Luke helped me understand that I still have lots to learn, and even if I don’t do my best in a competition, it’s still worth it just for the experience. He also reminded me that I still have plenty of time to improve!

Over all I finished 37th, not such a great result, but as I said, I’m just leaving room for improvement! And I had a pretty awesome weekend!!

(some of) Team GB

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Open Youth Competition

Last weekend Edinburgh International Climbing Arena held another Youth Open competition which showed off ever stronger youth climbers. With some pretty awesome looking routes and Naomi Tilley (my sister) commentating while recovering from a shoulder injury the climbing seemed set to go!
Qualifier 1
My first qualifier was on the comp wall; the climb looked juggy, steep, pumpy and fun! Being 3rd up I didn’t have many people to watch, so, as tied on I watched the first 2 climbers intently. The first climber took it steady and got most the way up getting a couple of moves into the roof before coming off. However, the 2nd climber didn’t reach this far which switched on my nerves, knowing that maybe there were crux moves half the way up. I knew that this couldn’t phase my performance so when my time came to step up and face the climb I kept myself calm, kept breathing deeply, and focused on each move. I stayed positive. The climb was as good as it looked! Most of the holds were positive, with a massive jug before the pull into the roof, perfect to rest on. I knew I had to climb fast through the roof as my energy was fast diminishing. It was going well until I hit a very reachy clip. This drained more of my energy but I carried on. I managed to squeeze in a couple more moves until just before pulling round to the finishing clip. I used my last remaining power for a huge throw which saw me just scraping the hold and the end of my attempt.

The Final
My second qualifier took me to the old comp wall; it was a slabby climb, with no good holds, and no good rests. Less steep and powerful climbs should suit me better; however the long reaches seemed to rock the boat a little too vigorously. After struggling on a dynamic move I began to get pumped and careless and about half way up. I reached out for a clip and missed; I lost most concentration, slipped and fell. I came down knowing this wasn’t the best I could have done but I put this behind me and hoped it would be enough to get me into the final!

I was in luck! I had scraped into the final. Qualifying 6 with only 6 going into the final was a bit close for comfort, but now I had to fully concentrate on the final climb. Running out to route read I found the climb on the far right of the comp wall. They were positive but not huge holds, most of the way up, following the line of the arĂȘte. My psyche had risen! Being 6th into the final meant being 1st out of my category, playing to an advantage for me, as I still have the climb fresh in my head, and a whole set of clean holds!

          As I got on the climb I told my self to be calm and enjoy it. I still felt slightly nervous but I focused the nerves into my climbing, hopefully pushing me up higher. I felt I climbed well and steady, I came off slapping for a hold round a volume with my arms completely boxed!

I came down feeling like I climbed my best but because was first out I didn’t know how I’d fare compared to the others. As it turned out I hadn’t done too bad, in fact I’d done quite well! I come 3rd to Tara and Molly with close competition from Gracie, (finishing 4th) only wining 3rd by climbing a whole 5 seconds faster!
On the podium!
Over all a successful weekend and with even more psyche for my third European (EYC) in Imst, Austria next week!