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Monday, 13 May 2013

The Scottish Youth Bouldering Championships by Rachel Carr

The Scottish Youth Bouldering Championships (SYBC) was started back in 2009 by Scott Muir at his climbing wall Extreme Dream in Aviemore.  That was only my second year in climbing and I finished 4th in the 11-13 category.  In 2010 I was part of the GB Youth Climbing Team and as the event wasn't endorsed by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) I was 'advised' not to  compete.  In 2011 MCofS came on board so I took part and won the 14-16 yrs category following this up with another win in 2012 - the first year the competition was made into an Open and climbers came from Ireland and England to join the Scots at the newly opened The Climbing Academy in Glasgow.

2013 saw another development with the SYBC now forming part of the British Junior Bouldering Championships and being used as a selection day for the GB Junior Bouldering Team.  Would climbers be good enough to get on the team and would existing members be able to show they were climing at the right level to go to France and Bulgaria for the next euros? In all 137 competitors ages 8 - 19 travelled to TCA from around the country for what was a brilliant day.

We had 15 qualifying problem which I found quite easy. I didn’t expect to top them all, never mind flash them all. I wasn’t the only one but that didn’t matter, I was so pleased and surprised at my achievement. I’d been training hard and I knew I’d gotten stronger but I didn’t think I was capable of this. I was going into the finals in joint first with Molly and Tara. 

Qualifying photo by Sandy Carr

I was extremely psyched but also nervous about what the problems would be like. I wasn’t sure if they would be as easy as the qualifiers or too hard to top. I always hate when the finals come down to attempts on tops. 

After sitting around for a few hours, waiting to see who else had qualified for the finals, the results were posted and we were called into isolation. The final problems had been set before hand and hidden with a large sheet. We heard them drop the sheet, then the disco music started up and the crowd began to buzz. It became real that the finals were here and I had a chance of winning.  

Everyone sat calmly waiting to find out what would happen and after ten minutes we were called for observation. We lined up for all the audience to see who was competing. They counted down and our 6 minutes for observation began. We ran to our first problem and figured out how to climb it, the moves looked awkward but doable and I was only really worried about a couple moves. After 2 minutes had gone I moved to the next problem. This one had simple moves but one move that looked like I would struggle, it had a sloping pinch, I had been training them since the team weekend but I still knew I’d struggle. I decided not to think too much on it or I’d get nervous so I moved to the final problem. This looked like a problem I’d enjoy. It was overhanging, powerful and had a massive volume that I’d have to crawl round. They called out time and we all made our way back to isolation. We only had a few minutes before we had to go out to climb.  There were 7 through in my category because there was a joint 6th. I was second last out so I had some time to wait. 

Last Final photo by Sandy Carr
I heard the first 4 go, not worrying about them as I was focusing on my own climbing. When Molly went out I got ready, calmed myself down and listened to see if I could hear whether Molly topped it. I didn’t, so I began to think the problem was a lot harder than I thought. I went to the problem and my four minutes began.  I jumped on the first move but my hand slipped straight away. I thought I might have the wrong beta so tried a different way. That was even worse, the start holds weren’t great and I was cramped. I tried the original way and I made it. I caught the hold and kept climbing. I got the second bonus and realised I could do this. I was almost off on the last move but I swapped my feet and reached and caught it. A smile immediately appeared on my face and I jumped off pleased at my success. I went back to isolation and waited to see how Tara would do. She had flashed it so I was sitting in second place.

The next problem didn’t go so well. I made it to the first bonus but by the time I’d got there I was so tired I couldn’t pull at all.  I didn’t have the lock-off strength to make the move to the second bonus. The pinch was too much and my fingers just couldn’t cut it. I dropped off and was disappointed because I knew Molly had flashed it. I assumed Tara would too but when she came back to isolation I figured out that she had got to the same place as me. I had a chance at winning if I could flash the last problem.  I went out and worked my way around the volume but couldn’t make the blind slap onto a small crimp. I missed it every time I jumped for it and despite trying until I couldn’t hold on anymore, I just couldn’t get passed the crimp. 

I’d come third overall behind Tara in first and Molly second, but being top placed Scot had retained my Scottish Champion title and won a trophy designed by Malcolm Smith.

Rachel and Tara with the Scottish Championship Trophy  photo by Sandy Carr

 At the end of the day I realised I had become stronger and that if I keep up my training I can continue to get better and that’s the only motivation I need to keep trying. I was selected for the 2 upcoming euros and I only have a couple weeks until the first euro at Grindlewald. Time to get psyched!

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