Saturday, 11 February 2012

Northern Tooling Series

Joanna and I decided to miss winter climbing for the weekend and head down to Sunderland for the Northern Tooling Series, organised by Roxcool and Schmoolz. On friday night we drove back down to my house in East Yorkshire, the car recorded -14 degrees, which is 259.15 kelvin, just outside of Driffield. It was still -12 degrees when we set off on Saturday morning to drive back north to Sunderland. I had never been to Sunderland wall and wasn't quite sure what to expect. It is in a big warehouse on an Industrial estate and I was abit confused as the only way in seemed to be through a small metal door, which looked more like it was a fire escape. The wall itself is quite good, with a large barrel shaped lead wall and a small bouldering section, of varying steepness.
When we arrived the schmoolz competition was still running, climbing using simulation ice axes, so we warmed up abit on the boulder wall then played cards.
Climber enjoying the days dry tooling
Our competition started after the schmoolz final had finished. There were 10 routes which had a maximum of 10 points on the short routes or 16 points on the long routes, although there were marked holds on the routes which gave you points, if you fell off before the end.
I felt that I started quite well, managing to top out my first 5 routes. Then I moved onto the chain route. This didn't look too hard as its a chain, so all the axe holds are good and you could fig four. I turned out to be wrong and I only managed to get 6 points on that route, out of a maximum 16. After this I decided I had to relax a bit more and probably thanks to this I managed to top out the remaining routes, giving me a grand total of 114 points out of 124.
The finalists were announced and I was glad to hear that both Joanna and I had made it to the finals, Joanna qualifying in first place and myself in joint first place with 2 others.
The final route took a series of logs, chains, tyres and bolt on holds up the long, steep barrel wall. Joanna was last to go attempt the route in her category, adult female. I tried to give her encouragment by shouting "go on Joanna" from around the wall blocking the finalists insolation from the people climbing the route.
Straddling the starting log
I was second out in my category, adult male. I could tell the guy before me, Pete Holder, had done quite well as he had taken a long time and there was a large cheer at the end. I started well getting up the log and onto the tyre with minimal fuss. I however rushed it from here and instead of sitting in the tyre like everyone else went straight for the chain. This meant that I now had to catch a swinging tyre with my feet and try and stand up. It proved difficult and I tried and tried again but to no avail. My fingers were starting to uncurl from my axes and I fell off. I wasn't best please with my perdormance at the time. It turned out it wasn't too bad as I managed to pick up second place. Joanna on the other had finished in first!
Reaching my high point

Thanks to Schmoolz and Roxcool for organising a great event and I hope there will be another one next year.


  1. Well done Harry and Joanna! Sounds like you had a great time... St.john

  2. You wont have to wait until next year Harry....Hopefully late september/October this year there will be a whole tooling series here in the North East. Watch this space :-)....Well done in the comp to the both of you and thanks for making the journey down :-).