Monday, 3 December 2012

STS Round 4, Glenmore Lodge

This weekend saw the final round of the 2012 Scottish Tooling Series. It was held at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore. I drove up on Friday night with Andy Laing. Andy stayed at the bunkhouse in Aviemore but I had managed to get a floor space on a friends floor at the lodge.
As I was at the lodge I was ready abit early so helped with clearing snow from the bottom of routes and moving things around.
The qualifying routes were held on the granite towers outside and inside in the climbing wall. The cold weather meant that the towers were covered in snow which gave everything a very wintery feel.
I climbed with Cassim Ladha as my usual partner, Pete Holder, wasn't able to make it.
All the routes were really good and varied so credit should go to Mark Chadwick and Steve Johnstone for setting them. 
I managed to flash all but two qualifying routes. I got Stevies fig four hanging board route on my third attempt, the only person to get it on the day I think, and I didn't manage to get the torquing route at all. I managed to pick up a further 3 points on the campus challenge. This gave me a qualifying score of 138 points, putting me into second behind Andy Clark.
Along with Andy and I the rest of the adult male finalists were Cassim Ladga, Scott G and Gareth Wignall. Before it was our turn to go into isolation it was the turn of the veterans and juniors to battle it out on their own final route. By the looks of it it was a bit too easy as almost everyone managed to top it.
Stevies Fig Four monster (Photo Credit:
Before the adult male final the adult females had their final on the same route, all be it with slightly different rules supposedly to make it easier, although I'm not convinced it really did that much. Fiona Murray won this with Louise Humphreys in second and Karen Macintyre in 3rd.  
As I qualified in second I was the second to last person to try the route. I got a bit nervous hearing everyone else try the route, as we are kept in isolation so that we can't see how each other do it. When it was my turn I tried to climb quickly but carefully so not to get pumped and not fall off thanks to a silly mistake. I got to the final hold on the route without too much difficulty but this is where the battle really started for me. All I had to do was clip the final chains and I done the route. This turned out to be easier said than done and I hung around swapping between fig fours and nines for ages trying to reach up to the clip and then recover enough to have another attempt. This was just a bit too much for me however and I ended up getting too pumped and letting go of my axes.
That final clip on the final route (Photo Credit:
This was luckily just enough to win, as Scott dropped his axes before matching the final hold, despite clipping the chains. By competition rules I won, however in real life he ticked off the route and I didn't, so he was very unlucky.
This was the first climbing competition I have ever won so I was really pleased. This result also meant that I have managed to retain my Scottish Tooling Series overall second place, which I also got last year. I'm really pleased by this as I only lost out on 1st place by 1 point, instead of 10 last year. Scott came 3rd with 58 points.
After every competition I have tried to be critical of my performance and try and assess what I need to improve on. Here is a list of things I need to improve on:
1. Core strength
2. Dynamic moves
3. Not letting my feet stupidly slip off
4. Endurance (if only I had a little bit more I may have been able to clip that quickdraw)
5. Clipping
6. Matching
7. Reading routes

I'm sure there are more but this a good start I think.