A wet weekend competing!

So I returned home from the insanely hot temperatures in Boulder to rain. It was bliss for about an hour or so but after a week of pretty much none stop rain I was ready to leave the country again. Before rushing off I had a few important things to do.

The British championships was one of these important things which was supposed to take place at an event called Cliffhanger. Cliffhanger is usually an awesome event full of different things to do and see but this year the true harsh wet British weather lead to the event being cancelled. We had a months worth of rain in 24 hours, it was BAD even for England.

Despite all this the British Bouldering Championships were to go on! Arriving in the damp, misty, cold, muddy field early Saturday morning it was safe to say psyche levels were not so high. The qualifiers were actually quite good fun. The qualifying format is different to most competitions with 10 boulders that all the competitors get 2 hours to try. It is a very strange format requiring you to be confident but also clever. Timing is key, making sure you get enough rest but not getting cold or running out of time. It is also hard to know what boulder to try first as the grades range from around V3 to V8, its almost impossible to know what to try and when. The boulders went well for me, I made a few silly mistakes, I forgot to tap my foot on a start hold and got called off on one and I messed up the first move on another boulder. I managed to get both climbs second try and qualified for finals in first place.

The Finals were back to World Cup format, the boulders looked really good fun and I couldn’t wait to get on them. I climbed last and my first attempt on the first boulder didn’t go as well as I had hoped. There was a very shouldery press for the last move and I managed to tweak my shoulder again. I got back on cautiously and managed to do the move quickly but very controlled putting as little strain on my shoulder as possible.

 Getting a boulder second try when you know you could have and should have flashed it is annoying and it is very easy to let this get to you and effect your performance. It’s hard to carrying on climbing smooth, precise and trying hard! One attempt can make all the difference… I flashed the second boulder, it was a really fun sideways jump followed by awkward moves on oddly textured volumes. The next boulder was insane, I knew it had been done but when I was climbing it I had no idea others had done the moves or how I could do the moves. My first attempt was pretty useless as I was let down by the other shoulder. I had to figure out another way. After throwing some crazy shapes at the start and jumping to the bonus I found myself sat in the splits wondering how I could get over to the last hold. After a painful while sat there I pressed out and just reached the very bad edge of the final hold, crimping as hard as I could I managed to whack my foot up high once more and get a very very satisfying match!

Here’s a short Video of boulder 3 I found on Youtube, not very clear but you can get the idea…

Relieved and sore I sat wondering how the final boulder would go. Alex was in the lead by one attempt and we had a steep boulder remaining. I totally thought I had lost it. When it came to my turn only Mina had topped the final climb. I knew at this point I had to top this boulder to win. I have messed up under this kind of pressure before and come so close but not quite managed to get the final boulder, this time I didn’t mess up. I somehow composed myself and flashed the final steep crimpy boulder. This time I had enough left, I can only hope this is the case in the next big comp… 

I maintained my British Senior Bouldering Champion Title. The boulders were amazing and so much fun to climb on, painful though.

I have also had a  meeting with Craggy Island, who I am happy to announce as a new sponsor of mine. I will be working with them to promote the sport in a positive way. 

The last few things before leaving for Magic Woods include a bit of filming in North Wales and I will also be running a coaching weekend for the Royal Air Force climbing team with Dave Barrans who was a very happy winner of the Male British Bouldering Championships.

Congratulations to Molly Thompson-Smith and Dominic Burns who became the new Junior British Bouldering Champions, really impressive strong performances from both climbers

Full results HERE!


Thanks to Paul Bennett for the images, check out his website HERE!

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