The Climbing Works International Festival took place last weekend. This competition has a big reputation and rightly so. It’s a gathering of motivated, passionate climbers who come together to have a good laugh at a great event. It’s an opportunity for climbers of all abilities from all over to try a selection of famously tricky boulders with the semi finals and finals taking place the next day.
The qualification day is always an interesting one. I find it incredibly challenging. The boulders are always really spicy but more than anything I find it hard to get into comp mode. The boulders are spread randomly around the building and there are hundreds of people around. Despite the chaos it’s definitely a lot of fun. Not only do you get to climb on the some of the best boulders on holds you’ve never even seen before you get to catch up with pretty much everyone you’ve ever met in the British comp scene.
The social element at this event is undoubtedly one of the biggest draws for many people. It’s unparalleled in our country. However, I have to say I love competing at CWIF! The crowd is always motivated and psyched to cheer on every climber. Even when it’s glorious sunshine and perfect grit conditions outside the Climbing Works is full to the brim.
The boulders sure didn’t disappoint. In semi finals there was a great mix of styles on some really cool holds. The fourth boulder was my favourite of the round and our hardest. It was a flat wall with a couple of volumes and some tiny holds that forced you into some awkward shapes and tenuous movements.
It’s a strange feeling walking down the hill to compete in an international competition. It literally takes me a couple of minutes to walk to the works from my home. So after semi finals I headed back up the hill to make some lunch and have a proper chill out with Leah before finals. We had some food and then made a cuppa (of course) and got comfy on the sofa. We then decided it’d be a good idea to watch something, this ended up being Pumping Iron. I can’t believe we’d both never seen this before. Hilarious! And definitely a good way to get psyched to try hard. It clearly worked for us anyway.
Some of the best athletes in our sport came along to CWIF this year. I’m always a little jealous that I don’t get to watch events like this. Especially when we’re sitting in front of the wall with all of the exciting action going on just meters behind us. When the crowd is buzzing, everyone on the edges of their seats, eyes bright, voices poised for the roar of success or the sign of grief, the desire to turn and see what’s happening is almost unbearable. I love these moment as much as I hate the suspense and torture of not being able to see what’s happening. I love seeing the reactions of the individuals in the crowd. There emotion all over their faces as they passionately cheer each climber on. CWIF is one of the few competitions where we, as competitors, get to be totally immersed in the action, whether we can see what’s happening on the wall or not.
I loved climbing in the final this year. This competition really does signify the start of the season for me. After months of training and hard work it’s great to have the opportunity to test myself and see where I’m at both physically and mentally. This year I couldn’t be happier with where I am at. I can’t wait for the World Cup’s to start!