This was our third bouldering competition and by far our most popular with 43 entrants. It is a tribute to the hard work put in by our climbing organisers and members who have made strangers feel welcome that we have built such a group from 3 members attending our first meetup at the GCC. It certainly was not easy to build up the group, as beginners had to be trained and looked after, so it was personally very satisfying for me to see such a large turnout for the competition, with everyone having a good time. The emphasis was on having fun, and offering beta and encouragement was definitely encouraged, although, TCA had kindly offered some prizes for us. Now that I’ve given myself diabetes, it’s down to business…….
As I wasn’t competing, for reasons of injury/retiring undefeated, I chose most of the problems, with some help from Mark (who would fluke a second win in the open section) and Chris, who had a dodgy knee, but heroically went down to TCA a few hours before the event to select some new routes as the ones I had reserved for the competition were accidentally reset the day before. Chris heroically climbed them all in his socks – yeah, that’s why some of the holds were a bit greasy to ensure they were the right grades. I think he did a good job and picked some good ones. Guess who you can all thank for the dyno by the way 🙂 . However, it was a direct replacement for the dyno I had selected for the beginners. My comfy chair and pop corn never went to waste after all. It was also good because no one had practiced those routes before.
The routes were chosen to be varied and not favour a particular type of climber, although I did plan some mischief on the cobra wall green route. I offered 10 bonus points to anyone who could down climb it. No one managed it, but I was interested to see whether the “power climbers” would attempt it at the risk of getting tired and whether the “technical” folk who can’t do a pull-up, but can climb 7a and still get stuck on top of bits of French rock, would sacrifice the chance of points to be stronger later on. There were of course a few slab routes and balancey traverses to mock the power thugs too.
There was also the downright weird. Like the heel hook traverse for the intermediate bonus route. This made use of the kiddie’s traverse at the back wall, but the hand holds only were allowed and you had to heel hook them. There were a further two points up for grabs to anyone who could turn round while still heel hooking. This lead to many folk employing a technique which can only be likened to a dog with bum worms relieving its itch on a carpet, which is most amusing to watch. If you survived that, you could get an extra 8 points by hooking your way back to the slab.
The night started with a Klaasy bandana and ended with two ties. First up were Ewan and Bran for third place in the beginner’s category. With the group watching, the battled it out on an easy green we used in the intermediate circuit. Ewan won, with Bran having an unfortunate slip, but considering he has only been climbing about 2 months, this was a really impressive 4th placing for him. I suspect he will be moving up a level in January’s competition – A bit like all the winners and runners up in the first two categories – nae luck guys- and Mr Don, who just missed out on a placing despite only getting in an hour’s climbing . Still, the cake you won will sweeten that news for you :-).
Nightmare in 7b
The next climb off was for first and second place in the open category between some jammy guy who can’t do Font 4 mantles and Alasdair. Originally I had chosen a 7a on the comp wall to separate them, but Alasdair had done it previously, so after some consultation, we decided on a fingery route from the white circuit. Mark won by getting two hold more than Alasdair, to retain his title.
I t was a really enjoyable night, and great to see the continuing improvement in the all round abilities of the group. This was the first competition that we had a 7b route in and I wasn’t certain it would remain unclimbed. It did defeat everyone this time, but one of the great things about competition night is that it pushes folk out their comfort zones and make them realise that with a bit of work, a particular grade that they would not ordinarily touch is actually achievable. This week, quite a few folk have been working on their new grade busting projects. It was also great to have Mhairi back amongst us, plying us with delicious homemade cake, after her nasty injury at the last competition. In typical style, she told some folk that if they didn’t go home in an ambulance, they weren’t trying hard enough
Cutting some moves