The last comp is always the winter British Youth Open. I’d won this in Sunderland last year, and the summer one at Ratho.
I couldn't wait for this event at Awesome Walls in Liverpool, as the 2009 Youth Open here was one of my first leading comps and I have fond memories of this wall. In ’09 I came sixth and in ’10 third. I wanted to continue doing well in this comp ;-).
After a long drive up on Friday we got to the hotel and after a good sleep for once we headed down to the wall. I walked in to be as inspired/nervous as I was three years ago at the steepness and size of the wall. Routes looked amazing, I was psyched!
Route one took a smearing corner up the right hand side of the comp wall. No problems. Topped. Climbing for fun, and what a difference it makes!! It was about 7a+. Quite a few other people topped this.
The next route was much harder, orange up the middle of the comp wall. I was climbing midway through the group. Most people fell off a hard move off an undercut half way up. I slapped up, missing the intermediate that caught people out. I had stuck it. Bump low hand in. I screamed (don’t do that a lot!), made a move to a good hold and CHILLED! A few seconds later I was at the top, quite a fight! This route was given 8a and it felt solid at the grade. I qualified in first place. Sweet.
Since the start of the day there were rumours of how hard, the purple on the comp wall was: 8a, 8a+, 8b or 9a. Whatever grade it was, it was our final. I was psyched.
After a long wait in isolation I went out for observation. I had spotted the rest and cruxes. Everything went according to plan and I made a big move off an undercut. I caught the next good hold. By the sound of the crowd I knew I had won. I didn't care! I wanted to finish the route everyone had been talking about and worrying about, and I did! First place in the Youth Open for the third time running, and climbing for fun. Result!
The route was given 8a+/b. I was pleased to onsight it! Got a ‘well done’ e-mail from Steve McC, who set it. Ian said 'What if you could climb like that in Euros, because you can!', which really made me think. Molly also managed to flash the route after the comp and put a good effort in on the orange, sick!
Well done to all the climbers! There was some amazing climbing and the new team was selected. Rebecca Kinghorn is one to watch!
Bouldering open was the next day and I injured myself. Came 9th. Did something to my neck and haven’t climbed since, three weeks plus off. Itching to get back. But over the last few months I’ve learnt loads about my head, just how to be psyched, being relaxed, being confident in my ability and trusting myself to be good enough to fight hard.
Bring on next year, if I get selected ;-)!