European Youth Color Climbing Festival 2016 in Imst, Austria – Youth D Winner!

Imst Outdoor Climbing Wall. Venue for Youth Color Climbing Festival.

Imst Outdoor Climbing Wall. Venue for Youth Color Climbing Festival.

I was so psyched to win Boys Youth D this weekend. I was told afterwards that this made me the first ever British person to win at the event.

Last year I came 2nd in my first year in the competition when I was in the lower half of the 2 year age category and I was determined to train hard and try and go 1 better this year after training and working so hard.

The competition had 8 routes over 2 days with over 220 of the best climbers in Europe entered who were born between 2003 and 2006 with 50 Youth D Boys in my category (born in 2005 or 2006). There were 6 routes on the Saturday and the top 20 climbers would climb a final 2 routes on the Sunday.

Route Reading with my coach Graeme Harwood

Route Reading with my coach Graeme Harwood

I found the 6 routes on the Saturday quite straight-forward. I put a lot of effort into reading the routes before hand with my coach Graeme Harwood and there were a few harder moves. I concentrated and climbed them all quite well and I knew that by flashing all 6 routes I would be heading to the finals on Sunday. There were a total of 17 people tied for 1st place after Saturday so I knew it was going to be a difficult final.

We got to the Imst climbing wall early on Sunday at about 8am and our final 2 routes were already labelled so I started reading the routes and trying to figure out which would be the difficult moves. I thought the first route looked harder than the second route, especially the middle section of the 1st route. At 8.45am the routes were climbed by the [adult] demonstrators.

Final Route 1

Final Route 1

The order was announced and I was last to climb so I looked at the others as I went through my warm up. Most of the climbers came off in the middle section and about 5 of the others made it to the 3rd hold from the finish where there was a hard move into the steeper section of the wall.

I started my first climb knowing no-one else had topped and was determined to climb the route well. I found the hardest move on the route in the middle where I had to stretch to reach a crack in a football shaped hold. I only got 3 fingers into the hold but I managed to hold it.

I made it to the high point of the route and quickly found the best feet position to make the move. I reached with my left hand and had to shift my weight as I grabbed the hold – but I stuck the move and didn’t find the top section of the route as hard as I was expecting it.

I was very happy to be the only person to top the route and immediately knew that I was now clearly in the lead.

The second routes started almost straight away and I was 10th to climb which meant I didn’t have long to wait before my second climb. I planned the route and was confident I knew what I needed to do – but things didn’t go as I hoped!

Final Route 2

Final Route 2

A short way into the route I couldn’t work out if a hold was mine or not and I was immediately worried if I went for a move to use the hold I would be called down. I remember thinking the hold looked beige and not the yellow\orange colour I was climbing. I down-climbed a few holds and shouted out to ask if the hold was mine whilst getting pumped and hanging on. Initially no-one answered but then I heard my dad shout back that it was my hold!

I put an extra few moves into the route already and I had to fight to stay on the wall. I finally got to the overhanging part of the wall and I knew I was only a few holds from topping. The second last hold was a pinch and I was confident I would be able to stick the move but I think the tough start to the route didn’t help. Before I knew it I was being lowered to the floor and was immediately trying to work out in my head whether I had done enough!

I had a 3 point lead after the first route and I got 38 points out of 40 for the second route so I quickly knew that no-one could catch me and I had won!

Trophy

Trophy

Immediately after I came 2nd in 2015 I knew I wanted to come back and try and win and it felt so good to know I had done it a year later. I was told afterwards that I was the first British person to ever win at the YCCF.

There was a presentation and I won a 70 metre climbing rope and I was given a cool trophy and it felt great to be able to stand on top of the podium!

I’m already looking forward to going back next year…

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