A Junior Senior BLCC’s

On October 13, 2012

Just staying on the senior final route. Photo Alex Messenger

I am in a transitional time no longer a senior junior, but a junior senior and it is very exciting! Following on from one of the best senior British Lead Climbing Championships in years, there is finally a catalyst for a Senior GB team and it is cool to be part of this. Communications are happening between a size able core group of  climbers and a potential new team manager. It is also really cool to be living 5 min away from Amanda Rohner a Swiss competitor who is at the same point in here competition career as me. She has been on the international circuit for as long as I can remember (achieving several 2nd places in European Youth Championships!) and has come over to work in the Depot to improve her English. Last weekend we were all congregated in the giant whole in the ground near Edinburgh for the 2012 British Lead Climbing Championships

The BLCC’s have always been a bit of a nemesis, my final year as a British junior competitor was no exception. It was a big weekend for those in youth A and Junior as we were able to compete in both the juniors and the seniors. This is nothing to complain about, as the wall is so good and so far from home that the more climbing on it the better. There is a great team of route setters who always create a selection of spicy hard routes unlike anything else we get to try nationally and internationally.

Although well slept on Saturday morning, I pulled onto the boulders to warm up and felt pretty terrible. Amanda and myself mused that the weeks training in Leeds had been rather intense. A long session of bouldering and circuits at the depot on the Thursday was still hanging over me. Luckily the qualifiers were probably no harder than 7b and 7c so my slightly unconfident climbing was not a problem and I qualified in joint first with Jonny.

Word on the grape vine was of a crazy move in on our final route, this obsessed us as we sat in isolation and went out for viewing. The slightly large cross through turned out to be nothing to worry about. I climbed well and felt relaxed and well composed bellow the roof. I pushed away from the rest, not wanting to be called up on time in case of a tie. As I clamped through the slopey volumes in the roof I placed a dodgy heel on the large hold my hand was on and that was it. I should have placed a toe. I desperately tried to hang on and my leg tangled round the rope. I took a big tumbling fall spinning upside down and burning the back of my leg on the rope. On the ground I looked back in frustration barely pumped, 2 moves from my last junior Lead Champion Title.

About to “burn” out, sorry! Photo. Alex Messenger


I have to admit that I did really want that first place and I know that my strength and fitness was worthy of it. I have been put in place by supper steep climbing, something you will see happened again in the seniors. It is good to have a second place, a target to reach and weakness to work on. I am now vowed to take home a senior British Champion title. I am sad that my technique let me down at my last junior BLCC’s.

As I had predicted my Sunday arms felt fresher than the day before even with a day of competing. The standards of the routes were much more exciting than the day before and both qualifiers posed proper challenge. It was really cool to stick the decider last move on qualifier one and hold the second to last hold on route two the highest achieved until Ed and Dave topped it! I went into the final in 3rd place.

Photo. Alex Messenger

The final was a classic Ratho test piece physical and sustained. All the holds were good but seriously well spaced. I climbed well minor a few inefficient foot placements and made it 5 or so moves further than almost falling off! Again poor footwork in the roof finished me off. But it was really satisfying to get to the ground stupidly pumped and know that I had tried 100%. Psyched to have beaten Chris Web Parsons and to be 5 or so moves behind Ed because I know he is pretty close to the top of the game.

I have come away from the weekend with one disappointment, areas to work on and places to gain. It was really motivating to have such a tight competition and to see the senior competition at a high standard and a busy category. Bring on the Senior team and senior competitions.



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