No longer a youth at the Youth Open

On December 15, 2012

Last weekend saw 160 junior climbers swarm Liverpool to compete in the youth open events.  These competitions are a chance for young climbers to prove their worth on international standard routes many with the hope of getting selected for the Junior GB team. This is the first junior competition where I have been too old to compete in and marks a changing time.

Over the last 5 years I have made many great friends in the juniors and in their parents. I have been there with the young competitors as they have gone from good to world class in only a couple of years and especially in the last 2 years as team captain I have loved being able to support these young hero’s and pass on what advice I can from my years of experience. I want to carry on being part of the development of junior GB team.

Some world class dads! Photo thanks to  Pete Wuen!

Some world class dads! Photo thanks to
Pete Wuen!

So at this youth event I could not compete but I was needed as a demonstrator for the routes. I tied on at the bottom of the competition route as normal but this time with loads more pressure. Every competitor is expecting me to get to the top without falling. It was not so bad as I was given two vertical 7b’s as my back is still playing up. I was demonstrating for my sisters group and most of the young climbers I coach so it was good for them.

Demonstrating with the setter Rob Napier on the nicely vertical side walls. I do really like the liverpool Awesome Walls! Photo thanks to  Pete Wuen!

Demonstrating with the setter Rob Napier on the nicely vertical side walls. I do really like the liverpool Awesome Walls! Photo thanks to
Pete Wuen!

I spent the day watching the juniors that I work with and videoing their climbs. This helped me give instant feedback on their attempt and help explain the positives and negatives of their climbing. This was really good to reinforce the confident style that they were climbing with. I really enjoyed this supporting role and helping them to be fully prepared for their routes.

Talking steep climbing with Billy Ridal Photo thanks to  Pete Wuen!

Talking steep climbing with Billy Ridal Photo thanks to
Pete Wuen!

There was fantastic climbing from Tara Molly and Buster as usual, great to watch these guys stepping it up a level Buster and Molly out climbed the entire oldest category, flashing the hardest route of the weekend. Gracie Martin performed exceptionally well in the final getting a podium position and went on to boulder out an invitation to the new junior GB team the following day, fantastic! It was great to see my new local hero Emma Powell come second in her category, she has come a long way in a year! I am really looking forwards to working with her in the future. Flo and Billy both climbed superbly on route one but come across challenges on route 2. They are really close to the standard and will definitely be some of the best climbers in the country with another year like this one under their belts. Naomi climbed superbly considering that she is still on the road to full strength from an injury at the BBC’s.

Where did those arms come from! Buster Martin on the second qualifier. Photo thanks to  Pete Wuen!

Where did those arms come from! Buster Martin cruising on the second qualifier. Photo thanks to
Pete Wuen!

As I mentioned above Sunday was dedicated to bouldering. It was a very long day with 160 competitors climbing in this brand new event, the first trials for a Junior GB bouldering team.

Although I was sad not to be involved with the climbing (especially as officially I am still a junior till new years!) It was really good to work as a demonstrator and be able to support and coach the junior climbers I have been working with. Everybody deserves a break now after a seriously long season!

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