Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A busy weekend

This saturday saw the first round of the 2014 British Tooling Series at Beacon Climbing Center in North Wales. The British Tooling Series has evolved from the popular Scottish Tooling Series, which has been running north of the border for a few years already.
The Beacon put on a great show, with additional excitement thanks to it also being their 20th birthday weekend. Happy Birthday Beacon! The day saw, in addition to the tooling comp, a fun boulder comp, a talk my Tim Emmett and Will Gadd and an Indian meal.
The dry tooling competition took place on 8 qualification routes. These were a combination of routes using Alpkit figfours and normal axes and had something for all abilities.

There was a good turn out on the day with some old STS faces as well people new to tooling and others that are just starting out in competitions.
After all the competitors had tested themselves on the qualifying routes it was time for the finals. There were two finals routes, one for the female finalists and one for the males. Both of these looked thin and sketchy and generally pretty hard, but what else would you expect being set by the master of sketchy climbing himself, Nick Bullock.
The female finalists were Anna Wells, Katy Forrester and Megan Beaumont, while the male finalists were Tim Mueller, Will Woodhead, Matt Pigden, Dave Bowes, Scott G and myself. I was second to last out so I didn't watch any of the female finals, however the competition was won by dry tooling guru Anna Wells. I didn't see much of the mens finals for the same reason either, so we join it at my attempt.
Walking out of isolation I didn't know how everyone had done, so I just had to do as well as I could. There was no time limit for the final, it was just who got furthest, which suited my slow style of climbing. I made very slow progress up to the last hold on the route, which I ended up ripping off while getting into a position to clip the lower off. Scott was last up and climbed the route with ease, but got the rope caught around a hanging pipe, causing terrible rope drag. This eventually caused made him to fall off. If it wasn't for this I'm sure he'd have won, but it in the end my attempt was just good enough to win it. DMM very generously donated a rope for each of the winners.
The British dry tooling scene is a really cool thing to be involved in at the moment with loads of psyched climbers. Its shaping up to be a really good series and started in fine style at Beacon Climbing Centre. Get involved!
Despite being really tired from the comp on saturday I was not done with competing for the weekend. Sunday was the British Fell Relays, held on Middleton Fell, just north of Kirby Lonsdale. I was running as part of York Knavesmire Harriers A team. The other team members were Neil Stabbs, Chris Roberts, Giles Hawking, Tom Ratcliffe and Simon Collins.
Mass start for leg 1
The race was in 4 legs. 2 short legs, run first and last, a long leg run second and a navigation leg run third. I was on the final short 10k leg.
The race started at 10am, and about 3 hours later it was finally my turn to run. The rest of the team had put me in a good position, although we were never in contention to win we could achieve a respectable position.
Knavesmire (yellow and black) at the end of leg 2
The weather wasn't great for my run with strong winds, low cloud and rain on the tops of the hills. Despite this I tried my best and brought Knavesmire home in a respectable 57th place, running my leg as the 50th fastest.
It was all together a good weekend, although I was very tired on monday morning!
There are a distinct lack of photos for the amount of text, but I was busy doing things.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My wall

This summer I have been busy. Mostly I have been working but I have also had chance to do a bit of climbing. My major achievement of the summer has been building my own wall in a spare shed at home. Well when I say spare a few bits had to be moved around but there's space for it now.
The wall consists of a 40 degree board up against another board with is just slightly less than 40 degrees.
The steeper wall is made to the same specification as a moon board and I have been using this for rock climbing, while the slightly less steep board is covered in sheets of old ply, which I have been using for drytooling.
Moon Board
I have used the old ply as a cover to allow me to use my crampons without needlessly damaging the wall.
Tooling Board
The wall has made getting climbing much easier, as I don't live particularly close to any commercial walls, and it saves me a lot of fuel money not having to drive through to York every day.
This past weekend I competed in the Buxton Thunderdome drytooling competition and came third, which was much better than I expected given the strength of the field. It looks like the wall is having the desired effect on my ability. Hopefully I can continue improving and do a bit better at the 2015 UIAA Ice World Cups.
Buxton Thunderdome

I have had a lot of help with this wall, mostly from my dad who helped me build it, or rather I helped him as he probably did most of the work. MKM Driffield were a big help giving me a discount on wood, as have been Red Goat Climbing Wall, in York, who have generously supplied me with loads of old holds for tooling on, t-nuts and bolts!