Leeds!

Wow hit in the face by University, international competition seems a doddle in comparison! I have begun a new challenging period; with a base in Leeds climbing has potential to be a full time occupation. Yorkshire grit is a stones throw away, the super limestone crags an easy drive and 3 brilliant climbing walls to train at. Countering this Graphic Communication and Design at Leeds University is enthralling, inspiring and all consuming!

My focus has been blurred all over the place with climbing, uni work and living taking priority intermittently throughout my first term sometimes overwhelmingly so! I have had World championships, European youth cups, national events, outdoor climbing, history of art essays, several coursework’s, group management of 6 people, environmental campaigning, fire performances and for the first time cooking cleaning and washing for myself on top, no rest permitted!

Some early days at Kilnsey proved productive with a quick dispatch of a brilliant 8a called cold steel on the far left side, super technical tenuous face climbing after the initial powerful starting bulge. The challenge is getting the moves wired 0nce achieved the route did not feel difficult. However it did take 5 goes to get them perfect! I was close to sending another brilliant route in similar style but definitely harder (although also given 8a), Soft Option. This will have to wait till next time though as the pump got too much for me and I had to call it a day after coming so close to topping out!

I have had some brilliant days on the grit, pulling over my first piece of trad gear in a couple of years was pretty exciting and kindled the desire to find those pure features untouched by drill or bolt. Spurred on by my coach Tom Randle returning from America having conquered the worlds hardest crack. I embarked on Wellington Crack E4 5c at Ilkly a set of stairs in comparison but pleased with the onsight. All but the first piece of gear stayed in, my placement is not too rusty! I have only had a dabble in the local crags (a night boulder session at Almscliff was good fun and tested the Gamma’s capability!) but hoping to prioritize this a bit more in the new year! Hopefully will meet up with the other evolve team climbers who live around Leeds!

By Luke Tilley