News from the Scottish Tooling Series. Pete Rhodes podiums again in the second round at Glenmore Lodge
The second round of the Scottish Tooling Series was held at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore. Having definitely impressed myself with my performance in Glasgow a fortnight before I was certainly hoping that it wasn’t a fluke event and that another high finish was due. However sleeping in the back of the van for the previous week was not the best preparation and thus on the morning of the competition the standard set of nerves were in full attendance. My newly Alpkit-supplied super-light boots and the couple of Figfour sessions I’d slotted in through the week though easily overcame any frugality induced sleepiness!
Arriving at the site with my wife Kate and friend Dave we signed in and chatted to some of the many people we knew. Dave, having bean a key staff member of the Glenmore lodge for the previous 18 months had an excellent and in-depth knowledge of the granite towers where the problems had been set and proved exceptionally useful! These were the key feature of the comp with 11 of the 14 problems being set outside on the granite and requiring the use of crampons.
The first problem is always a little shaky. We began on a very slabby problem which required alot of balance in order to not be lying on the wall! As was expected getting the feel of crampons again after 8 months off them made this first problem a little slow, but we soon got into our rhythm getting through all the ‘standard’ problems outdoors and the two easier problems indoors with little fuss. As the day progressed Dave and I came closer to having completed the 12 more straightforward problems without dropping a single point. This lead to a final few jitters up an arete problem before we had 120 points in the bag and were very satisfied with our work.
And so we approached the last two routes. One a set of figure-fours through a cave and one a set of hanging logs and with these two problems came the mistakes. On the cave route I found that my new sticky gloves may well adhere to the shaft of the tool well but that they are all too easy to fall out of which spit me off the last move. On the hanging logs I think I must have blacked out for a minute as my first swing into the log I somehow missed the log and proceeded to follow through by throwing my axe to the ground. Gutted.
We knew there were a lot of strong people at the competition and so weren’t holding our breath too hard. As the results were announced Dave had managed a great fifth place and I scraped into the final in equal third. Despite being psyched to qualify I was exhausted and not sure i had much left in me! The route we were shown looked tough but doable if you had enough power left but after only a 2 minute inspection we were swept away to isolation to await our fate!
Isolation is an odd pursuit and I am very impressed now by any competition climber who can stay clam back there. I mostly passed the time with three nervous pees and attempting to sharpen my tools. Once my name was called I tied in, set my axes and gave the belayer the nod. The initial massive span from the upright to the wall had scuppered every one of the seniors but I managed to reach my toe across and plant what felt like a solid stein-pull under the initial hold. Feeling solid I attempted to set the next hold which seemed fine and while looking up at the next hold I fell squarely on my bum. All that for 3 moves. C’est la vie.
Scott Muir was out next and showed and incredible performance as did the eventual winner Ash Dean. They both missed teh move out that scuppered my attempt by a very impressive reach. Reading that sequence was the tactic I was missing and I know next time more about what moves are possible.
All in all it was a great day out. The fact that neither me nor Dave dropped a single point on the more ‘realistic’ problems has us so psyched for the ensuing winter its almost painful and that is definately something to be happy about! Another podium has me in the lead in the series but this is mostly just through good attendance so we’ll see what happens in the next few! A swift mention to all the organisers and the free whisky tasting after party have to slot in here, they were both tremendous!
For more information on the series check out Scottish Tooling Series
1. Ashley Dean
2. Scott Muir
3. Pete Rhodes
1. Anna Wells
2. Megan Beaumont
3. Deziree Wilson
Junior Male – up to 17 years
1. Dylan Mackenzie
2. Calum Irvine
3. Gregor MacGillvrey
Senior Male – 40 years plus
1. Steve lynch
2. George McEwan
3. Thomas Buggy