The winter bouldering season is drawing to a close and one hopes that all those hard earned points were worth it. If not for the scraps between points for podium position, but for the hours of hard pulling, crimping and gurning which mean it had been a good winter’s worth of getting super-duper-strong.
I certainly feel like I have trained harder this winter than in the previous few years. Of course there is much room for improvement and harder training- but then there always is. One of my local walls, The Face- Wirksworth, is where I managed to get down regularly enough to compete in their winter league. The competition comprised of 8 rounds from October to February with a fortnight to complete each round. It was the usual format of competing at any time over the 2 week period with self scoring. There were 5 categories each split into male and female: Junior Beginner, Junior Advanced, Student, Senior and Veterans.
Each round consisted 25 problems in which any features were allowed for feet- something which is dissimilar to most bouldering competitions I have entered. I mention this though because I think it made each climb more accessible to different climbing styles (powerful, reachy, flexible, etc.) whilst still being true to the grade.
There were a good few sticky problems- the ones where you know you can do it, if only your foot would stick on the hold or finger wouldn’t ping off that 2 mm edge, or if you could dyno with more gusto. The final round had an infuriating problem which involved a large sideways dyno. I knew I could do it. I held the hold numerous times! Yet, for some reason, half way through the leftward swing- I would suddenly visualise falling horizontally (it wouldn’t be the first time) and so I kept letting go just before getting to that point. It is rare for lack of guts to get the better of me in such situations so I found it rather annoying. Ultimately, I ripped a chunk of skin out my palm on the move so had to give it a rest. The staff also had to fill out an accident form for me; mortifying!
There were also some excellent problems to work, with each move being doable but very strenuous and pushing my current level of strength. I love these sorts of problems where you go from repeatedly dropping certain moves and then all of a sudden it just clicks into place. Sometimes something as simple as a dropped knee or re-placing your foot by a few cms then suddenly it flows beautifully!
There was a prize giving ceremony which involved free tea and biscuits followed by free entry into the wall! Plus a bit of free for all on extra prizes. I came 1st which was of course fantastic. The achey muscles and depleted skin was certainly worth it! Plus, I got a wonderful array of prizes- including some skin balm which will be put to good use!