This weekend saw the 3rd round of the BMC Paraclimbing series.
Manchester Climbing Centre was the venue – A beautiful former church, which has kept many of its original features, not to mention the lack of heating!! (Which was clearly felt this weekend ‘tup-north)
The routes were set, the atmosphere was buzzing and the turn out was phenomenal.
There were six competitors in female VI (according to the entry list anyway) and Abi a fellow vi Climber who often ‘flashed’ all her routes and boulders was here. So barring a natural disaster I set myself up for the best I could achieve would be a silver.
….. So what is a FLASH I hear you ask …..
To ‘Flash’ all routes and boulders is to get to the top hold on the first attempt. With the top rope climbing routes you only had one go to get the best score or to ‘flash’ the route, but with the boulder problems you are given 3 opportunities. Scoring a bonus 2 points if you succeed on the first go.
Anyway, I set myself the personal challenge to beat my scores from the same competition last year. Knowing that the climbs had been set harder, this was my way of judging how I had improved in the past year.
This is the same challenge I have set myself for each of the rounds. However one that, despite topping more routes and reaching higher in the routes I didn’t top, I didn’t actually achieve this in Edinburgh. But as we don’t climb the EXACT same routes each year this isn’t always a clear sign of improvement, they may have changed the scoring against how everyone performed last year.
This was certainly the case for the 2nd round this year; after 3 of the 4 Male VI climbers scored maximum points, the route setters upped the challange for London. Given that the 3rd top rope in Manchester was graded as a 7a (2a grades above my comfort zone) the Competition was seen to be set for a much higher status.
Usually as the routes go, boulder 1 and top rope 1 are lower grades, I flashed boulder 1, yet took a silly slip on top rope 1, costing me 26 points.
I got further on top rope 2 and just under the first ledge on top rope 3 (where I hadn’t expected to get too far from the ground!)
The second boulder was a challange and one I had hoped to return to after a break (but time ran away from me) while boulder 3 was set as a challange to most. I was happy to get the minimum points of 47 on this as it was such a hard set. 47 Out of 60 meant I got both my feet off of the ground, which given there was only one foot hold and the hand holds had an interesting placement was quite an achievement and similar to many of my fellow competitors.
Had time allowed I think a 3rd attempt on this route would have seen me complete it.
But time didn’t allow.
The sheer volume of competitors and lack of volunteers who could belay meant that the competition ran over by 35 minutes as it was. In which time I competed in the 3rd top rope, where I found myself scoring much higher than I expected.
Once the competition was over it was time to calm down, take off my climbing shoes (hello feet) and harness and await the results.
There were no podium blocks, but an innovative use of the stone steps that led upto the bouldering area and my catagory was read out.
As expected, 1st place went to Abi (which I congratulated her on) then 2nd place …….. Me!
I took my podium; accepted my medal and had my picture taken.
There had been no 3rd place on the podium which I had felt was odd, but had honestly thought the person named as 3rd had left.
It was only after all the podiums were announced that the organiser explained that the medals that hadn’t been handed out in London were ready for collection. It was at this point I discovered that a fellow female VI had been mis-catagoried and was in fact 2nd. So back went my shiny silver medal and out came the beautiful bronze!
Sadly it was too late to re-take the podium photographs. So the only one I have is of me with my silver. So here is my ‘incorrect’ Podium photo showing me beside the beautiful Abi.