Tag Archive for Newcastle Climbing Centre

When the final isn’t THE final

Snow is threatened!!!

Just what you need to hear when you have a journey to Newcastle to make for the final round of the BmC Paraclimbing comps for 2017.

So, to cover all eventualities a pup sitter was sourced for both Vicky and Fizz (us humans getting stranded in the snow is one thing, but not at all suitable for a dog; extra layers and clothes packed; along with extra car supplies SHOULD we end up stuck.

Driving up wasn’t an issue, apart from the odd icy patch, we managed to make good time.

Saturday morning we awoke to frost, but thankfully NO SNOW.

But the temperature was too cold.  It would actually have to warm up to snow.  And I am sure I have mentioned before how cold weather and climbing centres don’t really mix?

Especially when said climbing centre is inside an old church….

So, base layers, t-shirts, jumpers, coats AND hats at the ready I was warm. (But totally unable to climb with all these layers.

Newcastle Climbing Centre had restricted entry, it was only available for the competition, which made for a much quieter and less stressful day, but it was really REALLY really COLD.

The first top rope route was long, it wasn’t technically difficult, but such a high route in a cold setting and about 2/3rds of the way up I found myself having to move quickly from each hold, while at the same time unable to move quickly because of the temperature.

This very problem caused me to come off rope rope two at a move that I should have had no trouble with.

Top rope three was quirky, it saw me challenging my climbing style and making moves that I wouldn’t normally do, but these moves saw me reach higher than I ever expected.  I was proud of this route, even though I didn’t too it.

The bouldering problems were much easier to warm up for.  Boulder problems are set on lower walls, with bigger crash mats underneath and as such, this area of the centre appeared warmer.

Route one on the boulder saw me miss out the top hold for fear of sitting down and pulling up.  Route two was more of a traverse around a corner and then up on a diagonal, a route where I managed to get the start of on my final try, but then slipped further on on it.

Route three was a pig!  I am being kind here because it would be rude to swear.  It was a route that started in an almost horizontal laid back position and then you were to climb backwards before moving upto a standing position of height.  I was put off this route by watching some of the climbers I would count as ‘elite’ not managing to get past the backwards climb section of the problem.  Not surprisingly I got to the starting golds of this route (where all my body was off the floor) but only managed to move one hand before coming off.

My efforts were not in vien, these little ‘extra point’ moves saw me gain silver for this round of the competition.

And accumulatively see me awarded with Silver for the series.


However, the results of these competitions is not how the 2018 Paraclimbing team will be selected.  This time around there will be a selection day in February in Sheffield.

So watch this space …. My climbing has changed dramatically in the last year, but will it be enough?

Another church and The Angel of the North….. Was it a sign?

Round 4 of the Paraclimbing series for 2016, the final in this years competitions, another great location and my chance to shine.

Newcastle Climbing Centre is set within the walls of an old church, one that was much larger and steeped in more history than that of the Climbing Centre in Manchester.  A building that fed my love of design, my ‘eye’ for detail and my passion to climb.  What more can a gal ask for?

The day started with a stressful tummy, a fear of failure and without my faithful Fizz, a feeling of falling flat on my face…… Which given my already bruised and broken face, would not be a good look.

Anyway, I’m stalling; Dispite the nerves, the worries and the irrational fears, I did feel more confident, I had trained with a different mindset, I felt more prepared for this comp, maybe it was the return to Calshot or the long break between Round 3 and 4, who knows?  My confidence was noticed.

Fellow climbers who took the time to great me and speak to me made comments to this; I am not able to see my competitors, VI’s don’t really have ‘a look’  I could recognise some of the other competitions, one for the beautiful head scarves she always wore, one for the her blue/turquoise coloured hair, one for the sound his crutches made and another for her bright and bubbly hello as she spoke with everyone who walked past her!

I had found myself able to make more recognitions as the series had progressed, but not with any of those in my own category.  I don’t think I ever spoke more than 3 words to my own competition.  Not for lack of trying, but when you can’t see someone and they can’t see you, the introductions don’t happen naturally.

The climbs were set, this competition saw me undertaking climbs that my partner in crime didn’t, as with Edinburgh, different routes had been set for different disabilities, to enable each climber to work with their abilities, not to be disadvantaged by them.

I set myself a personal challenge, I challenged myself to ‘just go for the hold’ not fear falling, instead reaching for it and letting the rope do the work if I didn’t get it.

This worked well on all 3 of my climbs,  I made the moves, sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn’t.  But as I only got one shot at each route, it enabled me to gain more points, it also gained me a rather large bruised thigh when I came off the wall and hit a volume !!

The boulders were interesting, with three tries for each I was over the moon when I got the first route first time!  The 3rd wasn’t so clear cut, my balance or rather lack of it let me down, but I gave it my best and even though each of my 3 tries scored the same points I could walk away knowing I had given it my best.  My 2nd boulder started off wrong footed, so my second attempt saw me improve, although not gaining anymore on my 3rd shot.  My points added up, my points beat those of my climbs in Edinburgh, Manchester and London.  I finished knowing I had given it my all.

I didn’t know how many female VI competitors were in the round, I just knew I had beat myself.

So, to hear my name called out for 2nd place in my catagory was a shock!  Yes I was 2nd out of only 2, but it didn’t matter.  I got to stand on the podium and I got to bring home a silver medal to add to my two bronze.

My partner in crime was also awarded a medal, he ranked 3rd in his category.  Unlike me, he was 3rd out of 5; which given that the pair that came 1st and 2nd hadn’t dropped more than 7 points between them, the boy did good!

After the round 4 results and podiums it was time for the series winners to be  announced.

The series winners were different; series winners had to rank in at least 2 of the 4 rounds, this I found difficult to  understand, but basically it meant that not all of the categories gained a series ranking due to lack of competition.

In the Female VI category 3rd place was read out, the winner wasn’t actually at Newcastle to accept their award, then came 2nd, this was the girl who had come first in Newcastle.

“And First place for the 2016 Paraclimbing series female VI goes to ….. Theresa Osborne-Bell.”

I didn’t believe it, I just stood, I was pushed upto the podium and completely dumb struck to be handed a trophy!  I was in total shock and amazed they had called my name.  I found myself shaking, I struggled to hold myself together, I just about made it back to the crowd before being unable to compose myself any more and I found myself quietly crying, tears of pure joy!

I am still in amazement of what I have achieved in the last four months, the experiences I have gained from climbing in different locations and the friends I have made in that time.



And now one week on the 2017 team has been announced, I am not in the list.  This is ok though, I learnt a lot during the competitions and now have 9 months to train, to be a stronger competitor next year……. Now to fire off an email to Santa for a Beastmaster hangboard.

I will be watching the team, following some of them through this year and build myself up, both physically and mentally to be ready to hit the ground running come September 2017 !!


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