Tuesday 11 March 2014

VIC State Lead Titles 2014                                                                                

Last weekend, I travelled down to Victoria to compete in the VIC State Lead Climbing Titles held at Bayside Rock Climbing Gym. The comp was run really well and was a great way to kick-start the Australian lead climbing season for 2014.

Flying down there on the Friday evening, I found myself buzzing with a mix of both excitement and nervousness. The first comp of the year is always a bit nerve-racking, I guess… but having missed so many comps last year because of my wrist injury, it felt like forever since I’d last competed! Despite the nerves, I was super excited to finally catch up with a lot of my interstate climbing buddies after so long and just to be able to jump on a bunch of really fun, well-set routes.

The youth categories took up the first half of the Saturday and I was glad to arrive at the gym early enough to watch the youth finals. The climbs looked really cool and all the youth categories were climbing really strong. Eager to start climbing again, we all began scoping out what routes they might put us Opens on for the qualifications. There was one stand-out climb which no one had any doubt would be for the Open A Finals. Parts of it were covered and it was likely they would alter it slightly to make sure it was an “onsight,” but even so… everyone knew it would be a real pumper. It was just awesomely long, starting on the right side walls of the gym, then traversing across the gym roof on these massive new features and then up through the classic huge Bayside overhang. I couldn’t wait to have a go.

It was a strong field, with 8 of us in the Open A female category and a few had already competed in the youth that morning. We were all so psyched to get on the wall. The two qualifier routes for our category were great fun. The first climb was cool… it felt relatively easy (even though my nerves made me hesitate on the last move) but I still managed to top-out clean. Many of us topped the first route but I was the only one who managed to top the second route as well. This meant I would be the last person to come out of isolation when finals came around.

In isolation, waiting for my turn to climb in the finals, wasn’t nearly as tedious as it can be at many other competitions. I had lots of friends to catch up with and a really awesome bouldering area to warm up in. But when it was finally my turn to go out, I was just busting to get on the wall. It was an awesomely fun route… incredibly long and pumpy but flowed really nicely and the moves were really fun. I was SO close to the anchor when I fell off… I’d made it through the whole overhang (apparently skipping holds which I forgot about around the side) and was throwing over the last little lip to the third last hold but just missed the positive edge and fell off. Being lowered down to the ground, I was buzzing from the climb, my burning forearms felt like they were about to explode, and I was really happy with my effort.

The worst thing about qualifying first and coming out of isolation last is that you don’t get to watch anybody else climb! It turns out that I got the furthest on the finals route placing me first in the Open A women, followed by Ashlee Hendy in second place, and Sarah Davis in third. Everyone climbed really strong, the routes were well set and imaginative, making for an awesome comp day. Big thanks to the Bayside team and all the volunteers for their amazing efforts! Looking forward to what the rest of this year’s comp season has to offer!

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