BMC Open Youth Leading Competition - 27th Nov 2010 - Awesome Walls Liverpool - Report

With 114 competitors turning out on a chilly Saturday morning this year’s winter YOC was marginally quieter than last year, but the competition was just as hotly contested.  There were only 16 Scots taking part as some of our more experienced climbers were out with injury after an extremely long competitive season.  Nevertheless we managed to get 13 climbers into the Finals and bring home two First and two Second places.


As well as an Open competition the event was being used to help GB team management select their squad for 2011.  Everyone was competing in their IFSC categories for 2011, so there were some new faces and often a new group of climbers to pitch skills against. Zippy, Tom Randall and Neil Busby had set some exciting routes and they were testing from the start.  Even so over a third of competitors (39) managed tops on their easiest qualifier in the 8 groups. This dropped to 12 on the harder qualifier and over the course of the day only 9 competitors went through to the finals with 2 tops.


Youth C (12/13yrs) saw many climbers competing for the first time at this level and while nerves were apparent on qualifying routes, scores were relatively close going into the Finals route for both the boys and girls.  A tricky triangular volume proved too much for most girls but Inverness’ Emily Eadie made that all important ‘positive climbing move’ from the volume to gain a + and take 2nd behind Carmel Moran.  Gabriella Stewart (Loanhead) was pleased with her 6th placing in her first YOC.


In the boys Angus Davidson (Edinburgh) had an excellent climb on a complex Finals Yellow route that had been used previously by Youth B boys. His final score of 29+ beat most of the older boys and gave him the Youth C title 6pts clear of his nearest rivals.  Fort William’s Stephen Dent finished in 7th place in his first YOC.


The largest turnout was in the Youth B (14/15yrs) category which had 42 climbers. This was 10 more than last year demonstrating the level of interest amongst this age group (the youngest category that competes as the GB team on the International circuit).   From Scotland there were 5 girls and 2 boys.


While there were many gutsy performances throughout the day, with heart stopping foot slips recovered, determined campus grips held for an inordinate length of time while feet sought a hold and brave lunges for that extra + point, the climb of the day went to London’s Molly Thompson-Smith who, despite having just moved up to Youth B, had an outstanding Final route on a tricky Green to the left of the Barrel Wall.   This 7c climb had previously been the 2nd qualifier for the Youth A girls and Elite GB team member Kitty Wallace had achieved a near top 35- score.  Molly had the crowd cheering loudly as she achieved 34+ a mere touch away from Kitty’s position and an example to all climbers who claim they aren’t tall enough to make moves. Molly is at least a foot shorter than Kitty. Edinburgh’s Rachel Carr took 2nd with Nikki Addison (Inverness) 4th, Rebekah Drummond (Brechin) 7th, Megan Saunders (Broxburn) 11th and Alexandra Blunt (Edinburgh) 15th.


There were 2 Scots among the 23 competing in Youth B boys and scores were close going into the final route.  Dylan Mackenzie (Inverness) clinched first place thanks to his 2 Qualifying route top outs and Alexander Bosi (Edinburgh) finished 16th.  It was Dylan’s second win that day as he had already won the Scottish Tooling Series Youth title despite missing the final round in EICA: Ratho that coincided with this competition.


The Youth A boys were also out in force with 20 competitors and with most of the current GB Youth A boys moving up to Junior next year this was perhaps the most unpredictable group. The climbers were warned that they were tacking their hardest route first so that they didn’t get too discouraged.  Steven Addison (Inverness) finished in 5th behind winner Sam Brannigan (Newcastle) with Glencoe’s Alasdair Johnstone taking 10th place.


Scotland had no competitors in the girls’ Youth A (16/17) or Junior (18/19yrs) categories which were won by Kitty Wallace and Catherine Whiteman respectively.


The girls’ Junior group had only 3 competitors.  By contrast the Male Junior group was 17 strong and sported 3 Scots.  Scores were close going into the Final, once again on the Green Barrel route, now altered from a 7c to an 8a.  Luke Tilley took the title with Paul Williamson (Glasgow) 4th, Ross Kirkland (Edinburgh) 7th and Calum Forsyth (Ratho) 9th.


The day ran smoothly thanks to Rob Adie and his team of volunteers and it was good to see some of the more experienced climbers, who were out with injury, sharing advice and words of encouragement to those new to the scene.  Although some climbers were disappointed with their climbs on the day, many more were pleased with their achievements and the valuable experience they had gained.   The next Youth Open Competition is on 30th July in EICA: Ratho.  It would be great to see a few more Scots taking part.