Anyway, being new to Dry Tooling and never entering a climbing comp I decided that some proper training would be wise and over the next month or so put in the effort. During this period I did notice that I was improving, stamina, strength, technique and reading of routes and problems.
Rob had also managed to convince Shelle a friend of ours to enter the womens comp, Nik unfortunately didn't have enough leave for this trip. So on 4ht of December, Shelle, Rob and I drove through the afternoon and most of the night to get to Kinlochleven where the Ice Factor stands for the last round of the series.
We pitched a tent for Shelle and Rob and I shared the van.
The next morning we registered and waited for the start and then got going. The format was 17 problems/routes, with 3 ice routes as well in the Ice Factor ice box. You take your score card and a climbing partner and do the problems and score each other honestly. Cheating and qualifying for the finals would actually be embarrassing as you flail around in front of everyone, so most are pretty honest, whilst some have lapses.
Anyway, Rob flashed all bar 2 problems and one was due to checking the setting of the problem and finding that a particular hold had to be used in only one way, so he redid the problem. He still qualified second, nice work.
I on the other hand dropped one complete problem, that's 10 points gone and then dropped 3 points each on another 3 problems This meant that I just missed a qualifying climb off by 3 points. Although that would have been against the chap that went on to win it.
During the finals, we witnessed some amazing climbing from the juniors, in particular the boys. The women were stopped in there tracks by two killer powerful moves in their final and the subsequent super final. This went down to the supposed highest point reached after it was said that it would be the fastest time to whatever point they reached, therefore if they all got to the same point the fastest woman to the point won.
In the vet men, there was a clear winner.
Oops, Veteran Mens Final
The men's final went to a super final as well, that would be timed, after Steve, Rob and Malcolm, all topped out (reached the top of the route). Steve came out and went first in the super final and made it to the top, then Rob. Rob put in a great display of percise climbing and flew through once section very fast, but missed getting to the top by a few moves in the alotted time. Malcolm was out next and looking good and moving nicely, I looked away and heard the familiar sound of a fall, only to turn back and see Mal being lowered off.
Rob, styling in the mens final
That was the end of the comp and a great day. Rob had done very well and sets himself up for hopefully a great season and some success at the comps. Shelle loved it and wishes to return stronger and more competitive now she is use to the horrid plastic holds. I personally couldn't be happier, I finished 6th in the Open Mens in my first comp.
The next question was, what to do in a wet mild Scotland in winter? More Dry Tooling, stay tuned.