Monday, 4 March 2013

CWIF, ShAFF and Curbar - rock climbing at its best!

I just wanted to write a quick blog being as the weekend was so rock climbing packed. 

Saturday was the Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) competition. Me and three other members of team Cereal Killers climbed in all our garb (we went for cereal box characters, so had Tony the Tiger, the Coco Pops Monkey, the Lucky Charms Leprechaun and me, as the Scotts Porridge Oats guy). The comp was great fun - especially all the lovely comments about me climbing in a kilt. Yes, I was wearing shorts underneath. The overhanging problems would've been a bit risky if I wasn't. It was a family event, after all. After three hours, we'd only tried about two thirds of the problems and I'd only managed to climb about half of them. To say they were hard would be an understatement. 

That afternoon we had a BBQ in the lovely spring-like sunshine. A great way to rest up and recuperate before heading over to the Showroom Cinema for the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. We took in a couple of films labelled The Spirit of Adventure - one was an absolutely superb epic, undertaken by a chap called Helge, who kayaked his way down two rivers in South Africa. It was called The Impossible River Journey, an incredibly inspiring film, if only because Helge went through a great deal of what most of us would describe as hardships, but he seemingly took it as it happened and enjoyed every moment - there was barely a complaint in the whole film. Later that evening, we took in Climb Films 4, which included the well-known Wide Boyz, which I previewed here. But also a few other films I hadn't seen, such as Meltdown and Smitten, Lucky Chance. The former was especially interesting to watch, with the inimitable Johnny Dawes, who spoke about possibly the hardest slab sport climb in the world - a 9a slate quarry climb with shockingly awful "holds" and some amazingly bizarre moves. While Johnny narrated, James MacHaffie climbed it in impressive style.

I know I've said this before, but you should definitely get along to see some of these films at ShAFF next year. Keep an eye out for the date!

Sunday arrived and we got up early(ish) and headed out to Curbar for a climb on the grit stone before making our way back down to the Climbing Works for the CWIF finals. A quick warm up on the Trackside boulder preceded a few burns on a 7B+ on the Bad Landing Boulder. I was working the moves for around half an hour before an influx of people rendered quick goes on individual moves annoyingly staggered with five to 10 minute rests. I decided to give up and give Late Junction (7B) a go, as it seemed a great deal easier. Low and behold, I topped out after only two tries. The problem adds a burly traverse to Bad Lip (7A), which is a two move wonder that I had flashed the first time and quickly repeated again before doing Late Junction. This will give you an indicator of how hard I found the CWIF problems - maybe because I was climbing in a kilt, maybe because it was warm, or maybe because I'm just weak on plastic - but I managed a 7B in two tries at Curbar, but couldn't for the life of me get past the second move on a 6A+ in the Climbing Works - having failed three times in a row.

Anyway, after Late Junction, and no one else in my party showing much interest on getting on anything in particular, I decided to be a little selfish and dragged everyone up the hill to Sean's Arete... another 7B but one that I had had two pretty poor previous sessions on. The day before, I had seen a video of someone sending the problem in just three moves, however, which refined my attempted beta significantly, and I wanted to give it another go. After a few goes, I found myself throwing for the juggy finish. Unfortunately, I rushed on my last go, slipped off a small pebble, which you've got to crimp pretty hard on, and skinned four of my knuckles. Ouch! I gave up there, blood dripping from my hand, and got pretty annoyed with myself.

Back down to the Works, and we got a decent standing position to watch the CWIF finals. It was a thoroughly enjoyable competition. Although I felt so sorry for Jakob Shubert and David Barrans on problem 1, as the tall guys all managed to make short work of it - sorry, bad pun! - with a lanky reach from a good foothold. However, the competition's two shortest male climbers did end up coming in first and second (Jakob and David, respectively), with only a single attempt separating them, so you can only feel so sorry. The women's competition was a fascinating display of technical climbing mixed with contortion and a great deal of strength thrown into the mix. Shauna Coxsey pulled it out the bag to retain her CWIF crown.

Unfortunately, the winner of the fancy dress prize part of the CWIF competition wasn't announced during proceedings, but we collared the Climbing Works general manager, Brian, and discovered our success - joint winners with Team Kiss. P.S. happy birthday Brian for yesterday.

And that concluded an epic weekend of rock climbing shenanigans. I can't wait for the next!