2014: What a year.

2014 Started just like any other year, with lots of training to be done for the National para climbing series which started in March. This year i entered two of the comps I (missed one due to pre-booked family holiday). These went well, i finished 3rd in the first one and 2nd in the last one. As a result i was reselected for the 2014 team. well pleased. Then more or less straight away it was off to Imst, Austria for my First away IFSC comp. The nerves were still there a bit, these were made a bit worse by the fact i was last out of everone, and most people had topped out. This would be the first time i would have Mark McGowan as my caller.

Mark McGowan @markmcgowan01

Things went well and i topped all 3 routes on day one. Day two went well. Overall i came 3rd. Then it was off to Arco, Italy. This time only 2 routes. Luckily the weather was not too hot. I came 2nd. Then less than 2 weeks later it was off to Gijon, Spain, for the world championships. Once again i would have Mark as my caller, Like in Arco i was not sure how i would manage as i had hurt my arm and only climbed about 8 times in 7 weeks. I was ok with how it went, but felt I was not at my best. Came 3rd and now have a world ranking of 3 in the B2 category.

Podium positions

Back home for more training before the last comp of the season in Sheffield, England. This was my best one so far as i came within 1point of being first. While all this was going on i was still climbing and leading in the UK. Earlier in the year I had attended 3 of Crack School Masterclasses with the Wideboyz, as these events support the GB Paraclimbing team. Thanks Guys. I will be back in  2015!

After the Lead season had finished I decided to try my hand at dry tooling. This is even harder as i cannot see where the end of the pick is, so you can imagine how slow and still i have to be while waiting for my caller to tell me where it is so that it can go into that moving bit of chain, whilst on an overhang. But as a result of entering the BTS  i hope i have put myself in a good position to be picked for the first GB Para ice team.

Dry tooling at Rope Race

Then in early December i went to the French Pyrenees with Mark and Jamie Owen @Jayowzen, this was to be a week of sport climbing. I’m always a bit nervous about going to new crags. It’s not the people i go with but the walk in. I’ve been to crags where it can take me an hour or more to get there. No fun at all for me or the person who is guiding me. No prooblems this time a straight forward walk down a track and 15min later we are there. I must admit sport climbing was not high on my list.  It seems scary, in that i have to clip where the bolts are. I find trad climbing easier, and less scary, even if there is more than a few metres in between nut placements. I guess i feel more in control.The weather was ok, some days were wet but all days were cold. We even had snow. We started with a 5c as our warm up. This went well and after working this one we then went on to redpointing it (me and Jamie).  We then moved over to a 6a, and we did the same with this one and after a day or so, and weather permitting,  i managed to redpoint this as well.  I was very pleased with this, as this is my hardest lead to date. We then moved over to a 6a+ but by now the weather had turned. I hope to go back and do some more.
So that brings us to the end of 2014. I would like to thank all the people who have helped me over the year, especially those who have called for me, driven me to where I needed to be, the members of the Solihull Mountaineering Club, @wildcountryuk, @CraphoppersUK and @BearGrylls for my clothes, to all my followers on Twitter and Facebook, also the people who visit my Google+ page, a big shout for Jake @climb_out_of_it, but my biggest thanks goes to my wife for having to put up with me rambling on about my climbing for hours on end, thanks Anne.

So what will 2015 bring-hopefully a financial sponsor, more International comps, complete some climb 365 challenges for climb out, and some more great outdoor climbing where i push my grades higher and I also hope to attend some several of the WideBoyZ crack school masterclasses.
Oh and lots of training with my Coach and Caller, Mark. Bring it on dude! 🙂

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