Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Putting EYS Training to Good use at the Crag.
After competing in the Edinburgh round of the European Youth Series (EYS), Edinburgh based climber - Ross Kirkland joined myself and Adam Hughes on a short trad trip to Northumberland and the Peak. Ross Kirkland is 16 years of age and has been performing well on the British Junior Competition circuit for well over 8 years now, achieving some great results along the way like 2nd place in 2008 Team Trials and 8th in his first ever Senior British Lead Climbing Championships. This consistency lead to his selection in 2008 to the British Junior Climbing Team, thus allowing him to go on and represent his country in international climbing competitions.
Away from competition, Ross's other main climbing passion is trad climbing and he had been looking forward to putting some of the fitness gained through training for the EYS to good use on the rock. It has to be said though that bouldering is not one of Ross's strengths and he was curious to see how he would cope on the short powerful styles of climb found in Northumberland and the peak.
He need not have worried, as he took every thing in his stride and ticked his way through a very impressive selection of routes over the three days. The trip started off with a day at Back Bowden climbing with other Ratho instructors Pamela, Martin and Ally. Ross swiftly warmed up on the 'Arches' HVS 5a, then went on to solo the short and crimpy wall of 'Pin-Up' E2 6a. Ross stated that he really enjoyed both of these climbs, but was keen to attempt something a bit more challenging. Time for 'Lost Cause' E4 6b, a safe but brutally powerful and committing County Classic! If I am to be honest I thought Ross would struggle with the powerful nature of this climb! How wrong could I have been, with Ross making swift work of flashing it and even stopping mid route to remove his sweater (poser!). This was Ross's first E4 and was climbed in great style. Adam also had a great day climbing the 'Tube Direct' E5 5c, 'Lost Cause' & 'Uncouth Youth' E4 6a, all of which, Ross seconded. Ross finished off the day seconding me up the crags classics of 'on the Verge' and 'Right to Reply', both of which he cruised.
The second day saw us descend on Frogatt, keen to keep up the momentum of the successful first day. Ross had decided that he wanted to spend the day getting in some lower grade mileage. So he started off with a swift on sight of 'Strapiombante' E1 5b. His ideas for the day soon changed when he sat watching myself and Adam flailing our way up the huber Classic 'Stapadictomy' E5 6b. Realising it was safe, Ross decided to strap it on and give it a go. After a valiant flash attempt Ross dispatched the route ground up in good controlled style. Bearing in mind this is the boys' first real trip to the grit, this is a phenomenal achievement. Especially when you consider that he climbed his first E3 in June earlier this year. Ross basked in his glory and chilled out seconding Adam and myself on routes for the rest of the day.
We were joined on the final day by trad wad Tony Stone. Ross opted on a more chilled out session. Spending the morning bouldering around and climbing easier routes up to a grade of HVS. He rounded off the day with some exciting spotting duties while Tony on sight soloed the classic Pebble Mill E5 6b. Followed by seconding Adam Hughes' impressive lead of the same route. Sadly I didn't enjoy the same pleasure, managing to turn in to a gibbering wreck on the same climb, when I couldn't reach the final break, resulting in a rather feeble opt out for a safety line, much to the amusement of young Rosco! I will never forget looking down in a panic to see young Rosco rolling around on his back in hysterics. Loving how supportive my climbing partners are!!!!!
I was truly humbled by just how well young Ross performed on the trip, to tick E5 ground up on his first real trip to the grit is good going. I am sure there will be more big trad ticks to come from this young lad in the future.
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