I just came back from a one week climbing trip in England. Our base camp was a small Hotel in Sheffield and from there we could easily get to the best gristone areas in the Peak District! What a beautiful area is the Peak! Miles and Miles of green pasture lands with these sporadic canyons and rock cliffs and of course big boulders! But fist let's talk about the comp in Sheffield last saturday!
Well it was actually a great competition, everything was organized perfectly and the gym is definitely the biggest and nicest I've ever seen. The qualification format was lots of fun for everybody, 30 blocs in 5 long hours, 3 attempts for each bloc. At the end of the qualifications I was in 8th place with all the problems but two! Almost all the strongest were qualified for semifinals.
During the qualifications there was a "Team Comp"! I was proud to represent the Climbing Works Team AKA Team WAD togher with Stew Watson Stefane Julien and Sabby Bacher!... And of course we won ahead of Team France and Team Beastmaker!!
Semi was in World Cup's format, 4 blocs/5minutes(or 4 I don't remember) with 4 or 5 mins in between each blocs. They were perfect and all but one very hard but possible were climbed. I got in the finals at 5th place, last spot for the finals.
In my opinion I've been very lucky because I couldn't climb the easier problem on the slab but I climbed the two other blocs very fast.
Finals were just after the free BBQ offered by the organization! Everybody in the finals was very tired after the long day but we tried to do our best! I climbed first and I was the only finalist to flash the first two blocs. I tried hard on the last crazy problem(with a "feet first start") but I was completely cooked.
Gerome Pouvreau was still fresh enough to easily flash the last problem and won with style!! So impressive...good job dude!
To finish the day in the right way everybody went to the Culture Club in Sheffield Center for a great dancing party...ohhh yesss!
Sunday was a rest day for me due to burning muscles and skin and hungover but I went to Stanage to enjoy some sun and staying with my friends. The rest of the days we stayed in England we tried to climb as much as possible without getting too much wet... In fact almost everyday it rained at least a couple of hours but before or after showers it was possible to climb in not too bad conditions thanks to the wind!
We visited all the classic areas like Stanage Plantation, Burbage, Curbar, Black Rocks and Raven Tor!
Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to try some of the hardest problems due to little time and bad conditions and skin but I had lots of fun climbing on the easier classics! Some of the best I did are Brad Pitt, Deliverance, Ben's Wall, Buckstone Dyno etc.
Well I also checked some of the best "Hard Grit" routes around and I'm really syked to return in October hopefully with a better head and better experience in trad... We will see!
But first I'm sure I will be in Sheffield again in july for the Bouldering WC and possibly I'd like to climb a few days on the limestone where some of the first hard routes in the world were born!!!
to read more about Gabriele, check out his blog