Molly Thompson Smith

Molly Thompson Smith
Edinburgh EYC 2013

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Transition

As most people know, I’ve got quite the reputation for being a religious gym climber, plastic puller and even ‘fake climber’ to some. I’ve been climbing for 11 years now, with almost all of that being indoors in London.  My training partner when I was younger, Buster Martin, was very into climbing outside and would be constantly engaged in conversation with my coach about the routes he’d just heard of, projects he had,  and hard climbs he wanted to do one day. Being cold, uncomfortable and not being able to see the next hold never appealed to me at that age, and I felt a pressure to join the masses and climb some stuff outside. But I never felt as if I’d ever enjoy it or be able to climb/push myself as hard as I could inside – in my comfort zone.  I was constantly being asked when I was going to make ‘the transition’, or get into climbing outside and back then, funnily enough I hoped the answer was never! I was happy being Molly who only ever climbed inside and would be a comp climber for the rest of her life ha! So this blog is about the turning point for me, and about my newfound psyche that is pretty hard to get out of my head!

Apart from visiting Harrison’s Rocks when I was roughly 9, I count my first ever proper outdoors experience as a day spent on the grit at Stanage with the GB Junior Bouldering Team 2 years ago. I enjoyed the novelty of it all, but it was a little strange; this is what everyone raved about? Looking back I can only laugh at how wrong I was. The climbing was fun, the people were fun, the pads were a bit of a faff and it snowed so I was cold. Overall, a mixed day.
Goredale - Rob Russell

I decided to give it another go later that year with my two coaches at the time – Liam Halsey and Rob Russell.  I had been having a great season, with winning my first EYC and finishing 2nd in the European Youth Champs (both in lead), and thought with my current form and positive attitude I might find this outdoor psyche I was missing. It was a great week and I did enjoy bouldering in the Lake District and getting on some routes, but again I was a little uncomfortable, scared of falling on a rope, and annoyed at rubbish phone service. I went home having had a great time but ready for a break before I returned.

Kilnsey - Jim Pope
I tried Kilnsey next, with the experienced Jim Pope and Ian Dunn. This was a great 3 days where I tried a few routes, but wasn’t that keen to pull on more than a couple times a day – a mix of fear of falling/not knowing where I was going and lack of confidence I think. It was good fun but I still didn’t feel comfortable with not having bright blue blobs showing me the way, and with feeling so alone high up on routes.

Egöiste - Joe Swales (Font 2)
The next stage of my transition was my two trips to Fontainebleau. I went once in October last year, and again in March this year. These trips were pretty social, going with friends and having an attitude where I was psyched to have a go at stuff but wasn’t too fussed with what I got up and was cool with watching others climb hard. I did climb my first 7C on the first trip (Carnage sit) and was like ‘ahh that’s cool, wonder if there’s anymore I can do’… which there weren’t, and I wasn’t too fussed about it. The second trip to Font was a bit unfortunate; my good friend Aidan shattered his heel, Luke hurt himself (twice!), Joe pulled his hamstring and it rained for 7 out of the 9 days we were there.  So I came home having not climbed much but not caring that much again.

So… fast forward to July 2016….

A group of friends and I decided that Magic Wood would be a good summer destination for a climbing trip. I was keen to get away from the comp scene, be with friends and see what this place I’d seen plenty of vids about was like. I actually felt pretty psyched before I went out which was definitely a change! The long journey gave me an opportunity to look through the guide and actually create a list of stuff I wanted to try and get done, again a first for me. Whilst climbing in Magic Wood I learnt a lot; I learnt that sometimes things don’t always go in one session – a concept that was absolutely absurd to me previously as I was a firm believer of I can either do it today, or I cant at all! I also learnt how to full crimp (yes I know it took me a long time, - I grew up dragging), and also got an idea of what level I thought I was at outdoors. I noticed that I didn’t care that it was cold, or that I couldn’t get any service, or that sometimes I’d have to go for a ‘jungle pee’, or that I might have to walk 20 minutes up a hill to get to someone’s project… carrying pads too!!!  It was all part of it, and I was enjoying every single second of it. I didn’t want rest days to come, I wanted to try everything – even if it was cold, raining, too lanky, not my style etc… I realised that I actually enjoyed being outside with friends, and enjoyed having a crazy battle with a piece of rock (and sometimes succeeding).

Having a great time failing on Beach Mantle (6C) - Billy Ridal
So I’m not going to talk about all the things I got up in Switzerland, I’d rather you knew that I learnt things, and found the appreciation and enjoyment for climbing outside that I’d been looking for. I still get the ‘but you don’t climb outside!’ every now and again, but now I at least feel like that isn’t completely true, and that I can at least say that I really like doing it! 

Bit long but thought why not, it’s been ages since I last blogged! So well done if you got this far ;)

P.s I decided to dedicate my instagram page to climbing (mainly!) so if you want to see what I’m up to and where I am then follow @mollyts123 !!

And lastly, a massive thank you to my sponsors, especially ...

Lyon Outdoor
Sport England
Michael & Lauren Clancy

Thursday, 31 December 2015

First Time to Fontainebleau..

Beautiful scenery as we were getting lost! (JR)
During October half-term, I travelled to Fontainebleau with some friends for 9 days of bouldering. It was my first time going to Font, and my first trip abroad specifically or rock climbing! After a long journey we arrived at our place, almost opposite the lovely palace of Fontainebleau.

On our first day we headed to Bas Cuvier where the aim was to have a nice intro to Font style climbing – only 6's, no 7's. That lasted about half an hour; Aidan and Luke quickly dispatched L’Aerodynamite, a 7c classic. So the day changed to trying as much as we could in Bas Cuvier. I was amazed at the rock; not only was it beautiful to look at, it was so nice to pull on!! I really
Will holding my favourite hold in Font (right hand)! (CW)
enjoyed Bas Cuvier, and found it the best area for me out of all the places we visited over the course of the week. 

Spotting Kitty on Holy Moly (JR)
The first of my 2 favourite problems was Carnage – a name I’d heard before I visited Font. It was my style and I really enjoyed it's moves. One of my favourite things about this bloc is that at the beginning it had felt above my limit and I didn't think I'd be able to work out the right feet placement for me. But after working it for a while I managed to find a way. For the second move of the stand, I couldn’t lock it like the boys with a low foot, and couldn’t lock it with a high foot. After quite some time, I gave up trying to find some foot that would work for me and just flicked the move, catching it to my surprise. After a few more attempts trying to link the problem I managed to do it. The rest of the group had started working on L’hellicopter, another bloc I’d heard about before. I thought why not and joined them on it, but and falling off the last move, and watching everyone else take some interesting falls I decided that my one go was enough for me that day ha!  

My other favourite boulder, and the one I was most pleased with doing was Holy Moly, again at Bas Cuvier. It was something that took me quite a while to get, a problem that I knew I could do but just wasn’t doing! I have a short temper and short patience so I don’t really work things very often. It was good for me to practice this skill as I’ve learnt it’s something very important in outdoor climbing! It was a great problem and I eventually managed it with everyone's support and encouragement for me to keep at it!
Watching Aidan send Big Boss (CW)

The rest of the week I watched the boys send a lot of hard stuff, ate some baguettes and pulled on a few boulders. As much as I wanted to climb lots of hard stuff, I knew Font would be hard, especially the first time I was there and it would take some time for me to get used to climbing there. As well as this, I needed Font as a psychological break from competitions and training. The months previous to Font had been pretty heavy, hard and tiring and I was pretty done with the competition season. It was nice to be away with no pressures or stress and just enjoy climbing with friends!
Crew (CW)

Overall, the trip was great fun and I really enjoyed my time in Font. It was always impressive watching the others walk up things I'll return for one day! Thanks for a great trip guys!

But a massive thanks to my sponsors who've been the most amazing supporters this year!

Lyon Outdoor
Sport England
Michael & Lauren Clancy

And thanks to Carys Whomsley (CW) and Jo Robbings for the pictures (JR)... here's a few more of theirs!

Sale Gosse - Roche aux Sabots (CW)
Always smiling in Fontainebleau! (JR) 
Learnt how to do some of this... (JR)
Jo throwing shapes at Bas Cuvier (CW)
Getting stuck on Professional Killer - Cuvier Rempart (CW)

Noir Désir - Cuvier Rempart (CW)

Monday, 3 August 2015

A little bit of everything.

I haven’t blogged at all this year… hopefully this blog will make up for it. I haven't gone into much detail, just a brief summary.

Part1: Injury & Comps…

Me looking like I'm enjoying the final route in Imst (Tanya Rose)
JBBC Bristol final bloc 2 (Sandy Carr)
It’s been a busy year, not exactly in the way I had hoped as we moved into 2015. I was feeling really motivated for 2015 and loving training until my finger started to hurt. After countless visits to physiotherapists, doctors, team trainings spent watching everyone else climb and an MRI, the start of the season was getting closer and closer and I wasn’t even able to climb harder than a jug ladder. I missed the first EYC… it coincided with exams so that softened the blow, but it was my first ever EYC I’d missed.  It wasn’t long before I lost almost all motivation to keep on going, I couldn’t really do anything without this pain. After having some Shockwave treatment at Optimum Performance Sports Injury Clinic and seeing a physio at Appi Health group my finger started to feel like it was on the mend – I just want to say a huge thanks to these guys for all their support! Eventually, I started to push my finger and entered a number of comps including two Europeans where I placed 7th and 16th, and I entered 2 Junior British Bouldering comps which to everyone (and my own) surprise I managed to win. The injury taught me a lot… I was putting far too much pressure on myself to be perfect 100% of the time, I finally started to enjoy the actual climbing rather than be a robot and do competition after competition only thinking of those steps on the podium. This was quite a big turn around in my climbing. Competitions are no longer the be all and end all, just another part of climbing! I’m way more excited for rock climbing too!

Part 2: Kilnsey…

Comedy, Kilnsey (Jim Pope)
Last week I was lucky enough to get the chance to spend 3 days at Kilnsey with Ian Dunn and Jim Pope. It was great to watch these guys climb; they looked so experienced and comfortable on the rock, something I am yet to acquire! ;) Kilnsey was perfect for me – steep, a practically non-existent walk in, smooth holds! It took me a route or two to get into it but I really did love it. Ian gave me routes to try, saying I must get on a few of the classics! I managed to do Comedy, Dead Calm and Truth Drug to name a few but also was able to try a few others such as The Bulge (which Jim effortlessly topped 2nd go) and Dominatrix. I thought I'd leave the harder routes for the big boys to try! But I definitely want to go back soon!

To end, I thought I’d list a few things I’ve learnt from my little taste of outdoors:

1.     Routes take (me) absolutely ages to climb (in the eyes of a 6mins max comp climber). I still don't see 'holds' as such when I look at a rock face.
2.     Exact beta helps… a lot.
3.     The toilet situation is never going to be comfortable!
4.     You (well I!) will be pumped pretty much most of the way up a route.

5.     Everyone is mega friendly and helpful at the crag!

Now I'm back at The Westway training hard for the next EYC in Mitterdorf this weekend and the World Youth Championships in Arco at the end of August.

A huge thank you to all my sponsors for their support this year!

Lyon Outdoor
Westway Development Trust
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England

Thanks for reading :)


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2015 - The Roundup

Another year has passed and it only feels like it was yesterday when I was writing my 2013 roundup last New Years Eve! This year has been an interesting but I've got some great memories to carry forward into 2015. Like last year, I'll share my year in the form of pictures. I didn't realise how much has happened in the year since putting this together... its been long, so there'll be lots of pictures!

Helping out at Berrymede Primary School.
My last day of secondary school!

Walking through beautiful Innbsruck at the Lead training camp.
Big smiles at the Imst wall... one of my favourite pictures!

Featuring on Blue Peter with Radzi

I officially joined the Berghaus team!
My first bit of Grit action! 

Winning my first Gold medal in Imst
Imst EYC
European Youth Championships Final Route
EYCH Podium
Working 'Dark side of the moon' at St Bees
Hanging out at Gordale... check out that orange rope!
Big thanks to Lyon Outdoor for the awesome kit!
Competing in the Chamonix WC... harsh conditions!
Focus at the Briançon WC
Team ft. Mr CAC in L'Argentiere
Imst WC 
Training and Rock Climbing with Austrian Team member Georg Parma.
The WYCH wall in New Caledonia


The Financial Times Shot
Kranj WC
JBBC R1, Derby

Lastly I must say a huge thank you to all my sponsors for all their support this year!

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust

My Grandparents :)

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

P.S Cheers for all the photos from Rob Russell, Sandy Carr, Tanya Rose, Berghaus, The BMC, Up to Summit, The FT, John Ellison/CAC, Phil Waterhouse, Hannah Slaney, Eddie Fowke.