Molly Thompson Smith

Molly Thompson Smith
Edinburgh EYC 2013

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Kranj WC + A bit of waffle

Crew
Although I had a fantastic start to the year, my luck didn’t really stretch out through the rest of the year. I had an amazing summer; stayed with some amazing people and experienced so much… but I wasn’t really training. No training = no improvement, and improvement was what I needed if I wanted to climb well. I had a disappointing run of competitions after Edinburgh: A couple World Cups with performances I’m not too proud of and a few European Youth Boulder Cups, which were average. I came home from summer having enjoyed myself but mainly outside the comps - pretty much because in my opinion I was climbing rubbish and getting poor results. But I managed to find some psyche from somewhere and was ridiculously motivated to train my hardest so I could ultimately come home from the World Youth Championships having made another final and potentially getting a medal. As I’m sure you’re aware, worlds couldn’t have been further from what I was hoping for. All in all, the trip wasn’t that fun, my climbing wasn’t great and I came home extremely upset and demotivated. The next few weeks were really hard for me; I know it sounds pathetic to be this upset about a few competitions but I guess it shows how much they mean to me. I was not psyched at all, especially for competitions. So doing some training before the BLCCs was hard. You’re probably wondering why I’m going on about all this but I think it’s important, as it’ll help you understand my head in the run up to, and during kranj. After I found out I was going to kranj I was dreading it… I didn’t want to perform badly; the disappointment from the previous comps and Worlds had really hit me hard. I had also wanted to take a break and rest so I’d hopefully be itching to get back to the wall again soon. I decided that I would just try and have fun and enjoy climbing in Kranj… not my normal way of looking at comps! So I went out with the team, aiming to have a good time.



We arrived the day before the comp and I actually wasn’t feeling nervous… the nerves did catch up with me on the walk to the wall the next day but I’ve had more intense nerves before. I think I wasn’t as nervous because I really love Kranj; the wall, the warm up area, the competition, even the hotel… just everything about trips to Kranj. It’s pretty cool to be staying in the same hotel as all the other teams, and it was nice to have some other youth climbers I knew from the youth circuit competing. 

I was up 1st… dun dun dunnnn! Most people absolutely hate being out first but I actually I was kinda happy. For me it meant I’d put less pressure on myself whilst sitting in the chair or on the actual route itself. I think I’ve been out first maybe once and that was in a youth comp, but I am always comparing myself to others and putting pressure on myself to climb as high as the people before me on the route. This time, I had no pressure and I was able to just climb the route and not be influenced by others. I really enjoyed the route; I think it was quite well suited to me and I managed to climb up to about 6 moves from the top. I was really pleased with my climb… though I think I could’ve got a few moves higher if I had seen the beta for the move I fell on. But there are always ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’!  I had a good score on the first route, leaving me in 16th place. (you can watch R1 below). All I needed was a decent climb on the second route and I’d qualify for semis, something that had felt so far away earlier in the season. Sometimes you get those routes where from the moment you step off the ground you feel uncomfortable and don’t like it… yep this was one of these routes and I knew I probably wasn’t going to climb as well as I should/wanted to. Nevertheless I managed to qualify in 19th place. I was super pleased and looking forward to the next round.
video

The Semi-Final route was long. It started on one part of the wall and traversed across the gap between the two lines and went up that line and again traversed out left a bit more near the top. The bottom didn’t look too complex and I climbed it pretty well. I managed to do a mini crux of coming up into the roof, threw out to a big ball and then was a bit stuffed feet wise. I came off kicking myself  (not literally!) because I didn’t really try that hard to sort myself and just kinda gave up… something I never do! But after watching a couple other girls on it, I saw an easer way to do the move. It’s always frustrating to see people do something and make it look easy in a way you didn’t spot. But all in all I was proud of myself for going to Kranj, climbing well on my first route and making the Semi-Finals.

I’m looking forward to a nice break over Christmas and to training hard and giving it my all next year… who knows what 2015 will bring!

Thanks a bunch to my sponsors:

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

My Grandparents :)



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Dealing with disappointment

Hannah gets her case! 
This year, the World Youth Championships was held in Nouméa, New Caledonia. For those of you who don't know where Nouméa is (I had no clue!), its a couple hours to the right of Australia... so literally as far as you can get away from the UK. I had high hopes for New Caledonia; after a strong, consistent start to junior season I was feeling confident. I don't really know how to go about writing this blog... I have so many thoughts and feelings that are difficult to get down and part of me still doesn't really know what happened or what to think of it.

My preparation for the comp wasn't ideal... about a month before we were supposed to leave my shoulder started hurting. So I saw a physio and was told to rest for a while and take it easy if I wanted to compete in Nouméa. This wasn't what I wanted to hear - I needed to be training hard and it was so hard not climbing for a bit. But nevertheless I followed the physio's orders and thankfully my shoulder felt much better quickly. I continued training and suddenly the day before we were to leave had arrived. The team came to the Westway for one last session and then it was off to bed ready for a verryyyy long journey the next day. 

We felt the need to be touristy ;)
We were so lucky to make it to Nouméa as planned... our first flight from London to Helsinki had been delayed by an hour and a bit and we were expected to land 15 minutes after our flight for Japan left. Luckily they held the plane for us as we ran through Helsinki airport. After 2 long flights and a stopover in Japan we arrived in Nouméa. Unfortunately our luggage had not arrived with us and was still in Helsinki. With only the clothes we had worn for the previous 32 hours we spent the next to days waiting for our luggage to arrive... and when it did it was honestly the best moment of the entire trip! We had a few days of chilling before the comp which included a few runs with Hannah, a boulder session on the warm up wall and snorkelling and swimming with turtles. 

The start of the comp arrived with the opening ceremony on the Friday night and I was given the honour of holding the flag. Saturday morning came and qualification began. My first route had a sketchy but alright start followed by a juggy roof section and a difficult, pumpy headwall. I don't think my warm up was too good for this route and I came off just coming onto the headwall. It wasn't a bad climb but it was by no means a good climb either. But i was in the top 26 and thats all that
Hannah and I had a lot of fun in the apartment!
mattered really. This WYCH didn't follow the normal format so both qualification routes were held on one day. I didn't really like this, especially as I was out 4th last so climbing around 9pm... the time I had had to have a mini nap every day before that. My warm up was much better for this route and I was feeling motivated to climb better than I had on my first route. I knew I could top this route but it just didn't happen for me. I climbed really smoothly up until coming over onto the headwall. Suddenly the holds got much smaller, which was okay as I felt okay. I made the big, awkward move off the volume boxes and onto the headwall and then the move after... but messed up the clip not once, not twice... but 3 times. And as you can imagine, after trying to clip a clip by your waist off of two slopers three times I got pumped. I managed to get the clip in but the next move was a big step up and lock and I just didn't quite get the hold, slow mo falling off backwards. Even though I was frustrated, I had done enough to make the semi finals in 16th place. 

The wall!
Semis were the evening after and I chilled during the day, doing some school work and hanging with the girls. This competition meant so so much to me. I had set myself a pretty hard goal last year, to make all the World Youth Championships finals in my junior career. I had made 3 so was half way there... and I was desperate to make the 4th one. The semi final route looked really hard. The start was completely my anti-style; very very techy and sketchy on button sized holds followed by a complicated and difficult to read volume bit in the beginning of the roof and then a wandering mini jugs trail that eventually made its way to the top. I was nervous... all I kept telling myself was 'don't drop it at the second clip'. I carefully made my way through the sketchy bit, taking my time in the difficult sections. I made it to the volume section at the beginning of the roof and must've spent at least a minute there just trying to work out how to get around these boxes... I honestly don't know what I was doing taking that long to get on with it, looking back. But I eventually just sorted myself out and made it through the boxes. By the time I had got past them I was pretty pumped and only managed a few more moves after that.

Qualifier 1
So Nouméa was a disaster for me... and I hope I don't offend anyone when I talk about this as I'm sure some people would be happy with 18th but I'm really hard on myself and always want to push for top results... so I was disappointed. I'm working on dealing with disappointment and trying to turn bad performances into something constructive. As you might have seen I've started tweeting a quote of the day which helps me look forward and think positively and not be dragged down and back by disappointment and difficulties. It was hard for me watching the finals as I wanted to be in it so badly. I know everyone says this but I genuinely looked at the route and thought I could climb really well on it and that it suited me... which was pretty much the only route I thought this for in the comp! But it was great to see William representing in the Male A finals and unfortunately it didn't go as we had all hoped for him but he still climbed so well and finished in a great position.

This was quite a long blog so well done and thanks for reading if you got this far! ;) I just want to say a massive thanks to my sponsors as without their support I wouldn't be able to do what I am doing now!

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

My Grandparents :)




Friday, 5 September 2014

A Visit to the Covent Garden Berghaus Store

At the end of my summer holidays, I visited the Covent Garden Berghaus store. It was so great to meet the lovely staff that worked there and clearly knew everything there was to know about every little detail and technicality for all products... it was impressive! It was also awesome to check out Berghaus' new AW14 range, which was full of bright colours and just generally fantastic products. Berghaus had thought of everything with these products... from things like raising the pockets on jackets so they are usable with a harness on to longer sleeves for climbers. Thanks for your support Berghaus!

Myself and David :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Another long trip - This time... Austria

Route 1 in Imst 
After being at home for only 5 days, I headed out to Austria for 2 more competitions – the first a World Cup held in Imst and the second a European Youth Competition in Längenfeld 2 weeks later. I will be brief: Imst was another disappointing competition for me… in fact all of the World cups have been disappointing.  I’m not saying I expected to go out and find the compeititons a walk in the park, I just know I didn’t climb as well as I could’ve.

Training in Vienna with Georg
The conditions in Imst were pretty good; Sunny but the air was fairly cold so friction was high. The first route was quite techy and I managed to get through half of it before feeling the pump kick in. I found that clipping really messed me up in this competition; on the first route where I fell, you had to get a clip from a certain hold otherwise it was too far to reach from the next holds. I felt too pumped to get the clip from the awkward crouched on a volume position and so went for the next hold but by then the clip was out of reach and there was no way I could continue. Again I messed up a clip on route 2 which was, frustratingly, more my style and I think I could’ve got pretty high on if I hadn’t have gone passed the best place to clip a draw from. This meant I wasted energy climbing up and down to try and clip and when I did get the clip in I had become too pumped and fell on a hard rollover 2 holds higher.
The Längenfeld competition wall

After Imst I was very motivated to train hard and was looking forward to spending the two weeks between the World Cup and the EYBC in Austria. It was so cool to use their amazing facilities and visit walls in Vienna and Mitterdorf. And I even managed to climb on some rock too!

I really wanted to improve on my performance in L’Argentierre and my goal for the competition was to make the top 10. I really enjoyed the set and felt pretty strong on most problems. I got off to a good start but started making errors and slipping. I finished with 6 tops in 9 and all of the bonuses. Unfortunately this was not enough for finals but it did mean that I had achieved my goal, finishing in 9th place. I was pleased to have achieved my goal but not satisfied. I was so close to finals; I needed one more top and on my flash go on boulder 2, I fell after touching the last hold which if I'd have topped would've pushed me into finals. Every other go on that problem my foot popped. This was really frustrating for me as I was so close to making the finals and when it comes down to things like foot slips which can easily be avoided it makes it even more annoying. Sadly Längenfeld was my last international boulder competition of this season but I wish the boulder team the best of luck for the European Championships in Arco in a couple weeks!

Crew in Längenfeld
Focused! Picture by Heiko Wilhelm

Now I’ll focus on lead again as the World Youth Championships is quickly approaching! With a month to go I’m extremely motivated to get that last bit of training in before we literally travel to the other side of the world to Noumea (New Caledonia).

Finally I’d like to say a massive congratulations to Will Bosi for his well deserved 2nd place in Längenfeld, and Tara Hayes and Max Ayrton for their strong performances in the finals J

Thanks for reading!

And thanks to my sponsors:

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

My Grandparents :)


Saturday, 26 July 2014

France Blog

Chilling in the apartment in Chamonix
Supporting the boys in Chamonix during qualifications 
My journey started on the 9th of July with an early flight to Geneva. The first of my 3 French comps was the Lead World Cup in Chamonix. I was really excited for this one, as I’d never been to Chamonix and the wall looked amazing. We arrived the day before the men’s quails to miserable, grey conditions... not what I’d been hoping for! The weather stayed like this for the whole trip, which was quite disappointing, but bearable on women’s qualification day (Men’s was horrific; rain and super cold temperatures). For me Chamonix was a disappointing comp… I knew I wasn’t as fit as I’d like to have been and that the routes would be hard. The first route was average – I fell at a cruxy section where you had to spin so that your feet faced the audience and work them around, eventually spinning back around. So yeah, confusing. The second route I felt pretty good on and knew what I had to do…. But decided not to do it and put a toe hook rather than using a heel, resulting in a fall. So I was very disappointed with my climbing in Chamonix but enjoyed watching the very wet and cold finals! Such a great atmosphere despite the dreadful weather.

Chamonix Qualifications Route 1

Sunday came and once my dad arrived to join myself and my coach (Rob), we drove to Briançon. The week between the comps was a relaxed and very hot one! We managed to get out on a bit of rock, doing some easy routes and a few hardish boulders but it was high 30s every day. It was also super cool to watch the French National comp that was held on the Briançon wall a couple days before the world cup.
Route 1












A couple days later I was the one competing on the Briançon wall. My routes looked incredibly hard with superstars like Dinara Fakhritdinova only getting just above the half way point on the wall on route 1. Warming up I felt psyched but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be and I didn’t get very far on either route, falling on crux moves just before the big rest jug. My performance was frustrating but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the semi finals which had been brought forward to that same night as the qualifiers.  This was a good decision as the finals the next day were cancelled due to a horrific storm. They semis had the atmosphere of a finals so it was amazing to watch and really made me feel psyched again.

Climbing on warm rock!
Lonely Brit - Presentation in Briançon
On Sunday I joined the youth boulder team in L’Argentiere La Bessee, a short drive from Briançon. Our pad was amazing and we had a few games of darts, jungle speed, many horror film viewings and even a BBQ. I had so much fun on this trip and I was with a bunch of really great people. The comp started on Tuesday… and it was hot. I found it pretty hard to climb when the sun came out; I could really feel it zapping my energy and my shoes felt smaller than ever. The blocs were hard but I think the set kind of suited me. I managed 3 flashes, a hard bloc 3rd go and another bloc which started with a sidewards dyno into a slanted volume and round hold on my last attempt. I was really pleased I could do that bloc as jumping is not my thing! 2 more of the blocs I think I could’ve done if I had had more time. It was an interesting qualification round and I could really see the things I needed to work on and become more comfortable with.


Overall I had a tough climbing time in France but really enjoyed hanging out with my friends. I am really excited to go home and train with a new attitude. Things are going to get much harder!

I’m looking forward to going to Imst for the next World Cup next weekend and then staying out in Austria until the next youth boulder European competition in Laengenfeld.

Thanks to my sponsors:

Lyon (La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal)
Berghaus
NuLine
Natoora
Michael and Lauren Clancy
Sports Aid
Sport England
Westway Development Trust
My Nanny and Grandad :)



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Getting a feel for rock

Bouldering at Carrock 
So after the EYCH in Edinburgh I headed back up North to the Lake District, home of the Hitman (aka Liam Halsey) and his girlfriend Lucy with my coach Rob Russell. I was spending a week at Liam's so I could get out on some rock. The trip wasn't focused on me 'sending hard things' or 'crushing', I just wanted to experience the whole process of going out climbing for a day or week. And I can definitely say it was very new and uncomfortable!

After a 5 hour drive we arrived at the Hitmans, had some pie and headed off to Carrock for an afternoon/evening of bouldering. I was still tired from the Euro champs and so I was relieved to find out the walk to the boulders we would be climbing was really short. We warmed up on some easy blocs and then moved onto less basic things. I really enjoyed the bouldering on rock and found it pretty similar to indoor bouldering.
Having some fun ahah



Climbing Pierrepoint at Gordale

Tuesday saw us travel to St Bees for a day of bouldering by the sea. The weather was absolutely amazing which is why we decided to go there. The approach was a bit sketchy but I loved St Bees so much; the rock was so attractive and the moves really cool. I enjoyed climbing everything - from the really basic blocs to trying much harder problems. I especially enjoyed working 'Headbanger' - the first move was the hardest for me and after some helpful beta from Dan Varian I managed to get it many attempts later. I also had a play a few other harder blocs and had fun trying to make up new sequences to make the moves easier or more doable for myself. My favourite problem I tried and watched Liam demolish was 'Floating Points'. It was like a board problem... so my favourite type of bouldering!

Pierrepoint, Gordale
The next day we travelled up to Malham. It was really hot and the midges were out in full force meaning we bailed after one route. Although I didn't get to climb anything the rock looked really cool and hopefully I'll be back soon! We moved over to Gordale after an ice-cream and tea break. I found it so much harder getting used to climbing on a rope outside... I would look at the wall or look at Liam climb something and not see anything... it was just blank to me. This meant that I was just patting around on every route ha! Obviously I will get better at seeing things over time but it was something I struggled with. It was great watching Rob and Liam climb... it was clear they were very experienced and knew how to read the rock so it was really helpful being able to try and learn from them.


Thursday we were lucky enough to visit the Lyon HQ in Tebay and have a tour... it was really nice and interesting to see what actually happens behind the scenes! So thanks so much Lyon for having us and Corin for the t
Beta from the Hitman
our! We also picked up some amazing gear which was so good to use. After, we travelled up to Troll Gill (not sure of its actual name!) and again had to bail due to ridiculous midges
. It was really frustrating to walk in to the crag and see how cool the rock and the lines looked but be so distracted by the midges and have to leave. But thats just how it is sometimes. It was nice to have my first rest day in a while anyways!

Friday we decided a day of bouldering would be best and hopefully the midges wouldn't be so bad. We spent most of the day at Virtual Crag which took me a while to get used to the rock. I found it quite sharp and the holds uncomfortable. But I got used to it and managed to do a few cool blocs which was fun :) Afterwards we headed to Langdale boulders and lazed around in the sun (and did a bit of climbing!).

La Sportiva Katanas ft. Rob



Saturday we retuned to Gordale to get another ropes day in. Rob thought it'd be cool for me to have a play on the famous 'Supercool'. It was such a nice route with really really cool moves. I really want to get back to Gordale again and get on the route again some time.

Sunday we drove home, myself and Rob both shattered! It was really nice to experience a week outside and I certainly learnt a lot! It was pretty uncomfortable for
me at times as I'm used to a nice café on site or at least some toilets! And walking through glass
Chillin at Virtual Crag
doors to get to the wall rather than a half an hour walk in! But I'm really glad I've had a proper introduction to rock climbing and I plan to get out a lot more and get more confident on the rock!

Big thanks to Liam and Lucy for putting me up and to Rob for putting up with me for a whole week too!
And a massive thanks to Steve and the Lyon guys for all the awesome gear and also to Berghaus for the super comfortable clothing.


                                                       
Trying hard on 'Floating Points' at St Bees.

Thanks to my sponsors:

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



And to Rob and Liam for the pictures