Exceedingly strong youths

29 September, 2014

"A day out with some exceedingly strong youths", James McHaffie tweeted, after spending last Saturday out on the rock with four of the 2014 BMC Youth Climbing Series (YCS) winners.

The category winners from the BMC YCS got to enjoy a 'masterclass' event in north Wales with climbing coach and top climber, James McHaffie, as part of their prize from DMM.

'Team strong' below Jerry's Roof at the end of the day © Ray Wood

A previous such event had taken place at the start of August [New Kids on the Rock - video] and this day was organised for the remaining winners who hadn't been able to make it; although nothing was going to get in the way of 12 year-old Hamish McArthur's enthusiasm to come along to both days.

Joining 2014 Boys Youth C winner, Hamish, were Emily Phillips (Youth C), Aidan Roberts (Youth A) and Flo Tilley (Youth A).

Starting at Bus Stop Quarry, on the slate, the group warmed up with a top-rope of Equinox (VS) and Solstice (HVS). James was keen to stress the importance of warming up properly to climb well throughout the day and avoid finger injuries; quoting that "damaged fingers make up around 40% of climbing injuries".

Flo Tilley edging up the 'kitchen surface' of Forsinain Motspur (7c) © Ray Wood

The outdoor experience of the youngsters varied a great deal. For young Emily she'd only been climbing outside once before and that was bouldering, while 16 year-old Flo had recently done Biological Need (7c) at Kilnsey. Hamish didn't get outside climbing as regularly as he'd like but had been working the famous Malham 8a, Raindogs, whereas Aidan had mainly bouldered, with a V11/8A (Stefan Grossman ss) already under his belt.

Emily Phillips making big moves between small holds on Beltane (7b+) © Ray Wood

Forsinain Motspur (7c) and Beltane (7b+) saw plenty of attention with Aidan impressively flashing both of them on a top rope. Flo commented that: "The slate felt like climbing on a kitchen surface".

The venue for the afternoon was the Cromlech Boulders in the Llanberis Pass. Classic problems such as Heel Hook Traverse (V4/6B), The Edge Problem (V5/6) and Johnny's Wall (V7) all saw ascents. Aidan made a particularly impressive teeth-gritting flash of Roadside Full Extension (V9/7c) - two days before his 16th birthday.

In fact, it took north Wales' answer to Midnight Lightning, Jerry's Roof (V9/7c), to stop Aidan. To be fair though, by the time the everyone was sat under it for a quick look to finish off the day, it wasn't surprising that fingers were tired and arms were starting to ache. Suitably inspired it's very likely they'll be back.

Aidan Roberts flashing Roadside Full Extension (V9/7c); Hamish McArthur pulling around the corner of Roadside Full Extension (V9/7c). © Ray Wood

Thanks to James McHaffie, the parents and above all, the "exceedingly strong youths", for making the day a great success.