On the 24 August 2015 myself and a team of 22 other people from all over the country left South Africa to go to the beautiful town of Arco in Italy for the first lead and bouldering world youth championships. The build up for this comp has taken well over a year of training and mental preparation as well as trying to balance school work and climbing. This was also the first time I was old enough to compete at an international level. At first the psych was really high, but after the excitement of this years Rocklands season and all the bouldering Cape Town has to offer I was much more psyched on doing the hardest moves I can outside instead of cranking in the gym. But slowly but surely as the days ticked past getting closer to the comp I started getting the psych back up, realizing how big of a deal this whole event is. It also didn’t help that this comp was in the middle of our school term and I had to miss two weeks of school to go.
On the Friday, the last day of school before I left as I walked out of my Geography lesson, the psych was so unbearable I could barely stand it! The Monday after that weekend we flew to Jo’burg for the Protea colours awards ceremony held at the Keg and Aviator pub at OR Tambo and flew to Abu Dhabi later that evening. As we arrived in Abu Dhabi I immediately whipped out my hackey sack after not hacking for a whole 8 hours and got a big group together in the terminal! we didn’t have a very long lay over, about 3 hours and then we were off the Venice. At first I wasn’t very impressed with Venice as we didn’t go into the city and I thought it looked a bit like Durban from the bus! but as we drove further west into the Dolomites the scenery got more and more beautiful. As we drove through Riva del Garda everyone was riding bicycles and our goal was to try find a single fat person in the whole town! Once we reached Arco, which is only about six kilometers away from Riva del Garda we checked into our hotel and ate some food. The next morning we decided to walk around the village and check out all the climbing shops. And what a range they had! it was endless! street upon street with at least twelve climbing only store on each. The La Sportiva factory shop and Wild Country shop were my favorite. By now, the comp was only two days away and we started preparing with some yoga on the park and then two, two hour bouldering sessions on the hotel’s boulder wall. The opening ceremony was the next night and we arrived half an hour late for it so my dad was waving our flag all by himself while we walked the 4 km that our hotel was away from the wall. The next day was the male bouldering. I’m not sure how prepared I was for this completely different style of bouldering compared to anything I’ve ever done. The worst part fro me was sitting in isolation the whole day hacking with the others. but eventually the time came for me to climb. As a came out for my first boulder, I could immediately see that it wasn’t my style. Crimpy, balancy and slabby… And so was the second boulder. The third was just plain weird, overhanging but a strange sideways dyno with your hands and feet landing on a big square volume. the fourth was more my style, I just didn’t really feel what hecict body tension was until I stepped off the ground on that boulder… I unfortunately didn’t make it into the semis so I had a few days to rest before the lead and speed climbing. The lead qualifiers was a flash based comp, meaning we didn’t have to spend the day in iso and we could watch the other climbers climb the route. The lead there was pretty much like a 15m high boulder problem with compression, gastons and all kinds of bouldery moves. I did okay in the lead surprisingly due to the year of bouldering that had come before that and the only thing that let me down was my endurance. Probably one of the reasons I did well is my La Sportiva Genius’s no edge technology, making even the worst of foot holds seem like jugs.
We stayed in Arco for another two days after the comp and then Liam and I and my parents cut it one day short and went to Venice for a night. What a beautiful city the canals and st. Marco square and Harry’s Bar were Ernest Hemingway sat and drank cocktails. My best memory was paying R62 for a coke and checking out Rupert Murdock’s yacht Vertigo. It
was time to fly back.
This comp had definitely been one of the greatest experiences of my life and has helped my knowledge and technique tremendously and I want to say thanks to everyone that made this happen. My parents, Grandparents, My sponsors and my coaches, Adam and Nick.
well congratulations if you’ve managed to read this far and thanks for reading my story!