Tuesday, October 11, 2011

STS - Ice Factor, Kinlochleven

Yay, I won!
We're just back from yet another adventure: Scotland :)

Dennis was lucky (I guess) as he got an 'experience' for his birthday instead of something material like a watch, climbing shoes or whatever. I gave him a ticket to Scotland so we could join the Scottish Tooling Series in Ice Factor (Kinlochleven).

Last year we joined the STS in Edinburgh and Bill Davidson convinced me we should come again this year.
I just gave Dennis the ticket and that was it.
We both don't have the money for hotels, rental cars and all other luxury stuff. So we had to bivouac and rely on amazing friends.
(Thanks guys, your all welcome in our home close to Rotterdam!)

We flew to Edinburgh on Thursday and had 1,5 days to spent in Edinburgh.
We walked around, looked if the castle walls were climbable, found ourselves soaked before we could even try to get close and figured pizza was a better option then deep-fried haggis.

That eve we went to the funniest photo lecture we'd seen for ages and enjoyed the good memories of last years world-cup season when watching Lukasz Warzecha's pictures and lecture for the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival.
We slept somewhere around Ratho climbing gym (can't tell you where, it's our secret dry-place) and went climbing in the HUGE hall the next day.
Around 1 we were picked up by one of the STS organisers, Neil Silver. We drove all the way to the other side of Scotland, to the tiny theres-nothing-to-do-there-except-climbing-village Kinlochleven. It was rainy but just good enough to walk around and enjoy the beautiful Scottish Autumn landscape (really, if you're into walking you should do walk the West Highland Way)
That night we were lucky, no bivouack
ing for us as we could stay in
Simon's campervan (owner of Big Tree Campervans)
waauw, luxury and a good preparation for the next day!

Saturday was competition day. Together with at about 60 other competitors we climbed the 15 qualification routes.
All kinds of Scottish (and English, American...) Winter climbers joined the comp. It was fun to be around so many different Winter climbers all sharing the same passion: iceclimbing.
It made this tingly feeling come up again, the feeling that tells me I should start to prepare for the coming Winter, the feeling that says iceclimbing is so cool!
We were happy to see Malcolm [Kent] again and climbed together for the day.
Malc popped off a hold in one of the routes and later on the day I popped off a hold as well...a second go gives you 3 points less then a first go so our end score was just 3 points lower then that of Steve and Dennis who both made it to 150 points (10 points per route)

Then up to the finals. I had a mission: beat Dennis...something I wasn't sure of if it was possible :)
See the full results here.
I got quite nervous there in the isolation together with these strong climbers...
It was my turn, after the other girls had just finished and I already had sweaty palms before I even started climbing...
I was slow, but that was allright as I had 8 minutes to finish the route. I came all the way to the top. The only thing left was the final clip that would make a finish to the route. I struggled for 3 (!) minutes on that last move, figure-of-four, pull-up, figure-of-nine, pull-up again and on it went, I hugged the log, tried to stand on the wall, locked-off even more, but I didn't see a chance to get close to that last clip far away on that wall...Frustrated and confused as I was I had to let go, not because I was pumped but because I was out of time...no top for me! Shit...I guessed Dennis with his length could easily make that clip, and Malc with his enormous strength could do the same... I watched Malc and Steve both struggling to get that last clip...and failing...But Dennis...he hugged the log, could stand up, reach and...clipped.
That made the highest score of us all...and he'd beaten me again.
So now I can really say Dennis: you're a better drytooler then me ;)

That evening we learned how to drink Scottish beer and Dennis got a proper lesson in drinking al kinds of nasty stuff...and Whisky.
We learned that skiing down stairs is forbidden in Scottish pubs and that you can make amazing art from candles and lollipops. The music was surprisingly good for a local band (with the local supermarket cashier as lead singer, the chef of the climbing wall on guitar and other locals on drums, guitar and more)

The next day we climbed...or we tried...tired as we were of the beer the late night and the rain (Dennis and I bivouacked in the rain) ... We drytooled at Birnam Quarry (near Dunkeld) and Dennis actualy managed to climb the M10(+) 'Fast & Furious'. I was tired, knew my attempts were limited and failed in my third go :(

Fun and friendly as everyone was, we were invited to stay at Lindsay & Beth that evening. They cooked us delicious chicken and we even got a bedroom!
Beth and Lindsay drove us to Ratho where we took a bus to the city centre. We bought some new 2nd-hand books for this Winter (we like to read English books) and then it was already time to leave Scotland again.

Next time I hope we can do some real outdoor Winter stuff as well :)

Soon (hopefully tomorrow if it all works out) an video of our trip :)

But now still a video of my previous adventure, the LMC (see blog post underneath)

Pictures: Dennis&me, and Steve Lynch.

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