Nail-biting finale to hotly contested STSby Fiona Russell Dec/2010
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Edinburgh International Climbing Arena witnessed a thrilling and nail-biting finish to this year's Scottish Dry Tooling Series on Saturday (Nov 27, 2010).
The five-contest climbing series, which has been played out over the last six weeks across Scotland, attracted international climbers, as well as some of the UK's climbing stars. The final, held at the stunning EICA Ratho arena, saw the best males and females in two age categories and junior climbers battling it out for the top prizes. Winners in each category won a three-day campervan hire holiday courtesy of Perthshire-based Big Tree Campervans.
On Saturday, climbers had to solve 15 challenging routes. Competitors who climb the highest without a fall made it through to a final ascent on the overhanging 25m wall.
This final round was crucial to deciding the series champions for 2010. After five rounds of competition, the men's category was a dead heat with climbers Pete Rhodes and defending champion Steve Johnstone sitting on the same score.
A head-to-head super-final between the two saw a nail-biting finish as Johnstone, 29, climbed the highest overcoming obstacles such as tenuous small holds, hanging wooden logs and rope netting.
Neil Silver, STS director, said, "The final climbs were spell binding and thrilling. It was fantastic to see the climbers really pushing themselves to their limits."
Yesterday Johnstone, originally from Edinburgh and now living in Aviemore, said, "This is a fantastic competition and I'm really pleased to have won.The routes were awesome, especially the last one, but I had a great time."
The senior female winner of the series was Karen McIntyre, of Glasgow.
The 19-year-old student said, "The routes were really good. A great mix that was suited to all abilities. It feels brilliant to have won after all the rounds in this year's series."
In the junior male and female categories 14-year-old Dylan MacKenzie and 12-year-old Sophie Harper were the series winners respectively.
The STS 2010 male veteran winner was Steve Lynch, while in first place in the female veteran class was Fiona Murray.
On the day, the winners of the Ratho competition in the male and female categories were Dennis van Hoek and Marianne van der Steen, both from the Netherlands.
van Hoek said, "It's the first time I've made it to this Scottish competition and I think it is very good. I have never seen a rope net on the climbing wall but that made it even more of a challenge. I am very pleased to have won the competition today and will aim to come back next year for the whole series."
Along with Dennis and Marianne, some of the other top climbing names to compete on the day included Malcolm Kent and Rob Gibson.
Congratulations to all climbers who made it through the wintry conditions to take part in the competition. Thanks to Euan Whittaker and Greg Boswell for the fantastic route design and to top Edinburgh DJs including Trilogy (resident at the Sugerbeat Club), as well as the STS filmhouse screen showing inspirational climbing from Scotland and around the world, for keeping us all entertained throughout the day.
Ian Parnell, who also gave a fantastic lecture after the competition, and Simon Yearsley, of Big Tree Campervans, presented the prizes for the series.
Results (Scottish Tooling Series 2010):
Results (Scottish Tooling Series - Round 5):