Scottish Tooling Series Underwayby Neil Silver Nov/2012
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"The dry-tooling comp was a perfect day in that the balance between challenge and fun was held - in other words it was worth attempting almost every problem, and I even flashed a few. The chat between spectators and competitors was good and the finals were spectacular. I can't believe how perfectly set that route was. I was delighted to be able to take four lads along who've never dry-tooled before and that they were welcomed and not entirely crushed. In fact, they have been busy over the weekend trying to wriggle out of every other social engagement they have for the next three Saturdays! Bring it on"
Rosie Goolden - MIC (First time STS Competitor)
After the icy blast at the end of October which allowed some climbers to get out on the hill, November and warmer, wetter conditions arrived and coincided with the first event of the 2012 Scottish Tooling Series at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. The Scottish Tooling Series has been running since 2008 and gets together a group of active climbers to test or train their skills and condition ready for the winter season ahead in an atmosphere of friendly competition.
Starting at 9am on Saturday morning, competitors were eager to get underway on the15 qualifying routes set up by STS routesetter Kev Shields and his team. The routes covered a multitude of styles and challenges with ice routes, boulder problems, sketchy traverses and full-on power test-pieces all designed to work the mind and body to separate out the competitors and select the best climbers for the finals.
The youth finals were up first with a sketchy traverse leading into a top-roped finals route which taxed even the best adult qualifiers earlier in the day. All of the youth finalists gave it their best with the help of an enthusiastic crowd. James Mortimer showed his grit despite popping off the traverse managed to gather his composure restart within his time and gain the high point turning round the placements from the qualifiers.
The adult finals started and the intensity increased with each climber's display pushing the route further onto the overhanging articulated wall. Fiona Murray made a great push into the no-mans land to seal her first win of the season in the adult female category.
Harry Holmes, the top qualifier in the male category, made an awesome effort but took a fall on the last big move three holds from the top and Stevie Johnstone took a delicate approach to the climbing and with a couple of fig-four moves finally put the route to rest topping out and winning the first event of the 2012 series in style.
The prize giving and party in the Ice Factor bar followed giving us a chance to wish Kev Shields happy birthday on a day that he had worked hard to make the first STS event of the season go off without a hitch.
The series continues on Saturday 17th at the Glasgow Climbing Centre, when the morning will feature two masterclass sessions before the competition gets underway.
The next event is in Aberdeen (24th November) and the series concludes with the final event at Glenmore Lodge on the of December including High and Dry - a Lecture by Will Sim.
Results for the various categories
The Scottish Tooling Series is Sponsored by Petzl and Big Tree Campervans and Hot Aches Productions.
For more details and full results visit www.scottishtoolingseries.co.uk