If the first three events of the Scottish Series are anything to go by, there are going to be some seriously winter fit climbers on the hills right now. The series has been a great reason for people to get training early.
The banter and fun that has been had at the first three events has been building momentum and far from being an intimidating 'hard core only' driven affair, it has shown that climbers can have a great time supporting the newcomers as well as cheering on the veterans and fully hard core climbing gurus. Anybody who has been to the events so far will all have walked away with a feel good factor for climbers, axes and tooling. It has been GREAT!
Each venue has been very different from the route designs to the scoring systems. Avertical World in Dundee kicked it all off and set the standard by having a great variety of problems that challenged the experienced and newcomers. Edinburgh International Climbing Arena:Ratho had a scoring system where you could get 5, 7 or 10 points depending on where you got to on the route. This was great for those of us who were only able to get to the top of 4 of the 12 routes! We did not feel cheated on 'effort points at all'. Xtreme Dream had an array of hanging logs and boards that made the climbs varied, fun and a great spectator sport. How often do you see people upside down on a logs and swinging between obstacles with axes. It was fantastic.
Each event has great prizes from the sponsors but the excitement is now growing for the Scottish Series Title as there is starting to be a short list. The Junior category has some amazing climbers who can grunt and power scream better than most adults –and funny enough climb better than most adults. Dillan McKenzie, Steve Adisson, Ellen Barbour and Nicky Addisson are amazing role models for their ages!! The mens sports category is the largest and with some great biceps and techniques between them. They are showing all the signs of world class potentials. Rob McKenzie and Malcolm Kent fought it out to the edge on Saturday. As for the women, there are not many but they seem to be enjoying it a lot judging from the squeals and laughter. Fiona Murrey is leagues above anybody else but is not taking the title for granted and has performed like a true professional at all 3 events. The other ladies are now grappling for their guaranteed top 10 position, yes that is right , there are not many women. The same can't be said for the mens vets with George McEwan, Bill Davidson, Rauri Mckenzie to mention just a few who are running neck and neck.
So what next? This weekend ( Dec 6th) is the 4th event and it is being held at Glenmore Lodge. This will be different again as it is on granite towers outside and all the competitors need to wear crampons. Andy Turner, who has made his name this year as a leading mixed climber, will also be there running beginner and master class workshops and presenting a slide show on 'The Secret of Tooling'.
The following week (Dec 13th), the Series Final being held at The Ice Factor which will be great and followed by a suitably timed party to celebrate the end of the first Scottish Tooling Series.
For full details of both events visit www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/tooling. Places are limited so to book on please call 01479 861 for Glenmore and 01855 831100 for The Ice Factor.
BIG THANKS to the Scottish Tooling Series Sponsors: Tiso, Marmot, Grivel, Petzlcharlet, Climber Magazine, La Sportiva and the support of The MCof S.