" I arrived to catch the finals and was really impressed by the technical ability of the competitors and the difficulty of the final route set to test them. Winter climbing in Scotland can only benefit at all levels,from the confidence gained by taking part in these sorts of events!"
- Simon Richardson
The Scottish Tooling Series is successfully into it third season. Over the first three events a combination of great route setting, venues, growing support and enthusiasm has made it a great series so far.
Round 1 - Glasgow
The series kicked of at the Glasgow Climbing Centre and saw a great turnout with many familiar faces. Glasgow was the first climbing wall to hold an indoor tooling event back in 2003 and were more than happy to see its return. Pete Hill, one the coordinators of the STS series, set the routes which ranged from traverses, figure-4 problems, to longer roped routes on the main wall, one of which involved an inspired finish as you needed to end up sat on mountain bike suspended on the overhang! A good number of the general public came into the viewing area to watch and looked pretty bemused as to what was going on until they started to understand. The competition carried on, accompanied by some great tunes from the DJ, until the prize giving and finish at around ten at night.
Round 2 - Glenmore Lodge
Round 2 headed to the National Centre at Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore. With the hills and crags looking white, and the odd snow shower blowing through, it felt like just the right environment for a winter climbing event. The Glenmore event is the only one held primarily outside using crampons and utilising the granite towers. Scratching around on the granite towers gives a good reflection of Cairngorm mixed climbing and offers the perfect way to tune up for the coming season. Mark (Chadders) Chadwick did a great job route setting adding hanging logs and ice blobs and used the indoor wall to add a few problems. It was a great social event with plenty of time to have a chat visit the burger stand and check out some of the gear stalls. This event had a series of heats which culminated in the finals on the indoor wall seeing some great climbing with the likes of Scott Muir battling it out. Kev Shields was also there and when all the climbing was done laid out his lecture for an inspirational talk.
Round 3 - Aviemore
Transition Extreme was next up in Aberdeen. This was the first time they have held a national event and hence were enthusiastic about it. Pete Hill and John Felter did the route setting and created a great range of routes with some long and challenging routes on the main wall which led to a great final all performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
When the climbing was all finished Simon Richardson made an inspirational lecture, focussing on Scottish winter climbing and getting people fired up for the season ahead.
The Next Events
It is not over yet though there are still two more events to go. Next up is the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven - always a great event with a huge variety of problems, a few outside, some in and of course using the famous indoor ice wall. When everyone is climbed-out then it will be time to relax with a pint and listen to Andy Kirkpartirck's lecture.
That then leads us to the final at Edinburgh's Ratho which should be an excellent event. Ratho is a stunning venue set just outside Edinburgh and, being the largest wall in Europe, it should offer plenty to go at. Once again there will be a big name lecture with Ian Parnell giving a talk.
The series has really held on to being a fun event where people socialise and it feels ego free and inclusive of all abilities. This is reflected in the route setting with routes to suit all. The way the event works also means that you never feel under a pressurised competition atmosphere, instead you can mingle round and try routes when you want. But of course you can take the competitive edge more seriously if you want to and are feeling strong, then you will find plenty of tough competition.
Something that changes each year for the better is the young people competing seem to get stronger and stronger and they will certainly be ones to watch out for in the future.
For all the results and event information head to the STS website
Remaining series dates and venues
- Ice Factor November 13th
- EICA Ratho November 27th