17-year-old Hamish Mcarthur has ticked two 8c+/9as - Jungle speed (9a) and A muerte (8c+) - in Siurana, Spain in just two sessions per route, jumping from a previous personal redpoint best of 8a. Hamish is known for his junior indoor competition podium results, but this was his first serious sport climbing trip.
Hamish told UKC:
'I never really get the chance to climb on rock due to school, training and where I live, so I went into the trip with a big ticklist but few expectations. I hadn't done any lead climbing outdoors in over a year and my previous hardest grade was 8a due to not having tried anything harder.'
After a relaxed first day to ease himself into the Siurana style gently, Hamish tied-in for Jungle Speed 8c+/9a, formerly 9a. Two sessions later, he clipped the chains.
'To get on a famous 8c+/9a, Jungle Speed, and do it within two sessions came as a bit of a surprise. Maybe it was just a fluke?'
After celebrating the New Year, Hamish took a much-needed rest day after a lot of climbing and dancing before heading out to try A Muerte, as recommended to him by Will Bosi.
'This also falls between 8c+ and 9a, so a quick ascent of A Muerte (also within 2 sessions) solidified that it wasn't fluke and training on plastic really can get you strong for rock!'
2019 was a breakthrough year for Hamish on the international competition circuit. In August, he earned his first ever international podium place at the European Youth Cup (Lead) in Imst, Austria, before going on to place 2nd in the Youth A Boulder final in the World Youth Championships in Arco, Italy, in September and reaching senior semi-finals in Lead World Cups.
Watch this space for news when Hamish has time to put some 'real' effort in on rock...