IFSC European Championship

The international season started last week with the European Bouldering Championship in Innsbruck (Austria). I am often alone to represent Belgium in senior bouldering competitions, but this time we were a team of 4 climbers : Lukas, Stéphane, Loïc and myself. The qualifications took place on Thursday, the semi-finals on Friday evening, and the finals on Saturday evening.

I decided to wake up early on Thursday  to support our men. Lukas climbed well for his first participation in a senior international competition, Loïc solved 2 problems (and reached his personal target). The best result was achieved by Steph, who topped 4 of the 5 boulders and obtained his ticket for the semi-final.

In the early afternoon, it was my turn to go to the isolation. My waiting time wasn’t too long  as I was climbing eighth in group B. I managed to top the first 3 boulders in 4 attempts. Unfortunately, it took me too much time to understand the right method for the 5th problem and I didn’t solve it. I was disappointed to finish 21st  and to realize that if I had flashed boulder N°2 instead of topping it in 2 attempts, I would have been in semi-final. I was physically in good shape but I wasn’t qualified because of  « small mistakes ». The lesson learned is that I still need to improve my on-sight climbing.

Friday was for me a rest day, during which I studied before going at the Tivoli gym for belaying Loïc, Tijl and Alizée. In the evening, we returned in front of the competition wall to shout in order to motivate Steph in the difficult men's semi-final. He finished 13th thanks to a top in the last problem, a difficult boulder even for the best climbers of the competition.

 

Unterholz8

As the weather forecast was improving, we decided to take the crash pads and to drive to Zillertal on Saturday. But when we left Innsbruck, the sky was still cloudy and the air was very humid after the rain of the previous days. We decided to try our luck at the sector «Magic Place», where there was a big overhanging boulder which was looking relatively dry and was featuring several lines between 6B and 8A+. I had been there 2 years before with Christophe Depotter, Loïc Timmermans and Nicolas Farcy, also after an international competition in Innsbruck. But I had not climbed on that boulder which was too high and too difficult for me at that time.

I warmed up in "Dynafit", a 7A on the right side of the boulder before topping "Big Stender", a 7B with one dynamic move on edges. I then decided to try "Unterholz8" (8A) which was looking really nice to climb on but also a bit scary : the top was rather high and in case of fall in the last moves, I or my spotter had a big chance to fall into the water. The most difficult section was in the first half, when the climber is very tight on small holds. The second half was easier but it was still possible to fall because of the tiredness of the arms, and the stress caused by the fear of falling. I tried all the moves of the first section and when I found the methods, it took me 3 attempts to reach the top !

I am very proud to become the youngest Belgian woman ever reaching the eighth level in bouldering.