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Last weekend I entered the Climbing Works International Festival, the CWIF, for the first time ever. This is an unusual event that has grown and grown over the years to become one of the un-missable attractions on the climbing calendar.  This competition provides a unique opportunity for mere mortals to compete against the best in the world against the back-drop of a party atmosphere with music, a free bbq and plenty of goodies being given away to lucky recipients. This year the stakes were high with some of the best climbers coming over from nations such as Switzerland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Russia to compete.

Saturday dawned, and I realised my first mistake – entering the afternoon session of the qualifiers. I had envisaged a relaxing morning chilling out before the comp, but it turned out to be 4 hours of torture as I woke early and was psyched out of my mind so I couldn’t sit still long enough to do anything. When I got down to the wall to start, the Works didn’t disappoint. The route setters had done a blinding job with the problems, setting some truly innovative, technical problems which were a joy to climb. I cannot remember the last time I have had that much fun climbing indoors. There was also a fantastic atmosphere at the wall with people helping each other out and sharing beta with their rivals, something which surely must be unique to our sport. The CWIF also has a team category and, being somewhat shorter in stature that the average, my friends and I named our team the Midget Gems. Entering in a team makes the whole event even more fun as you can try problems together, sending up the best man (or woman) first to suss out the moves.

[caption id="attachment_5992" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Team Midget Gems Team Midget Gems[/caption]

My aim had been to try for a spot in the semi-finals and I did my best, but amongst such illustrious company it wasn’t good enough. But having given it my all, I went away pretty happy having really enjoyed competing again for the first time in about 10 years. Watching the finals on Sunday evening was very inspiring. The level of the 12 participants was something else, and incredible to watch. It was great to see 3 Brits, Shauna Coxsey, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Stewart Watson, in the mix with Shauna and Mina both taking podium places. A massive congrats to them.

Taking part in the CWIF has got me really excited about competing again. Firstly because I really enjoyed it, but secondly because there are a few big areas of weakness in my climbing that I have been struggling to address but which are so important in bouldering comps, namely burly whole-body movement and being successful under pressure. By entering more comps I am hopeful that I will improve in these areas and it will feed back through to my outdoor route climbing, which is ultimately where my passion lies. So with that in mind I will be seeking out more plastic this year, and aiming for that semi-final place.

Many thanks to the Climbing Works for putting on such a brilliant event. Can’t wait for next year!

Jules LittlefairLast weekend I entered the Climbing Works International Festival, the CWIF, for the first time ever. This is an unusual event that has grown and grown over the years to become one of the un-missable attractions on the climbing calendar.  This competition provides a unique opportunity for mere mortals to compete against the best in the world against the back-drop of a party atmosphere with music, a free bbq and plenty of goodies being given away to lucky recipients. This year the stakes were high with some of the best climbers coming over from nations such as Switzerland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Russia to compete.

Saturday dawned, and I realised my first mistake – entering the afternoon session of the qualifiers. I had envisaged a relaxing morning chilling out before the comp, but it turned out to be 4 hours of torture as I woke early and was psyched out of my mind so I couldn’t sit still long enough to do anything. When I got down to the wall to start, the Works didn’t disappoint. The route setters had done a blinding job with the problems, setting some truly innovative, technical problems which were a joy to climb. I cannot remember the last time I have had that much fun climbing indoors. There was also a fantastic atmosphere at the wall with people helping each other out and sharing beta with their rivals, something which surely must be unique to our sport. The CWIF also has a team category and, being somewhat shorter in stature that the average, my friends and I named our team the Midget Gems. Entering in a team makes the whole event even more fun as you can try problems together, sending up the best man (or woman) first to suss out the moves.

[caption id="attachment_5992" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Team Midget Gems Team Midget Gems[/caption]

My aim had been to try for a spot in the semi-finals and I did my best, but amongst such illustrious company it wasn’t good enough. But having given it my all, I went away pretty happy having really enjoyed competing again for the first time in about 10 years. Watching the finals on Sunday evening was very inspiring. The level of the 12 participants was something else, and incredible to watch. It was great to see 3 Brits, Shauna Coxsey, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Stewart Watson, in the mix with Shauna and Mina both taking podium places. A massive congrats to them.

Taking part in the CWIF has got me really excited about competing again. Firstly because I really enjoyed it, but secondly because there are a few big areas of weakness in my climbing that I have been struggling to address but which are so important in bouldering comps, namely burly whole-body movement and being successful under pressure. By entering more comps I am hopeful that I will improve in these areas and it will feed back through to my outdoor route climbing, which is ultimately where my passion lies. So with that in mind I will be seeking out more plastic this year, and aiming for that semi-final place.

Many thanks to the Climbing Works for putting on such a brilliant event. Can’t wait for next year!

Jules LittlefairLast weekend I entered the Climbing Works International Festival, the CWIF, for the first time ever. This is an unusual event that has grown and grown over the years to become one of the un-missable attractions on the climbing calendar.  This competition provides a unique opportunity for mere mortals to compete against the best in the world against the back-drop of a party atmosphere with music, a free bbq and plenty of goodies being given away to lucky recipients. This year the stakes were high with some of the best climbers coming over from nations such as Switzerland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Russia to compete.

Saturday dawned, and I realised my first mistake – entering the afternoon session of the qualifiers. I had envisaged a relaxing morning chilling out before the comp, but it turned out to be 4 hours of torture as I woke early and was psyched out of my mind so I couldn’t sit still long enough to do anything. When I got down to the wall to start, the Works didn’t disappoint. The route setters had done a blinding job with the problems, setting some truly innovative, technical problems which were a joy to climb. I cannot remember the last time I have had that much fun climbing indoors. There was also a fantastic atmosphere at the wall with people helping each other out and sharing beta with their rivals, something which surely must be unique to our sport. The CWIF also has a team category and, being somewhat shorter in stature that the average, my friends and I named our team the Midget Gems. Entering in a team makes the whole event even more fun as you can try problems together, sending up the best man (or woman) first to suss out the moves.

[caption id="attachment_5992" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Team Midget Gems Team Midget Gems[/caption]

My aim had been to try for a spot in the semi-finals and I did my best, but amongst such illustrious company it wasn’t good enough. But having given it my all, I went away pretty happy having really enjoyed competing again for the first time in about 10 years. Watching the finals on Sunday evening was very inspiring. The level of the 12 participants was something else, and incredible to watch. It was great to see 3 Brits, Shauna Coxsey, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Stewart Watson, in the mix with Shauna and Mina both taking podium places. A massive congrats to them.

Taking part in the CWIF has got me really excited about competing again. Firstly because I really enjoyed it, but secondly because there are a few big areas of weakness in my climbing that I have been struggling to address but which are so important in bouldering comps, namely burly whole-body movement and being successful under pressure. By entering more comps I am hopeful that I will improve in these areas and it will feed back through to my outdoor route climbing, which is ultimately where my passion lies. So with that in mind I will be seeking out more plastic this year, and aiming for that semi-final place.

Many thanks to the Climbing Works for putting on such a brilliant event. Can’t wait for next year!

Jules Littlefair