What a trip!
It has had it’s fair share of ups and downs, as well as chaos and confusion! Starting the trip in Munich, enjoying the bouldering delights that that amazing town had to offer really opened up my concept of what ‘big’ really was.
Then heading down to Arco, I felt that I had a arrived in some climbers fairy tale, surround by cliffs, a world cup boulder, lead and speed wall, plus a continuous supply of gelato! o top it off, I kept seeing familiar faces, familiar from magazines and videos I had poured over for hours, Megos, McColl, Hojer, Shirashi, the list goes on!
I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders and talking climbing with some of the worlds best youth climbing coaches, the best climbers, and general climbing gurus, as well as picking up as many free T-shirts and Caribieners as possible!
Everyone was so friendly and so welcoming, I felt as if I belonged there.
Once in Arco, the comp started and raced on and was over all in a flurry. Before I knew it I had been there for over a week, screamed, yelled, dealt with tears, disappointment, elation and regret. It is quite a thing the world youth championships. There is this gentle rumbling as the futures climbing giants take centre stage and move through hard sequences with a profound and ‘beyond their years’ finesse. Some are there to be great, some are there to be inspired, some are there because they feel they must and some, well, some are just enjoying themselves. Each reason with its own merit.
As finals edge closer and more coaches and climbers find their campaign over, the shirt swapping begins and the crowd grows. Mighty roars as Austrian, Slovenian, American colours work their way up the wall, only to float down again.
I think I have learnt more on this trip than any before it. About myself and about climbing. I suppose I was one of the ones there to be inspired in the end. However, I intend that the next time I return, it will be for a different reason altogether.