European Dream

I thought I would push through an update on my ‘European Dream getaway’ as it approaches its 5th week. I am currently in the process of completing some back-round research on a post around one of my favourite topics ‘sexism and inequality’ so stay tuned for that fire ball. Plus a general review of the world youth championships in Russia, which was a fantastic event, despite the dark cloud that hangs around Russian politics (more on that too in the next post).

Where to start…. well, you know how I love numbers, so –

So far, I have spent 29 days away from home, 6 days travelling and have seen 10 different climbing gyms across 2 countries and 4 cities. We have had 19 Australian athletes represent us in 2 major events (not 19 at both, but across the 2), 4 coaches and 1 team physio. The team is growing, along with our sport and the complexity of these trips is astounding. Not to mention the professionalism of the events themselves.

Running through the beta with Josh at the WYCH in Russia

The route setting was reasonable and seemed to do it’s job, even with what looks like a short lead wall in comparison to the Austrian giant Kletterzentrum in Innsbruck, where World championships will be held soon. The hold selection was a little limiting, resulting in some pretty old school physical climbing, but sometimes that is just the way it is. Jackie, in his usual way, told us how much he enjoyed the challenge.

Jackie being his usual expressive self

Huge shoutout to team Captains Oceania Mackenzie and Yossi Sundakov-Krummins for their outstanding efforts making semis, as well as team first-timer Angie Scarth Johnson. Just epic!

You can read all the details about WYCH 2018 here – (once the post is done)

After Russia, I headed back to Munich for the World Cup where we had 3 athletes compete. Ben, Yossi and Leah. All up it was a pretty epic day with 14 hours at the venue, most of which was spent in isolation. Unfortunately, the day ended in tragedy with Ben suffering a season-ending injury.

After Munich, I managed to sneak myself a couple of weeks off in Germany and in my usual fashion spent this ‘time off’ route setting in Berlin. It was a pretty awesome opportunity and I am really grateful to the gyms that let me guest set. The most amazing part for me though was to find out that really, it’s pretty similar to what is happening at home. I mean, compared to most of our Aussie gyms there is a better hold selection sure, and the facilities themselves are bigger, but there were no European revelations.

Testing at Boulder Klub

I suppose with the higher density of climbing facilities came some more care on the ‘product’ that was being delivered, but otherwise, the same key factors and processes were used. We set for 6 hours, about 5 boulders each, then spent 3 hours testing and tweaking.

Testing at Bertablock, photo courtesy of Kat ‘@africat.crafts’ on insta

Anyway, finishing up this blog I am here in Austria and looking back at my time here I guess the main revelation is that there really isn’t something that we are ‘missing’. We know what we are doing, the real challenge is getting the resources and materials we need to create it.

On to the World Championships in Austria, hopefully, there will be some great stories and lessons learned after this!