Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Steve McClure - Norwegian Rock Master

Picture - Ivo Ninov - Five Ten

The Nordic countries are awesome, and the people are always super nice. This year I’ll be in Denmark twice and Norway twice, mainly for work, but way back in February I was invited to take part in the Norwegian Rock Masters Competition.

So my level of psyche has varied a lot! Of course I was keen, it’s Norway, it’ll be great, but hang on, the wads are going, and anyway I hate comps, maybe not for me!! But it’s on real rock and sounds chilled! I committed. Then got injured and backed out, recovered and joined in again, then finally wrecked my finger 3 days before going but 3 hours after booking my flights! I was along for the ride!

All of my visits to the Nordic’s have been plush and the people chilled. This was obviously the same, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I made my excuses for coming last whilst the other climbers talked of their next international indoor competition in a few weeks and how well they would most likely do. This comp was on granite, new bolted routes unclimbed by anyone. Two qualifiers, the first one I climbed like a beginner, which is about right considering my sport experience on this rock. But I topped it, and no one else did! The finger didn’t snap and I felt better. Next route I was going OK but snapped a hold. I could try again. However, according to the judge I went into the final in first place, climbing last, so count-back would be in my favour anyway.

The final route looked awesome, and it was, very technical, my favourite. 15 metres to a no hands rest where you clipped a bolt, then a hard 10 move sequence to the next clip. I was totally in the zone, but just messed up an easy foot stab half way through. Gutted! But luckily I’d got higher than anyone and I landed to a congratulating crowd!

However, luck actually wasn’t on my side! The rules were that high points were marked only by quickdraws clipped, and thus everyone was equal in the final! It would not have mattered if they clipped from the no hands rest and gave up, or climbed the next desperate sequence and peeled off with the rope about to go through the beener! So for future reference this method of scoring doesn’t work. And as a double downer there had been a mistake and actually I wasn’t in first place in the qualifiers, but second. Not having a second go after breaking a hold in the qualifier was a big mistake which would undoubtedly have put me in first! Never has second place felt so bad!

But I tried to see the cup half full, my finger didn’t snap off and anyway I’d expected to come last! I made some cool mates, and the winner, Daniel Joung is such a nice guy it’s good that he’s lumbered with two massive trophies! The next day we did a bunch of great routes, I onsighted 8a+, and got to experience some of the great routes around the area of Skarvann. The local activist Borre Bergshaven has put in an unbelievable amount of selfless work in preparing the place. He was the dude organising pretty much all the competition too, and I learned he put in 30,000 euros of his own money to make it work!!! I also got involved with next years event. The organisers (mainly Borre) already had some big plans, but I turned them upside down by suggesting the World’s first International DWS…… I’ll keep you posted!

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