The Scottish Mixed Masters 2014

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Autumn, when summer begins to wind down, the colours start to change and most importantly of all winter is only weeks away. This Halloween however with temperatures well into the double figures it seemed a very distant dream. For winter climbers patiently waiting for those early season routes all was not lost though. The competition season was here!

On Saturday November 1st climbers from across the country converged in Kinlochleven for The Scottish Mixed Masters. The event, held annually at The Ice Factor, is open to climbers of all abilities with a number of people holding tools for the first time. This year the event is in aid Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team.

The heats consisted of 15 problems spread throughout the ice wall, rock wall and bouldering room. As always the route setting team had been hard as work and boy did they deliver! With a real brilliant variety of routes it wasn’t long before the field began to spread out with a number of familiar names coming out on top.

As usual at these competitions the atmosphere was amazing, the building filled with shouts of encouragement. Competitors cheering each other on, not even a hint of rivalry. This is the beauty of Scottish Tooling competitions; fun is always the highest priority.

Time waits for nobody and as 3 o’clock rolled around those with routes to complete made a last ditch effort to attempt everything in time. Once all the scorecards were in and the scores tallied it was clear that it was going to be a good final.

The highlight of any competition is watching the finals. The crowd closes in around the route and you can feel the excitement start to build. First up were the men’s Veterans. After some strong performances (and a fantastic upside down face first fall into the wall by Gordon Lacey) it was Ian Durham coming out on top followed by Simon Yearsley in Second and Gordon Lacey in third.

Next up were the women and as usual they came out fighting. First up was Susan Jensen who was sporting by far the coolest safety glasses of the day. Out Second was Emma Powell who at just 13 years old was the competitions youngest entrant. Don’t let her age fool you though; she’s strong as an ox! Fiona Murray was out next giving a very strong performance falling just short of young Emma’s high point. Last out was Anna Wells and after a small slip near the start she managed to recover and cruise to the top taking first place.

The last final was the men’s and route setter Steve Johnstone had certainly provided a challenge. First out was Andy Inglis who managed to push through and take third place despite some glove issues early in the route. Will Woodhead and Tom Milleri were out next but suffered some early upsets pinging off low down on the route. The last two competitors were Harry Holmes and Scott Grosdanoff. Both extremely strong competitors only being separated by time in the end with Scott making the lower section of the route look easy!

On Saturday night once everyone’s arms had recovered and maybe even a pint or two it was back downstairs for Simon Yearsley’s talk on “The Emotions of Scottish Winter Climbing”. If you have never seen one of Simon’s talks they are gripping, funny and are guaranteed to get you psyched for winter climbing.

We would like to thank all of our event sponsors. Without their help the event wouldn’t be half of what it was. They are: Rab, Sherpa Adventure Gear, Ice Breaker, DMM, Schmoolz, King Kong Climbing, Holdz , SMC and MCofS.

See you all next year!

–          The Ice Factor Team