A Review of the Last Year by Alex Waterhouse

Alex Waterhouse writes for High Sports:

As I look into the 2016 season, which for me starts this weekend at the Scottish Bouldering Championships in Glasgow, it seems a great opportunity to look back over the year and reflect on performances and climbing.

The season kicked off in May with 3 European Lead competitions in a row, Dornbirn, Imst and Edinburgh, where I managed to make the top 20 in each. This was right in the middle of my A-Level exams, so it was tough going but I was happy with the results in the end. The Scottish EYC also marked the beginning of my speed training for the overall world championship and my first speed competition.  

With exams over, it was on to the summer season of bouldering competitions. I started out well, winning the British Junior Bouldering Championships and the British Bouldering Cup Series in Bristol, so was in good form for the next two bouldering EYCs. Unfortunately the sets just didn’t go my way, and despite feeling my strongest ever I missed out on the finals both times. The performances were definitely encouraging for the World Championships in September, so that was great to see!

My next competition was another lead EYC in Austria. I surprised myself at this event. Having diversified my training for boulder, speed and lead I was not feeling my fittest but, despite this, I managed my best ever route in a European, and made my first final of the year. Yet another piece of encouragement for the World's!

September marked the biggest event of the year and the focus of my year’s training: The World Youth Climbing Championship in Arco, Italy. This worlds would be the first to include all three competition disciplines of lead, speed and boulder, as well as an overall competition for the top competitors in each. The overall was something I’d been training for all year, and I had competed in boulder and lead, but never speed before this year. This meant new training, which was difficult as the closest speed wall to train the IFSC route is in Sheffield (5 hours away!). Thankfully we were able to set a near perfect replica of the first half of the route in High Sports Plymouth and we managed to get some good sessions on it.

The boulder competition started the week, but was my performance was slightly disappointing in itself. However, it still left me in good contention for a good overall competition. Next was the lead qualification, and despite routes that didn’t suit me I managed to make it into the semi final of the worlds for the third year in a row! Speed was next, and despite being close to my PB in qualification it was messier than I would have liked! 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(images from World Junior Championship Bouldering)

The Worlds was a massive learning experience, and as the first British climber ever to compete in the overall competition I placed 6th. I also managed a top 20 in lead, which was nice to see after such a varied training schedule. 

(images from World Championship Lead Semi-Final)

After the Worlds it was into the off season, where I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with the High Sports Plymouth squad. It was great to see such progress week after week, and has given me a new found love of coaching!

At the end of November I left for SE Asia for 4 months visiting Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. It was an absolutely incredible trip, and has shaped me as a person. Climbing wise, I managed to redpoint fr8b in Thailand and make first ascents of 5 great boulders at a developing bouldering area in Thailand as well as one route in Vietnam, my first route first ascent!

I got back in March and was straight into training harder than ever before, leading up to the GB bouldering team selection event in Sheffield. I had been ill for the week before and my climbing suffered, but I was selected for the European Cup in Poland and the European Championships in Austria later in the year. Hopefully a good performance will see me selected for the World Championships in China in November. I was also selected by the management to become the Captain of the GB Junior Bouldering Team! I count this as one of my greatest climbing accomplishments, and am honoured to have been chosen. I am now hoping to do the role justice and help the team get their best results yet! 

(image of training at High Sports Plymouth)

This is my last year as a junior and I am more psyched than ever to train, compete and perform my best. I am focusing on nutrition, sleep and conditioning as well as my regular training to become the best athlete that I can be. I hope you have enjoyed following my year on social media and will continue to keep you updated!

Happy Climbing,

Alex