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European Youth Cup Win for Jim Pope!

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European Youth Cup Win for Castle Comp Squad Captain...

For those that have not heard, Jim Pope – Castle regular and Comp Squad Captain – has just achieved another personal best by winning his first European Youth Cup! The success came on the weekend of the 8th/9th August at Mitterdorf, Austria and follows a great run of form which has seen Jim make incredibly quick repeats of a number of difficult routes around the UK:
Helvetia (8b+/c)
The Bulge (8a)
Urgent Action (8a+)
Dead Calm (8a) - flash
The Ashes (7c+) - onsight  

What makes Jim’s comp result more impressive is the fact that the Mitterdorf wall is open to the elements and the conditions were far from perfect for comp climbing, with temperatures hovering near 40 degrees Celsius. After difficult qualifiers, Jim found himself setting up for the finals in 10th place. The steep and powerful finals route proved tricky to read, but Jim performed superbly and watched on with increasing excitement as his fellow competitors failed to reach his high point.   

Here is Jim’s own account of the event and video footage of his finals route:

“Mitterdorf was the last EYC of the season and I had been training harder than ever to try and get my best result. When the team arrived in Vienna we were surprised by the temperatures which were up in the high 30's. Luckily we stayed in a great hotel with a pool to cool off in! The team had a day-and-a-half relaxing around the hotel and getting used to the heat before the competition started on Saturday.

On the day of the qualifiers everyone was up early for breakfast before heading over to the wall. The outdoor comp wall was tall and steep, peppered with volumes and hard routes. I looked at which routes were mine and discussed beta with my fellow team mates before heading over to warm up as I was climbing early. My first qualifier was a technical slabby route with no room for error on any move. I managed to get a few clips from the top, putting me in 10th place. The second qualifier was a steeper line with much more basic, powerful moves. I got to a similar height on this route and scraped my way into the finals in 10th place!

The team went back to the hotel, happy to have four finalists who headed to bed for an early start in the morning.

On Sunday morning the four finalists made it to the wall for 7:30am to get into isolation. As I was climbing first (after observation at 9.00am) I started warming up straight away. My warm up consisted of traversing to activate the forearms and then a few powerful boulder problems to get my arms firing properly. We went out for our 6 minutes to view the route and I went through the moves with team mate Aidan Roberts who also made the final in my category. The route climbed through the steepest part of the wall using lots of volumes and different angle changes. From the floor it was quite confusing what the beta might be, but I figured out a sequence and decided to stick with it.

It was time to climb and with the nod from the judge I set off. Because I qualified in 10th, whatever position I ended in would be a bonus, so I felt relaxed and just enjoyed the climbing. After climbing through a tricky bottom section I reached a good rest then pushed on through the steep bulges up to the head wall where I fell off a powerful move 9 holds from the top.
I was lowered down really happy with how I'd climbed, now all I had to do was see how everyone else got on!

To my surprise the next 4 climbers fell off way beneath my high point and I was already guaranteed my best international competition result, which I was really pleased about. It was very tense when Jakub Konecny the Czech climber reached the same hold as me but didn't move on from it for the plus point. The next 4 climbers all fell lower in the middle crux section. I had won!

It was a strange feeling and it didn't sink in that I had won until coming back to work at the Castle on Monday morning (Jim was helping strip the Wells for re-setting) and seeing all the people that have supported me get to where I have over the years I have climbed there. It was great to see that all of my training and hard work has paid-off and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes at the World Youth Championships in a few weeks time in Arco, Italy.

Thanks to the whole Castle community for helping and supporting me along the way!
Special thanks to the Castle Comp Squad coaches Ben, Juan, Jamie, Gordon and Tricky.”

Watch Jim climbing the finals route here

We’re over the moon about Jim’s win and we wish him all the best for the World Youth Championships in late August/early September!

Jim is supported by The Castle Climbing Centre and sponsored by Lyon Equipment, Marmot, Climbskin, GLL and Rock City Climbing Wall


Other Castle Comp Squad News....

Of course, Jim is not the only squad member that’s been actively training over the summer and special congratulations also go out to:

Eugenie Lee who has been competing for the GB Youth Team in the European Youth Bouldering Championships
Stan Harris who recently bagged his first 8a route Raindogs at Malham and his first Deep Water Solo (DWS) Freeborn Man, E4 6a (Fisherman’s Ledge).

Jim, Stan and Eugenie are all trained by the Castle coaches. If you're looking to take your own climbing to the next level, we provide coaching products to suit all abilities.