My first international comp, ups and downs (Mostly ups!)

We finally arrived at Imst, in Austria, after a long(ish) flight, a long detour (another word for being hopelessly lost) and a long drive through the Alps. The Alps were good for taking pictures but I much preferred it when we arrived at the climbing wall, or 'Kletterzentrum' in German. It was the night before the Imst Colours Festival, and it had come so quickly!

Ava 10Ava 11


On the first day of the competition I was really, really excited. I had a sore tummy though, but I didn't know if it was from nerves or eating too many Starbursts on the plane! Me and my friends from the Ratho youth squad - all wearing matching "Ratho on tour" hoodies - looked at our routes with our coach Buzz and slowly started to warm up. We had discovered that we had 10 hours to do the six routes not six hours as we thought! That was a great thing, of course, but a bit annoying as I had sat for ages working out exactly the amount of time I would get between climbing and resting; but I didn't think about that for too long!

My first climb looked hard and I was NOT delighted to hear that my friends had "Eenie meenie minie moed" me first. I'm usually really confident before comp climbs but I felt scared of the route. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. But I pulled myself together and started climbing.

:) :) :)

I came down with a big smile on my face after reaching the highpoint (around six holds from the top) at the time. The next few routes were similar, not topping but getting close. I was pleased with my climbing but aware that there had been quite a few tops from some of the other girls. I wasn't sure I would make the cut for the finals, which was my goal. Ava 2At the end of the day I had topped two and come close on four and I was SUPER HAPPY to find out that I had made the cut (top 20) and qualified in 14th place for the finals on Sunday!!!

My teammate Lachlan also climbed really well and qualified for the finals the next day.

Early on Sunday morning, we got up and went downstairs for a massive, big breakfast. I was glad to find out that it was sunny and not torrential rain as it was the night before. We walked to the Kletterzenteum from the hotel and watched as the streets came to life.

:) :) :)

I had two routes (boys had the same!) and the amazing support from my friends made me ready to take them on. Five British girls in my category made it through to the final which was incredible. I thought my first route went really well but when I got down the judge told me that I had put my foot on a blue. Unfortunately the route was yellow! I still did well but but I lost a valuable few points that could make a difference in the result.

My second route was a crimpy BLUE. Lachlan had just tried it and did super well getting around five holds from the top. I wanted to beat him! A few minutes later I came down. I was pretty happy though. I didn't beat Lachlan but I still got a few holds from the highpoint.

It was only a few moments later that I realized that, for me, the comp had finished and I couldn't do anything to change my result! I could only wait to see how the other girls did.

Ava 8Ava 12


Me and my friends watched the other climbers and then found out the results. Of course I wanted a podium but that didn't happen. I came 11th! I was so close to top 10 but I was still really happy with the results even though I think I could've climbed harder on the day. Me and my friends decided that we needed a rest so we all went to the local outdoor swimming pool. It was so much fun! We stayed there for a few hours and then made our way to the alpine coaster which was amazing!

I'm moving up to youth C next year which means it's lead from now on. Goodbye top-rope! Yay!

By Ava Gracey Hamilton

:) :) :)

Ava's Top Tips

  • Remember your own belayer for Saturday! The day is too long for volunteers to constantly stand up for 10 hours.
  • Bring an umbrella!!! It's really hot but me and my Dad made that mistake when we were drenched on Saturday night.
  • If you've ever thought about going, go! It's an amazing place and a great experience.


Awesome job Ava, and well done to everyone who competed in the Imst Colours Festival. Full results of the comp at the link here. Imst Colours Festival Results

Have you done something awesome like Ava?

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