Report by Hannah Kerr

Last week I travelled to Austria, via Slovenia (Ljubljana) for a family holiday and to compete in the Petzen Climbing Trophy (PCT). We arrived a few days before the competition and spent time sunbathing, swimming in the lake, playing crazy golf and having fun.

Hannah Kerr 2018 p1

Comp Day 1 - Speed

We drove to the centre for 3.30pm and the opening of registration. When we arrived, I was glad to see that the new competition lead wall was finally finished (it wasn’t two days before when we went for a look). I registered for the competition and was given a purple (my favourite colour) t-shirt and my number (758). There was an interesting opening ceremony for the wall and the competition with local kids singing various songs. I warmed up by playing ‘donkey’ with my friends and had a go on the traverse.

I was eighth up on the speed and I tried to watch the runs before me to figure out the timing system – there was a wooden hold with four lights: blue meant ready, then red, yellow, then green to GO. No sounds. When you get to the top there is a white button which flashes if you hit it.

The speed routes were on a 10m wall with made-up climbs on it – both routes on either side were different. When you climbed you had to do both routes straight after each other. I was up – my first run was on the right hand side – and I got off to a good start but didn’t realise how slippy the concrete wall would be – I slipped a few times and banged my leg – the sloth was in action. My second run on the left hand side was much faster and I realised that I had to place my foot carefully to get a good run. I was pleased with my result, as speed isn’t my favourite, and finished 15th - better than I expected.

Hannah Kerr 2018 p2

Comp Day 2 - Bouldering

I wasn’t competing until 3pm so had a long lie and played some crazy golf before the comp. When I arrived at the wall the problems were still being set and took a while. This meant that we didn’t start bouldering until after the scheduled time and meant we had less time to complete the boulders. The problems looked good and I was excited to try them. I flashed the first one and then tried some of the harder problems. I kept falling at final moves and had to queue again which cost me time. I was very surprised at all the coaching that was being given on the wall for some competitors – I tried to just concentrate on myself. I finished the bouldering competition with five tops and seven zones. My timing wasn’t the best and I need to learn to get my elbows out and stop queuing like a Brit as I didn’t get on the final problem. I was happy with my result of 13th and my bouldering is improving but there is lots still to work on during the winter.

Hannah Kerr 2018 p5

Comp Day 3 - Lead

When I arrived at the wall early (7.30am), I was delighted to see that both my qualifiers were on the new wall (U14 boys routes the previous day had been on the old type concrete wall). The routes looked good and well set; no reachy moves but very technical. I warmed up as I was eighth to climb on both qualifiers. I climbed well on both, although I felt a bit tired near the top. However, I was happy to get a couple of holds from the top on both and qualify for the finals.

Isolation started later on in the day, so I had lunch away from the wall. When we got back I did a good warm-up and was excited for the final. I knew I would be first out of isolation as I had qualified in joint fifth place with Rosa Rekar (Slovenia). My final route was a yellow route and I thought it looked great. Isolation was at the traverse wall and was outside, which was good as we didn’t get too warm. I came out of isolation and read the route myself – the two Bulgarians and two Slovenians read the route together, but their English wasn’t the best. I was confident that I could give the route a good go. I came out of isolation and had to wait a bit for my belayer, which didn’t help my nerves. I got on the route and really enjoyed it – it was so much fun and I got three holds from the top, scoring 39. I was delighted as afterwards I found out this was 8a. When I finished climbing and was happy with what I had done I went away with my friends and had ice cream (I don’t really like watching others climb after me as there is nothing I can do about the result anyway). When it was finished my Dad told me I had placed fourth on countback. If only I had held the hold I touched I would’ve had another podium place, but I was really happy as I’ve shown consistency in lead climbing in Imst and Petzen and managed two top five places to secure my place in the GB Development squad for 2019. I congratulated the two Bulgarians (Aleksandra Totkova and Martina Bangeeva) and Gwen Morgan (Wales) on their podium places and the other Slovenian Sara Copar gave me a high five for my result. It's great making new friends and to climb with them in these competitions.

I was delighted with my overall combined result of seventh place.

Hannah Kerr 2018 P6After the competition I had a great time with my family and friends swimming in the lake. On the journey home we were lucky enough to spend a night in Ljubljana and I climbed at the Plezalni Center where there were some amazing routes.

Overall I would recommend you go to the competition because there are a lot of good climbers there and it’s great to compete against them all. I wouldn’t go for a holiday though as it’s really hard to move from holiday mode to competition mode.

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