"My Imst Experience"

Each month we ask a different climber to tell us about a route they have enjoyed. This can be indoors or out and can be of any grade whatsoever. This month, Hannah Kerr shares with us her experience of the Imst Youth Colour Climbing Festival in Austria. Enjoy!

Hannah Kerr Podium
I was delighted to place 3rd in the Youth Colour Climbing Festival in Imst. Last year when I took part, I was in the lower half of the two-year age category and was placed 43rd. I didn’t want that to happen again so I was determined to climb to my best this time round.

The competition had eight routes over two days with over 220 of the best climbers in Europe entered. There were 53 in my girls ‘children’ category (born in 2005 and 2006) alone. There were six routes on the Saturday and the top 20 climbers would climb again on the Sunday in the final which included two more routes.

Getting started

I loved, and managed to top, all the six routes on Saturday. I read them with my dad and he belayed me all day. My favourite was the 4th route that I climbed – a green route with lots of slopers. Because I topped all my routes on Saturday I qualified joint 1st for the final. I couldn’t believe it – I really didn’t expect to be that highly ranked. There were only a few points splitting the top 20, so I knew that I would have to climb hard on the Sunday again to make the podium.

I got to the wall early on Sunday at 8am and went to read the routes. The purple route one looked good, but with a few reachy moves in the middle which were going to be hard for me as I am very small compared to others! The yellow route two looked tough in the middle section with a difficult move three from the top. At 8.45am the adult demonstrators climbed the routes and I watched them to see how the route would be.

Climbing hard

I was 19th to climb route one so I watched some of the other girls climb. They were all getting close to the top of the route with a few topping it so I knew I would have to climb well! I got on the wall and found the hardest move about a third of the way up and had to work hard to get both of my feet high to reach the hold. The rest of the route was comfortable and I relaxed and enjoyed it. I got to the last move which was huge with a horrible last hold. My left hand went up and I touched the hold, but when I moved my right hand to go I slipped. I was very upset and annoyed with myself as I thought I could top it and it meant I was lying 5th after the 1st route.

The 2nd route started straight away and I was 9th to go so didn’t have to wait long. I read the route and liked the look of it – it was like a ‘Ryan’ route from Ratho! Some of the girls were falling off at slopers half way up the wall, but I knew I could do these moves. I got on the wall and relaxed and worked hard. I passed the slopers by changing my body position on the wall and easily got to the 3rd last hold on the wall. I was now at an angle on the wall and couldn’t chalk up, so just had to go for the move. I went for a section of the hold that I thought would have a good part to hold – it didn’t – my hand grabbed the hold but I fell.

Hannah Kerr Trophy

Podium success

I wasn’t sure how I’d done compared to the others and went away to play with my friends. When I came back to check the final scores I realised I had climbed well enough to get a podium place. I couldn’t have been happier with this result and how I had climbed and how much I have improved since last year.

The presentation was held at the indoor wall. I got a cool trophy and chose a new harness. I loved standing on the podium with the other girls – 1st place from Bulgaria and 2nd place from Austria. With only one point between me and 1st, it’s great to know that I am climbing as well as these girls in Europe and hope that I can continue to keep up and improve when I move to lead climbing.

During the weekend my family and I went to the alpine roller coaster a few times – this was amazing and almost as good as the climbing. Huge well done to my friend and competitor Gwen Morgan who placed 7th. I think it’s great that we are getting in the mix with European girls. I really hope that I can go to Imst again next year.


Thanks for sharing your climbing experiences Hannah. We look forward to seeing what adventures you get up to!

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