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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

End of 2011 season

The last world cup this season was held in Barcelona, Spain. This was the 10th lead world cup of the season which has been pretty long. I’ve been able to compete in 6 of the 10. I was unable to attend one in France, two in China and the one in Amman. I can only imagine that the competitors that traveled to all 10 are tired from such a long season. Knowing that this was the last world cup of the season made me relax a bit and just have a really good weekend! Clearly depicted from our smirking face in the next shot. barcelonaheadshots The competition was held in a different venue than that of a few years ago. It was also different that the bouldering world cup earlier this year. The venue was very nice. It was inside a big gymnasium, similar to that of Valence and Kranj. The big different was that it was very cold in the gym, isolation and more or less the venue. matseanbarcelona On my first qualifier, I ended up climbing at exactly the same time as Mathilde. It was a bit weird, but I knew that the route wasn’t as hard as normal world cup qualifiers and I probably going to get TOP. I started when Mathilde was half way up, but I still beat her to the top 🙂 I managed to get top and so did Mathilde. I finished my route and looked left just as Mathilde was completing her last two moves as well. The second qualifier was similar to the first in that Mathilde and I did top as well. This time, we weren’t climbing at the same time so we got to encourage each other a bit more. The routes were somewhat “easy” compared to normal world cups. For the men, there were about 9 who topped both but almost 40 who topped the right one. For the women, there were 18 who topped both. In my opinion, this is way too many. 9 tops for the one qualification is fine for the men, but 40 for the other…. The route was just too easy for this level of competition! [singlepic id=272 w=480 h=320 float=center]   Semi finals were much better. The route was harder, both for women and men. That being said, there were still 4 tops for the women and another 5 for the men. For the women, it’s much scarier to have ties like that because they’re so much harder to separate that the men. I was lucky enough to be part of the 5 that topped! The route was nice. Around 40 moves and went more or less straight up the wall. It went a bit left and right to traverse back left at the top, but overall the moves past halfway were nice. I’m always so scared at the beginning of the semis route mostly because I just don’t want to blow it and come last in semis. At least if I blow it in finals, I’m still 7th or 8th. In semis, coming 26th when you know you can make finals is frustrating. [singlepic id=273 w=480 h=320 float=center]   Topping the semis route made me feel super happy. I knew that I had made finals in the last world cup of the season and I knew that the end to my season was going to be memorable. As I implied before, I didn’t really care how I did in finals. I made finals and that was an accomplishment in itself. I hoped to be top 5, another podium would be awesome, and if I somehow won the competition, then I just wouldn’t know what to say. In between semis and finals, I ate some food, took another nap and just rested in the hotel. By 6pm, I was heading back to isolation as I knew that had hot water and I wanted my coffee! After another hour and a half, we had warmed up a bit and it was time for preview. I was excited and thought to myself “one last route of the season”. We came out one by one for presentation and I saw as I ran past the length of my route…. oh my. When we turned around to face the last route of the season, I had glimpsed right. The route was monstrous, at least 50 moves. I kind of laughed and started previewing. It started on the side far of the left wall, traversed over half of the wall, then went right, then back left, and finished by traversing back to the right again. The start looked easy with a few moves that looked a bit weird. Once you were halfway, it looked very resistance with good holds. Nothing too complicated but I knew it was going to be hard for me. When we were back in isolation, I remembered the route well enough to count the moves, 55 give or take. Because I know my style, and I also know my limits, I knew this one was going to give me some trouble. I said in my head that I wouldn’t chalk up for at least 20 moves. This just makes it so that I can get through the beginning of the route without getting tired. I don’t have the training or the fitness to be able to do 30 moves, recovery for 2 minutes and do another 30 hard moves. My prime route is only 30-40 moves with bouldery moves through (aka: Kranj). Bouldering on a rope is what I do best. Nevertheless, I was motivated to take on this challenge of a route. After a really good warm up, I was feeling good. Ramonet was to climb just before me so I pumped my ipod to drown out the crowd. A good length of time later (over 6-7 minutes), Ramonet was done and it was Johanna Ernst before me. I took off my headphones and started to get ready. Ramonet climbing that long meant that there were “rests” or at least good holds in the middle. The problem I knew is that it doesn’t matter when there’s rests, I can only recovery a few times per arm then it’s usually better for me to keep going rather than trying to recover any more. It was my turn a few minutes later and I went out. I put on a healthy amount of liquid chalk and took a few deeply needed deep breaths. The first part of the route was easy. I got into the roof easily and started to traverse left. [singlepic id=269 w=480 h=320 float=center]   The feet were far and the moves were harder as I moved left. I managed to make it 26 moves (I counted after) before chalking up and then I was halfway! I could actually feel myself being tired. 30 moves and halfway up a route is a funny feeling. I felt good for the next few moves and stopped before what I assumed was the harder part of the route. [singlepic id=271 w=480 h=320 float=center]   I left the last “rest” that I was at and I was feeling pretty tired. I did a few bouldery moves with some heel hooks and was feeling pretty good. A few moves later I did a hard cross over and the next hold was awful… I was pumped by now and I didn’t even think about going again with my left hand. I brought my feet up and starting doing an incredibly hard cross over. I grabbed the hold but my left arm was dead and I was falling. Some people asked me after if I had slipped, but I don’t think that I did. My left arm was very pumped and the move was hard. I had also climbed 45 moves and the route was my anti-style. I fell on the next move, but I was happy. I was almost laughing as I was coming down and I was mostly grinning at the fact that I had actually climbed 45 moves on a finals route in a world cup, a personal best! Naturally I wanted to know how I was doing, and when they said I was 2nd to Ramonet, I was thrilled. If everyone else passed me (and I thought they would), I’d be 5th which would be a great finish. One by one, the competitors did end up passing me (and chalking up before I feel) so I finished a solid 5th place in my last world cup of the 2011 season! On top of that, I had finished 6th in the Lead Ranking for 2011 and even came 2nd in the Overall Rankings for 2011! On the womens side, I don’t even know what to say. There were 3 top outs, and because they were in a giant tie, there were 3 winners… again. I just can’t understand what the route setter was thinking when they set a route that can actually be done… Why not just make an 8c route like in Kranj to make sure it’s not done by anyone… 3 tops? This is the 3rd time this season where there’s multiple winners at a world cup… It’s just sad. Full Barcelona results are HERE.

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Comments (8)

  • Avatar

    Nicholas Mathis

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    Great season to watch your performance Sean. Quick question, for practicality- what’s the easiest way to count a “move”- I’ve been struggling with this for my traverse warmups cause I want to get a reliable count.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Well I’d say anytime that you move a hand it’s considered a move, even some times when the move is just a bump, it still counts as a move. Does that answer it?

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Trey

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    Congrats on the killer season Sean! It’s been awesome to watch.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    dkimber

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    Super well done Sean! What’s next?? You think you’ll be able to parlay this success into more sponsorship to try and go to more World Cups next year? Would you even want to?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I’m hoping to be able to compete on both the boulder and lead circuits next year with World Championships at the end of September. I also have a few outdoor trips in mind. I’m always looking for potential new sponsors to help me achieve what I love to do, compete and climb!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Eric

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    Nice in placing 2nd overall.
    It was great to read about your last world cup.

    I had a question about liquid chalk. Do you make it yourself or do you buy it?

    Have you ever tried Antihydral? I think I read somewhere that Daniel Woods uses it.

    Any other products that you use?

    Thanks
    Eric

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I use liquid chalk only during competitions and climbing outside. I don’t use it in training to make it a bit “harder”, plus it’s pretty messy. In competition, I put on a healthy amount before each climbing route, and sometimes a bit before each boulder problem.

      I’ve never used Antihydral although I’ve heard that it’s very bad for your skin if you’re not careful. I believe that it can repair your skin very fast if you have a cut, but you have to be very careful because it actually kills the skin. If I were to think about using it, I’d have to get a much bigger knowledge base with it. I can’t think of any other products I use at the moment, but if I think of any, I”ll make sure to reply again.

      Reply

  • Chamonix Lead World Cup | Sean McColl

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    […] approaching. The last competition of this magnitude would have been the last world cup of 2011 in Barcelona. I managed to finish 5th place after an excruciating long finals route. The one thing about […]

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