The weekend saw a climbing carnival come to Norwich, to be more precise Highball Climbing Centres "The Big Flash 2015" . A truly spectacular weekend of climbing which saw the pros come to town and play, the likes of Dave Barrens, Nathan Phillips, Diane Merrick and many more. I was in qualifier B Saturday afternoon and was hoping to watch qualifier A to get some sneaky beta but that didn't happen, a last minute call Friday from Ben asking if I could take the 3 NICAS courses Saturday morning put pay to that.
So Saturday came, up early for a run with the dog, of to Highball to look after the NICAS sessions then fuelled buy some of the amazing food available over the weekend I donned my Norwich Climbing & Mountaineering t-shirt and got stuck into qualifier B. James Boston and Pete Goulding both members of NCMC were in the same qualifier so the club was well represented. A great 3 hours followed with lots of different emotions from fun, pain and jubilation as we all worked on the 30 problems set on the comp wall.
When the call came that time was up I was not going to argue, aching, knackered and hungry I had managed a score of 169, down on last year but they were harder problems this year and nobody is changing my mind on that. Steak sandwich a beer and a film put on for the nights entertainment a buzzing crowd and climbers relaxed before heading home on what had been a great first day.
Sunday saw me miss the start of the semi finals as I had to go and look at a new car for my wife, so when I arrived about 12,30 things were in full swing. Now when I left Saturday night the list for 20 males and females who had made the semi's was out, had I made it...no, was I worried no, but due to some of the guys being unavailable I some how moved up the list and was in! but I didn't know this so missed out on my chance, yes OK I know a slim chance but I can dream.
Sunday turned into another great day, dyno comps, master classes with Ben Bransby and Yann Genoux all leading up to the grand final where the top 6 male and female climbers battle it out. Oh and lots more great food and yes beer. Now the time is getting close and Mike Surtees owner of Highball asked myself and James would we do the honers and judge the finals, front row seat right in the heat of it all..no problem Mike.
The next 3 hours was quite amazing to watch, 4 problems set for male and female finalists, now I'm not going into details of how a final works but lets just say these guys and girls can climb and the finals problems where proper hard, fantastic to watch and more importantly judge.
The outcome to an amazing final, Nathan Phillips took the male first place and Alexia Basch the female, not sure how Mike and the Highball staff will top this years Big Flash but already looking forward to next years.