We’re super proud of the fourteen awesome rock monkeys (previously known as children from Georgeham School) who took part in the South West Inter Schools Climbing Competition at Rock and Rapid this weekend, competing against over 100 children from primary schools across Devon.
Kindness. Confidence. Curiosity. Community. Adventure. Ambition.
All the school values were on show today as our team of super supportive children smiled and cheered each other on – hanging onto the holds on the wall like they never wanted to let go and pulling some shapes that most of us couldn’t even imagine contorting our bodies into!
The competition is all about participation. For lots of the children it was either their first time on a climbing wall or their first time climbing with an audience in competition format. The children were split into groups of boys and girls in year 3/4 and year 5/6 groups and throughout the day had to complete six climbs. Three were on top ropes (climbing ‘routes’ on the high walls whilst being belayed by an adult) and three in the boulder rooms (completing ‘problems’ in the lower walled boulder rooms where ropes aren’t needed but agility, balance and gymnastic moves are). Each climb and boulder was harder than the last and on all of them the children had to be careful only to climb on the set coloured holds – they scored points for each hold they reached or attempted to reach and had to stop if their feet or hands touched the wrong hold.
It takes a lot of concentration and gumption to climb in competition format. Their physical skills were tested (years of practice on the beaches round here have clearly produced finely honed rock monkeys) as well as mental agility and the ability to perform under pressure. Climbing routes are problems to be solved, you have to work out the next move whilst holding your body in often unnatural positions and being watched by the other children and adults. Our team were supportive of each other, helping with ideas, shouting encouragement and hugging each other as they came down from the climbs with pumped arms and tired legs. They were all individually courageous: Layla, Evie, Martha, Chloe, Elsie, Reuben and Fred had never climbed like this before and for Darcy, Arthur and Amias it has been a long time since they took part in last year’s event. Sam, Kitty, Esme and Daisy all pushed themselves to new levels – not shaking under the pressure at all (well maybe their legs shook a little as they tried to push themselves even higher on the routes). Huge kudos to all of them for putting themselves out there – check out the pictures, they all got truly stuck in and I’m still not sure how they got out of some of the shapes they pulled!
Some of the routes were really tough – much tougher than expected. Esme managed to hold onto the start of a boulder problem, hanging off two holds whilst the instructors re-set the route around her having realised it was impossible to climb – she hung on, and on, and on, and on and on! We can’t quite work out how Daisy, Chloe and Darcy managed to twist their bodies upside down and stretch across for a massive volume style hold (think big block screwed onto a wall) and then attempt to swing across it. Elsie, Kitty, Martha, Evie, Esme and Layla had to tackle one route that involved bending their legs like ‘an Egyptian’ to push off and stretch for a hold above that was sloped in such a way that grabbing it was difficult, not least because none of them looked tall enough to reach it. As for the boys, no one is quite sure how they managed to swing off the hugely overhanging boulder problem 3 (check the picture of Fred on it)…but they did!
To cap off a great day, the team WON THE TROPHY! Thanks to the combined efforts of all our climbers, many of whom placed in the top ten in their group, we were very clear winners. It was truly deserved, not least for the support and encouragement they showed to each other and the rest of the competitors and the tenacity and perseverance they displayed on the wall – we had a number of other schools comment on how kind, friendly and bendy they all were throughout what was a very long day.
Well done to all of you – you should be super super proud of yourselves.
Here’s some pictures and a video that the centre produced with highlights from the day (see if you can spot the Georgeham climbers?!)
Smiling team mates.
Year 3/4 girls on their first climb and boulder
Years 3/4 girls getting stuck into the second and third problems
Check out the shapes thrown by the year 6 girls…
Year 3/4 boys having fun
Year 6 boys pumping on some tough routes
The warm up!