He completed this year at the top of the Youth B category (under 16) and started the domestic season winning the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Lead Cup and coming second place in both the British Lead and Bouldering Championships. However, it was his outstanding international performances that produced the best results.
At the start of this year, Hamish’s ambitious goal was to improve on his results from the 2016 season which was his first full season as an international athlete for team GB and to make the semi-final of the World Championships. He also wanted to try and win a medal in a European Youth Cup (EYC) event. So how did he get on?
Despite tearing his quad muscle early in the year, Hamish managed a good winter of training with his coaches Ellie and Mark – there’s truth in the saying that champions are made in the winter!
After winning the BMC Youth Cup in Reading, he was selected to represent Great Britain in the European Youth Cup events in Austria, Switzerland and France. The opening event was the lead Cup in Imst, Austria, where Hamish comfortably made the final and managed to finish 5th.
Improving in confidence, Hamish was able to improve his position to 4th in his next EYC event in Zurich, where in a very close final he missed out on a podium position. However, it was his highest ever finishing position in an international event so he was pleased but also disappointed not to be bringing home a medal!
Climbing in his third Lead EYC of the year in Mitterdorf, Austria, another very tight final saw him finish 5th again, with just one hold off the podium. It goes to show how tight the margins can be at the top. Hamish was a bit frustrated to just miss out on a medal again but was pleased with the way he climbed so began to look forward to the World Championship with confidence.
The World Youth Championships for Lead, Bouldering and Speed climbing took place in Innsbruck from 30th August – 10th September 2017. 1,300 climbers from 65 nations competed, all with ambitions to become a World Youth Champion! The competition was brilliantly organised and was held at the recently completed Kletterzentrum Climbing Centre.
Hamish’s target at the beginning of the season was to be selected for the World Championships and then try and make a semi-final place. Only 28 climbers from a field of 100 make the semi-final with just 8 progressing into the final. He was delighted to climb exceptionally well in the qualifying rounds and make a place in both the Bouldering and Lead climbing semi-finals.
In the bouldering semi-final he ended up finishing 14th so didn’t make it into the final, the semi-final was great though with big crowds turning out to watch despite the heavy rain.
The Lead climbing semi-final was tense with so much at stake - 28 climbers all looking for a top 8 finish to take them through. Hamish climbed the route very well but had a tense wait to see how many would get higher and push him down the leader board. When an Austrian athlete fell short, he knew he had made it through in equal 8th place.
The final was held in the evening with a floodlit wall and big crowds of spectators and an amazing atmosphere. He was the only GB athlete climbing in the finals that night so his team mates were there to watch and cheer him on. He knew the standard would be really high.
The best climbers from the USA, Japan and Europe had all made it through so Hamish knew he had to climb to his best ability. In total, 13 had made it into the final due to 6 being tied in 8th place. The route looked tough but he felt confident and was excited to climb at such a big event. Hamish gave it all he had and came away with a 6th place in the final, with a European, a Japanese and an American climber filling the podium positions. Hamish felt pleased to have made the final with a strong finish and a continued desire to improve.
Hamish finished the year with a World Ranking of 10! Quite satisfying given that he could only compete in half of the events. He really hopes to be able to get outdoors more next year, finish his GCSE’s and have a long summer holiday and more opportunity to develop his ability.
The World Championships next year take place in Vancouver Island, Canada. With Tracsis’ continued support of this talented young athlete, winter training is now underway in preparation for the 2018 season!