Blok Rocking | Eclectic Cake: Blok Rocking

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Blok Rocking

In a moment of courage, I spun on my heels, grabbed a pen and decidedly added up my score on tired, raw fingers. The goal was to take part in a proper climbing competition, yet I'd avoided one thing. Competing.

I'd got my first taste of competition a few months earlier at a casual wall event. I hated it. After struggling with injury, then a giant plateau in progress, I had already been psyching myself out for weeks in preparation, comparing my climbing with everyone else and noting just how much better than me they were. A competition was not the right environment for such delicate confidence. I handed my score card in that day too, no name and soggy from tears.

Being a stubborn creature though, my sights were still set on entering my first proper bouldering competition. This time, at Blokfest, I'd know to expect the pressure to not take too long on a problem and the guts it takes to try a route in front of a crowd impatiently waiting for their turn. I also knew to expect to climb almost nothing and to try and not get hung up on that fact. As with running, this was my first event, so an automatic PB was already in the bag.

To my delight the first four women's problems I found were simple traverses. Perfect for warming up, nothing too tricky and all nice and close to the ground, to keep my nerves settled. Flash, flash, flash, flash. 44 points. Already what I'd expected to get for the entire afternoon!

Credit: Jeremy Leong

Perhaps this pre-determined limit was in my head when I stepped up to the next route. It was a tricksy number with a few holds at the start to get your head scratching. I couldn't get off the start. I gave myself a second chance. Another failed attempt. Maybe I had reached my limit.

Head down, I walked away to watch the 'real' climbers tackle the rest of the 25 problems. Until I got the push from a friend to try another problem. His enthusiasm is always so infectious, there was no way to back out. To my surprise, I found myself at the top.

Maybe, just maybe, I was better than I was letting myself be?

From then on the determination to grab those 11 precious points for completing a route on the first attempt, saw me flash a string of harder problems. But the wish to see just what I was capable of if I allowed myself to try, saw me attempt way more. I may not have finished some of the routes I tried but each move made was a mini win. And that tricksy problem I mentioned? Re-attempted and ticked off.

With only 20-minutes of the competition left and no energy in the tank, I began to drag my worn-out arms home without submitting my score until that change of heart made me do otherwise. The excitement at seeing my name amongst 39 other badass women, no matter how far down the list, makes me so glad I did.

Credit: @clintyclimbing

Bring on the next competition!


  1. Well done you! The way your competitions is done sounds different to at my wall - we have a week to do the problems and tot up our totals on a sheet.
    Should be less stressful, but I ended up snot-crying halfway up the wall last time because I felt so shit and rubbish.
    I don't know how I'd do with a crowd there!!

    1. That's a nice casual competition. This one, as it's a competition with pros competing at a final, is more true to a 'normal' competition. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who gets psyched out at the wall. I hope you find a way to enjoy it more if you try out the competition again.