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28 May 2013

European Championships Grindelwald 2013

Your Average Weekend …

For the majority of people the weekend of the 25th and 26th of May was just a normal weekend, but for three of Ireland’s best boulderers, Irish team members Dominic Burns, Jamie Rankin, Daragh O’Connor and MI Irish Team Coach Eddie Cooper, it was a bit more than just ordinary. Their weekend, in the shadow of the Eiger, consisted of attending and competing in the first ever European Youth Boulder Championships, held in Grindelwald Switzerland. The championship accommodated just short of 250 competitors from a ‘mere’ 25 different nations!

European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 2

Despite taking part in previous European competitions, this weekend’s experience was new for all three boys as for the first time they set out to compete in the older and even more challenging Youth A category! …  Not one of them let us down!

They weren’t just climbing with the best in Europe, they were competing with them and giving them a good run for their money!  Great performances from all three show that without a shadow of a doubt they deserve to be there!

The IFSC competition scoring system for bouldering can be a little deceiving. It can often look as though the competitor couldn’t even get off the ground when they may have touched the final hold on many of the problems! This can be very frustrating for the competitors but in this circumstance ‘1 top’ beats any number of ‘bonuses’.

I think it’s fair to say that even though the results this weekend were brilliant they don’t really give the full picture of just how well the guys climbed! The amazing and reassuring thing is their persistence!

I don’t think you can ask for a better response to the comp …  “Its all sweet, got me psyched to get ridiculously strong!!” Jamie Rankin.

And with the collective insight of the guys, “a bit more power and stamina is the key” …  What will stop them?

A special mention does need to be given to Dominic Burns, aka Dom as he’s better known throughout Ireland and Europe. On Saturday he competed against the best, and … he beat the best!

Qualifying for the final in first place! The only competitor in Youth A to top all 8 qualification problems. Problems which many of us wouldn’t be able to get off the ground on, never mind complete first attempt. Dominic ranked number 1 in Europe in 2012, in Youth B bouldering, certainly proved why.

Unfortunately like I said on this occasion the results didn’t do any of them justice. The final problems were superb and despite not suiting Dominic’s style, he fought hard and topped 2 out of 3 problems (with, as always fingertips bleeding) and gave a super smile to the camera after flashing his final problem in style … what a Pro!

His qualification to the final was no fluke, he has never failed to make a European Bouldering final! There will be many more to come, so no need to worry!

It was in Grindelwald last year that Dominic became the first Irish team member to stand on a European podium …  On the top step in first place!!

Something that deserves a bit more publicity and definitely a party :) …

For now, a huge mention needs to be made to all the team who train and try harder than you can imagine, to Eddie who supports and encourages day in and day out! To Surf Mountain and The North Face for all their support and to Gravity and Awesome Walls, who give the team the opportunity to train their hearts out! Thanks!!

Report By Lucy Mitchell

European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 6

 European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 5 European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 4 European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 3  European Championships Grindelwald 2013 - 1

22 May 2013

Youth Climbing Series Finals 2013

Youth Climbing Finals 2013

April 27, the day of the Youth Climbing Series Finals 2013, I awoke with a smile already
happening on the inside and on the outside. I love going along to watch the young peoples’
climbing competitions. It is a day’s outing that I honestly never tire of.

There is the overall excitement of the day, and the laughter and camaraderie that is among
all. There is the joy of being a parent that is hands on, really partaking in their child’s life.
There are the friendships I have made with the other parents, and warm regard I have for
all the kids.

When you think of it, what a totally cool, yet totally healthy sort of sport for my child to be
involved in. How could I be anything but pleased? There are so many kids, of all ages, both
male and female, and they are the nicest bunch of kids a parent could hope for their child to
spend time with. They all really do care about each other, I have no doubts about that.

I see these competitions as very healthy competitions. Yes, each kid there is trying their
best and wants to win, but at the same time, they are really so supportive of each other.
And not just of the kids in their own club, but also all the ones from other parts of the
country that have become friends over the past years. This true sportsmanship is a beauty
to behold, and I believe it helps them to become better young people.

This competing offers my son the opportunity for growth in plenty of other life skills too,
from learning to take responsibility to organise and pack for the competition, his shoes/
equipment/clothes/lunch/drinks/money/Mountaineering Ireland card and so on ( and
remembering to pack it all up at the end of the day? ) to performing under pressure while
being watched by dozens of spectators. Talk about ‘feel the fear and do it anyways!’ He is
learning to cope with stress, and to keep going even when things are not going his way. He
is learning to focus, to concentrate, to pace himself. He is experiencing both highs and lows,
sometimes yo-yoing back and forth as the day goes by. And all the kids have good days,
and bad days, ups and down, days when they maybe don’t feel like climbing quite so much,
but go along, get stuck in, and realise it is ok after all. It is kind of teaching them about the
reality of life if you ask me, about life on life’s terms.

Youth Climbing Finals 2013


So the kids laugh, they cry, they hug and console, or slap each other on the back and high.
But they keep on going. What do I as a parent do, besides enjoying the socialising
side of things? I feel the day as he performs the day. I feel butterflies in my stomach as
he is tying on, or stepping up to a problem. I feel excitement sing through me as he keeps
on going right to the top, or a moment’s sympathy when he slips and falls. I feel chastised
when I am told not to shout encouragement, or to take pictures. I feel delight when I get a
hug from him just for being there. I feel pride in my son the whole day, no matter how he
does, and the smile inside gets bigger.

In my mind, the climbing world is a great environment for young people. And the
competitions are a wonderful part of that world. I am so honoured that my son allows me
to be a part of what is actually such a big part of his life, even when I embarrass him by
saying or doing a ‘mum’ sort of thing. Is it any wonder I offer myself and my vehicle to go
along any chance I get?


Youth Climbing Finals 2013 Youth Climbing Finals 2013 
 Youth Climbing Finals 2013



28 April 2013

Deaf Friendly Climbing

Bouldering at the Ozone

NIYCT facilitated a series of ten climbing sessions for deaf children from January to March 2013.  This project was supported by Belfast City Council with a Belfast Clubmark Open Event grant.

The children were coached by Eddie Cooper with assistance from Dominic Burns.  Antonette Burns, who is a professional Teacher of the Deaf, provided deaf awareness training for the coaches, liaised with the children and their parents and organised the initiative.

The highlight for the children was a trip to Awesome Walls where they were able to try out the skills they had learned at the Ozone.  The children now continue to climb every week in classes held at the Ozone.

We are very grateful to everyone who helped to make this initiative a reality with their time and enthusiasm, especially Antonette Burns, Eddie Cooper and Dominic Burns who willing committed so much of their own time to make it all happen.  Read more here