Rock and competition climber

4th in the world!

4th in the world!

I don’t even know where to start. I had such a blast climbing my first final and being a part of the big show of the world cup in Chamonix. Climbing finals in Chamonix has been a dream ever since I saw my first final there 9 years ago. It’s every competition climbers dream. The world cup in Chamonix is the biggest, most spectacular and usually the event with the most starters. The only comp to beat this one is the world championship.

This competition was my third of the season and the first two didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Nerves made the first one – the european championship – a hard one. I had no flow in my climbing and made a lot of mistakes. One cruical mistake in each route made me 22nd in the end. A result I was quite unhappy about. Number two, the first world cup, was even worse. Climbing was a lot better, it felt good to climb and I enjoyed the routes, but again, a mistake in the first qualifer left me unhappy and even out of semis as my second climb wasn’t my best either.

Eddie Fowke / The Circuit

Two comps, five routes I was unhappy about and two results I didn’t feel represented my level. I started to get stressed I would end up in this bad circle and that it would continue. I’ve taken a big step in my climbing this past year and I had some thoughts about what level I should be at in the world cup. So far, I was pretty far from what I thought.

Chamonix on the other hand went a lot better than I had ever imagined in the months leading up to this season. I made semis in 15th place with a top 10 result and advanced to finals in 6th! After my climb in semis I thought I would advance a few spots as the route was pretty physical and suited me well, but the thought of finals never occured until I was in 9th position. Only one more girl had to fall for me to make it to finals. And it happened. Several girls actually fell and I advanced to finals in 6th place. We were three girls who made it to our first world cup final and we all had a blast!

Eddie Fowke / The Circuit

The route had holds I had never seen before, a jump, volumes, some pretty physical sequenses through the steep part, and as always in Chamonix – a crimpy finish. I didn’t have any expectations about where I should get, it was my first final after all, but I wanted to reach 2/3 of the wall and I wanted to fight.

Last thing I did before I stepped on the wall was to breath in the moment, and that’s about the last thing I remember.

After watching replays of my climb I obviously remember more. I had a good flow, I was determined, I was efficient and I had so much fun. 2/3 up the route I started to get a bit pumped, but not too bad, and out of the blue I find a knee bar. A knee bar so good I could rest for a minute and get fresh. It was in this rest I realized I was climbing a world cup final. My dream final in Chamonix! It was all very surreal. 1 minute and 30 seconds left on the clock I rushed out of the knee bar and continued my way up the route, which still felt pretty okay. Holds were good and moves weren’t too hard. I made it to the top part of the wall and came to the first move I felt I could actually fall on. I realized fast that this was a move that would split people and I went for the safe method – grabbing the hold with the wrong hand and moving towards the next one to get a +. This descision made me 4th instead of 5th, but looking back at it now I wish I went for the right method. It was a desperate move, you had to fall into a small crimp, but doing the right beta is always the way to go. I like my climbing the most when I take chances and risk falling, and that is the only negative thing from my last climb in Chamonix.

If 4th place is a result that represents my level is too early to say, most likely i’ts a little too good to be true for now. I know the top level girls are a step ahead, and I also know how small the margains of making finals are. It’s a lot of strong girls competing at the moment, and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna see a lot of different girls making their first final apperances this year.

Sytse van Slooten

I am really happy to have completed a competition where every route just went better and better, where I felt solid and strong, where I had a good flow and managed to fight. This is to date my best comp and it will stay in my heart for a very long time. Before this, my best competition experience in regards of feeling, flow and fight was six years ago. Psyched to have made a new personal best!

A big thank you and a hug goes out to everyone who sent messages, called, hugged me, congratulated me. I have no words of how much it means and I tried my best to reply to you all.

 For Norwegian readers, this is a piece I wrote for Klatring:
Full replays of finals here, I start climbing at 1.55.00:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *