September 11th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

On August Bank holiday weekend we set off to Exeter for my first DWS competition. I had seen the videos of last years and thought it would awesome to compete in desire there being no ParaClimbing category. 

After registration and briefing it was time to take a look at the routes. They looked difficult and obviously not set for my category. However, I decided that my goal would be to top one route and give the other two a damn good go. 

The first climb was fairly easy on once I started it flowed well and I topped it without too much problem. 

The second climb had a disco ball hanging about half way down which you had to climb up before tackling two huge volumes. I was bound to get wet on this one. I started the ascent got to the disco ball and hung on. To my surprise (and the crowds) I got on the ball and to the two volumes. Playing on these for a while I just could not get my legs up enough and with little to hold on to ‘splashdown’. 

The third route was the toughest and unfortunately I fell only a few holds up but a brilliant competition and great fun. The support from the crowd was unbelievable. The Quay Climbing Centre summed it up with a quote on their Facebook page

“This moment pictured had every single person in the crowd totally engaged and cheering, a fully inspiring moment that we shall never forget!”

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August 18th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

The second international competition in Imst started for me far down in the Southern Mediterrianian. We were on holiday in Malta and had to catch an early flight from Malta to Munich. On arrival in Munich we met up with the rest of the team DNA collected our our cars.  

As well as the trek across Europe from the South this competition was also going to be a memorable one because we had with us a film crew from ITV. They were following colleague Sianagh Gallagher for the ITV Programme Real Stories which has now been shown on ITV and is available on ITV Hub.

Arrival in Imst was followed by a trip down to the wall to have a look at our setting for the weekend. The wall at Imst is an impressive sight and first impressions are misleading as the wall is set in a dip and it is not until you are up close you realise how big it is.

Friday night saw the team having a meal at a typical Austrian restaurant which was excellent, it helps when the ITV researchers have selected it and the English translation they made of the menus were very useful. After a few of the team endulged in a snaps courtesy of the owner (don’t tell the coach) we settled in for the night ready for competition on Saturday.

There were four in my category this time and the format was going to be 6 climbs no finals unless there needed to be a super final. The first three climbs of the day look reasonable and didn’t prove much of a probelm to three of the four in our category. Three of us topped all three climbs ending on day 1.

Day 2 of the competition started with a fairly straightforward climb which I topped along with my 2 rivals. The second climb showed they were starting to get tricky with some nasty crimps and reaches towards the top. The third and final climb of the competition was the decider. A nasty reach proved the difference that gave SPain Gold and I achieved a Silver with Israel getting a Bronze.

This was a great Compeition and again the support from all competitiors from all countries was amazing. The climbing family are very special.

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June 30th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips
Landing at Verona

Landing at Verona

Last weekend was the first international competition with the GB Paraclimbing

Team. We left for the airport very early on Friday morning and after a smooth flight arrived in a very warm (34c) Verona Airport in Italy. This was where we were meeting the rest of the team.

After meeting up we went to collect the hire car / minivan and hit the autobahn for our 2.5 hour journey into the Italian South Tyrol district. Arriving at Campitello di Fassa we headed straight for the wall to take a look. Three of us also had to under go medicals to check out our disabilities. The Doctor still did not find a right forearm on me.

We found a very nice Pizzeria in the village and had a very pleasant dinner getting to know each other as this was the first time since the training day the team had met up.

Saturday morning saw a quick breakfast and then down to the wall. Our Team Coach had already been down to register us and so we found a corner and settled in until the competition started.

Team and Coach Group Photo

Team and Coach Group Photo

My first qualifying climb appeared to be fairly easy and I topped it with no real problem. The second qualifying climb was a little harder with a small dyno at the top to the last hold. However, no real issue gave me another flash. Having made the final I had my first experience of isolation and came out pumped to flash the final route which I did.

After a long wait for the awards ceremony I finally received my first Gold medal for the World Paraclimbing Cup.

A celebratory dinner at a Pizzeria and Steakhouse in the next village made for a pleasant evening other than the issue that our minivan had now gone into ‘limp’ mode because the hire company had failed to maintain their vehicle properly and not filled up a fuel additive. luckly, the journey back to the village was all downhill so off we coasted.

Sunday we woke and had breakfast in a small cafe in the village. I then went back to the hotel to rest whilst our coach tried to get the hire company to take responsibility for the vehicle breakdown. With an ‘international incident’ brewing (joke) Mercedes Italia and Mercedes UK cam to our rescue. An engineer of theirs brought the additive out and reset the vehicle.

Impromptu Bowls waiting for delayed flight

Impromptu Bowls waiting for delayed flight

Monday after a quick trip on the cable car to the summit of the mountain we started home. A tour round Verona before going to the airport to find our plane two hours late due to the French air traffic controllers striking again. Some impromptu games with a ball and tiled floor (don’t ask) the team amused themselves until the plan took off. We arrived back in the UK at about 0230 in the morning.


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April 24th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

A recent holiday to Scotland gave my brother and I an opportunity to try out a couple of the Scottish Indoor Climbing Centres. So after a couple of days skiing in the Cairngorms and a session on a Segway we set off for Ice Factor Read more of this article »

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