On Friday, 16 February, Emma Twyford redpointed Mind Control, a 50m 8c at Oliana, making her the 5th British female to climb a sport climb of this difficulty. We caught up with Emma to get the low down:
Emma's day of success was one of high entertainment with her friend Angus Kille getting within kissing distance of the finishing holds on Mind Control twice, and even getting high on a 3rd attempt, but unfortunately it was the final day of his trip. There were also strong performances from Rhoslyn Frugtniet who was climbing with her coach, the ex junior BICC champion Adam Shocking. The same day another brit was seen lobbing off the last move on Fish Eye shouting it can’t be that hard if Hazel's done it on his descent!
Why MC? Is it any good, better say than consenting adults at malham or Fishers Folly at sheps?
Well it’s pretty hard to beat the classic teenage memories of Fisher’s Folly and the slippery polished warm up that is Consenting Adults but I guess MC is nearly as good as the UK classics. This trad chummer (Caff) told me that MC might just be one of the best 8c's that he’s been on and I thought if he could do it then it must be possible.
You made it look pretty steady, did you find it easy?
Well in the words of ‘Cragdad” Adam Hocking there are no hard moves at Oliana. In some form of seriousness though none of the moves are devastatingly hard you just have to be able to link 50m of tricky(ish) climbing together and not get savagely pumped. This is a quite challenge when you live in the UK and most routes are no longer than 20m.
How did you feel when you topped out? Did it feel as good as onsighting Statement of Youth or redpointing Unjustified?
I felt pretty surprised, I expected it to be more of a battle with my arms chicken winging but the fitness seemed to come back quickly in the first week. I think flashing Statement was still my proudest moment because of the history of the route but also because UK routes are hard to figure out quickly, luck was on my side and my decisions were well made. I found Unjustified really flipping hard but it was also a new grade barrier for me, it was a hard mental battle for me but I stuck with it. This felt pretty good though because I feel like I climbed the route in a short amount of time and I climbed it well, it felt good to have more in the tank.
Did you celebrate afterwards?
I got absolutely hammered off a few glasses of red wine. I had a fun night with the team playing shithead, listening to music and drinking; though hangovers definitely get worse with age.
Did you do any training or prep prior to the trip?
I really wanted to! But then my calendar got pretty busy with setting work. I thought post Christmas I’d be able to get more training in. In the last three weeks before Oliana I only had two or three days of setting per week so I managed a couple of Beacon route sessions with Hannah and some Indy and Stronghold sessions after setting. I had to be keen but careful not to overdo it. I think the setting helped me to be strong but I knew I wasn’t coming out with much endurance.
Angus Kille got extremely close as well on the day of your ascent, what do you think of Angus? Do you think he tried hard enough? Do you think his chocolate addiction is what stopped him at the last move?
Angus is an extremely talented climber, he’s psyched to try anything and give it his all! Yes he tried really flipping hard, his fitness levels were impressive but I almost think he wanted it too much which let it get the better of him, but I’m pretty confident he will come back soon and smash it! I like that he has a chocolate addiction, it means we can all keep up with him for a little longer. Life would suck if we had to cut out everything that we enjoy just to do a route.
What climbing goals have you got this year?
I have a few big ones, some that are achievable and some that might be pipe dreams but I’ll give them my best shot. I’ve got some Alpine stuff I’d like to do, more Pembroke hits and Big Bang as a bit of a long term project. I like opening accounts on routes but not finishing them off; it's become a real forte of mine.
If you were stuck on a desert island and had to choose from Adam Hocking, Angus or Rhos for company who would you choose and why?
Hmmmmm that’s a tricky one! I would choose Rhos of course because the other two have left Spain now and she has incriminating video evidence of me doing some dodgy dancing.
Tell me why living in north wales is miles better than living in Sheffield if you’re a climber? Is it that there are loads more better climbs, loads more cool people, or both?]
Hahahahaha loaded question. Obviously it’s a bit of both. I’m a mountains girl at heart, not a city girl. Sheffield was a great place to be but North Wales is a better place for me. The only downside is that there is no decent pub in Llanberis.
Your partner Dougie paraglides. Are you going up there at some point as well?
I’m hoping that one day soon he’ll take me on a tandem Paragliding tour of North Wales – hint hint!
What key tips would you give to a climber wanting to redpoint a tough climb? After all Hock is keen for Dura Dura!
Well anything is possible for Cragdad especially when he deploys the ninja Hock stack move.
I think it’s important to have a realistic goal, break it down into sections and make sure you have the beta sorted though don’t get too caught up if you end up doing something slightly different.
Set yourself mini markers of links you’d like to make on the route, any progress (even half a move) is good progress so try to be positive with it. Remember what your doing is probably nails for you so be kind to yourself and don’t take it too seriously. Have fun and enjoy the process.
Critical crag food you’d die without?
Bananas and 9 bars – I’m a 9 bar addict. They have replaced my Cadbury’s milk chocolate bar addiction sadly as I’ve cut out Lactose due to Eczema.
What do you think of Hazel? On a likeable scale of 1 to 5 where would you place her with 1 being the lowest?
Well I heard you saying she was a one which is a little harsh Caff! We don’t hang out that much together so I don’t know Hazel super well but she’s always nice when I do see her. Hazel is incredibly inspiring, she always makes climbs look deceptively easy and doesn’t use height as an excuse.
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