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"The dry tooling comp was a perfect day in that the balance between challenge and fun was held - in other words it was worth attempting almost every problem, flashed a few. The chat between spectators + competitors was good and the finals were spectacular. I can't believe how perfectly set that route was. I was delighted to be able to take four lads along who've never dry tooled before and that they were welcomed and not entirely crushed. In fact, they have been busy over the weekend trying to wriggle out of every other social engagement they have for the next three Saturdays! Bring it on.

Rosie Goolden - MIC (First time STS Competitor)


STS2012 - IF - Stevie Johnstone - Pic Karen McIntyre - © STS.jpg

The Scottish Winter Season got off to a flying start with the Arctic blast that hit just over three weeks ago in time for the last weekend of October.

Lots of teams out on the hill and new routes in Skye, the Northern corries and in Glencoe. This start to the Scottish Season comes on the back of lots of hard Dry-tooling action North and South of the Border and some impressive technical ascents in the alps all showing that mixed in all it’s forms is in a good place.

November and warmer, wetter conditions coincided with the first event of the 2012 Scottish Tooling Series at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. The Scottish Tooling Series has been running since 2008 and gets together a group of active climbers to test or train their skills and condition ready for the winter season ahead.

9am Saturday morning and competitors are eager to get underway on 15 qualifying routes set up by STS routesetter Kev Shields and his team! The routes cover a multitude of styles and challenges with Ice routes, Boulder problems, Sketchy Traverses and full on power test pieces all designed to work the mind and body to separate out the competitors and select the best climbers for the day’s finals.

The youth prizes are contested with four strong youth climbers fighting out for the first Scottish Youth Tooling Series prize supported by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.

3pm and many weary competitors await the placings to see if they have been selected for the tough looking finals routes on the overhanging lead wall at Ice Factor.

The Youth finals are up first with a sketchy traverse leading into a top roped finals route which taxed even the best adult qualifiers earlier in the day. All of the youth finalists gave it their best with the help of an enthusiastic crowd. James Mortimer showed his grit despite popping off the traverse managed to gather his composure restart within his time and gain the high point turning round the placements from the qualifiers.

The Females and Male finals raised the tension and the temperature a notch further with the finalists in isolation and the first female finalist making the tentative first moves onto the finals wall!

Into the Adult finals and the intensity increased with each climbers display pushing the route further onto the overhanging articulated wall. Fiona Murray made a great push into the no-mans land to seal her first win of the season in the Adult Female Category.

Harry holmes 2nd top qualifier made an awesome effort but took a fall on the last big move three holds from the top and Stevie Johnstone took a delicate approach to the climbing and with a couple of fig four moves finally put the route to rest topping out and winning the first event of the 2012 series in style. The prize giving and Party in the Ice Factor Bothan Bar followed giving us a chance to wish Kev Shields happy birthday on a day that he had worked hard to make the first STS event of the season go off without a hitch.

The series continues next Saturday at the Glasgow Climbing Centre when the morning will feature two masterclass sessions before the competition gets underway.

Then followed by events in Aberdeen (24th November) and concluding with the final event at Glenmore Lodge on the 1st of December including “High and Dry” a Lecture by Will Sim.

Results: (Name -qualifying score - placing following finals) Juniors

James Mortimer 22 1st Timothy Miller 42 2nd Andrew Halliday 23 3rd

Vets: Andy Laing 80 1st Gordon Lacey 73 2nd Tony Stott 15 3rd


Fiona Murray 119 1st Amy Goodill 86 2nd Rosie Goolden 45 3rd Gillian Culshaw 39 4th


Steve Johnstone 150 1st Harry Holmes 144 2nd Peter Holder 141 3rd Scott Grosdanoff 137 4th Cassim Ladha 121 5th Dominic Scott 111 6th

The Scottish Tooling Series is Sponsored by and and

For more details and full results visit

NB: I have uploaded a few more relevant photos.

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