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Kletterzentrum Innsbruck is the place to be in Europe if you really want to push your competition climbing, especially Lead! Founded in 2017, the wall is now the home of the Austrian Climbing Team. There are around 500 routes in the centre with around 50 routes being graded 8a+ – 9a+.

I have passed through Innsbruck a few times and always been blown away. I first visited in 2019 with my dad after a youth European Cup, we had 2 hrs to climb before we had to catch a flight home. I remember running around the centre trying to climb and see as much as possible! Indoor routes, outdoor routes, bouldering, splatter room – it is absolutely massive! I visited again a few times in 2022 between some comps, the excitement was still there however it was key to be conservative and not wear myself out by climbing too much. I have been keen to do a specific training camp there for a while but for some reason or another, it never happened.

This year has given me the opportunity to focus on my lead climbing as a single discipline. I grew up lead climbing but more recently I have been trying to improve my strength and bouldering skills. It has actually been really nice switching focus again and going back to how I started climbing.

The plan for this training cycle was to do as much as possible at BUK to get fitter and stronger over 6-8 weeks and then go to Innsbruck and try to transfer that onto a rope. I was so nervous on the first day to see whether the training had paid off and to my dismay, I felt rubbish! The wall felt long, I felt so out of my comfort zone and I struggled to keep up with the volume session Neil had planned for us. I felt so down and almost like the training had been wasted but was reassured that it takes some time and its okay for the first session to be not so great. The next day I was dreading a repeat of the first day! The aim of this session was to try something hard and totally out of my comfort zone, Neil had picked out a steep 8c route on massive purple holds up the centre of the outdoor wall. First time up, the moves felt okay but I did feel a little daft being on something so hard. However, the second time up I made some good links and the third time I felt strong on it. Things were starting to look up a bit. The third day was probably one of the best milage sessions I have had! I felt fit enough to keep going on routes and just had fun pushing myself and getting pumped!

The rest of the trip just kept getting better. I left with a new confidence in my lead climbing which was what I was hoping for from the trip. I still have a bit of time before my comp season starts and I am already itching to try and get another training trip booked in before it does.