Saas Fee is always a massive round of the World Cup circuit – the entries are huge and it’s always well attended by spectators. The venue inside the atrium of the multi-storey car park is really cool, but also feels quite intense.
My first experience of World Cup climbing back in 2008 was at Saas Fee and I suspect that’s why I didn’t try it again until 2013! It’s hard and it’s about as far away from Scottish winter climbing as it’s possible to get and still be using axes and crampons (well fruit boots!)
This year I had hoped to come out fighting and put in a decent performance but almost from the first hook of my axe I could feel it wasn’t my day. I just didn’t feel comfortable or relaxed or smooth or strong or any of the things you need to climb well.
It was no surprise that I came off low down from a position that really wasn’t that difficult. Frankly I was absolutely raging with myself and it took me a little while to calm down and reflect. All those thoughts of it being a waste of time and what have I been doing all year were very much at the forefront of my mind.
Mojo re-ignition required. I always find that unless I feel like I’m climbing well and have been doing a lot I struggle – so it’s a really good thing that the major travelling sector of the world cups is over. I’m spending the next couple of weeks staying out in the alps in between the competitions and hoping to get some good climbing in. A little bit of time to enjoy it and not think so much about the pressure of competition.
On a positive note it was amazing to have such big team for Team GB at Saas Fee, there were 6 members of the senior men’s team plus an extra, debuting were Andy Inglis and Pete Holder, Harry Holmes is practically an old hand now and Stevie who climbed well. For the women’s team we had Katy Forrester competing in her first world cup.
That’s absolutely phenomenal – bigger teams than lots of the other countries that have traditionally fielded a team – although still a long way behind Team Russia!
For all the results from all the rounds so far you can find them here.