Sunday 14 September 2014

European Tree Climbing Competition 2014

She’s gone and smashed the ISA European Tree Climbing Championships!


Since 2007, Jo’s wanted to get her mitts on the European Champion title, and just three weeks after becoming World Champion, she’s only gone and done it!


Up until now, Jo’s placed 2nd in the comp, which for this competitive climber, just ain’t good enough. Never one to rest on her laurels, she’s trained like a banshee and finally she can tick that box. Yeah!


The competition took place in Poland on the 30th and 31st August. Flanked by her UK comrades, Bruce Fowels and Matt Glen, she wasn’t going to settle for second best. But with last year’s female champion, Anja Erni, in the running, she knew she had to pull out all the stops.

UK&I team: Matt Glenn, Josephine Hedger, Bruce Fowles

Jo says, “Anja is a very good climber and competent in all of the events, so it’s not surprising she’s won the Euros three times. I’ve been after the title for a while, so I think my raw determination saw me through!”


And so it did. Jo came 1st in Aerial rescue, Footlock and Head-to-Head Footlock; 2nd in Throwline and Work Climb; 5th in Speed Climb; and in the knuckle-biting Masters Climb, she also cleaned up with 1st place.

Bruce during the Aerial Rescue event

“The Work Climb was definitely my favourite event – the tree was really well set out. There was a great route through the canopy, which allowed for some good movement and big swings. The Speed Climb was fun, too. It started off with rock climbing holds to get to the first branches. And because the tree was a pine, there were loads of branches to run and jump on. Now that’s my kinda climb!”


Jo wasn’t the only UK Climber to make the grade – Matt Glenn also claimed the men’s trophy, giving the UK both a male and female winner!  


Always keen to celebrate, Jo, Matt and friends had a meal and drinks on the last night, knowing that every scratch and bruise was well worth it. But it seems Polish food has its quirks, “They give you large jugs of lard with your meal...not for me I'm afraid!” We can’t think why, Jo!


So all in all, this summer has been an exceptional one. But true to form, Jo’s already thinking about next year, “Winning doesn’t satisfy my appetite, it just makes me more determined to do it again…!”


That’s our girl!
2014 European Champions: Josephine Hedger & Matt Glenn

Wednesday 20 August 2014

International Tree Climbing Competition 2014

Jo with the trophy
She’s done it again…


We’re over-the-moon to announce that our very own Josephine Hedger is World Tree Climbing Champion 2014!

Having two titles already under her belt, this third victory really is the icing on the cake. It comes after a shed load of hard work and determination: “I’ve had my sights set on reclaiming the title since I won in 2010. The last year especially has been intense – I’m pretty sure I’ve spent more time up trees than down them!” says Jo.

The ISA International Tree Climbing Competition was held in Milwaukee, USA, on the 2nd and 3rd August. With 39 men and 19 women competing, the event was truly buzzing. And of course, last year’s winners Scott Forrest and Nicola Ward-Allen were there to defend their titles, “It's a challenge to beat a defending Champion. When you’ve got something to protect, your determination goes up a gear. Nicola and I are very close in terms of points in the majority of events, which meant I had to be extremely focused throughout,” says Jo.

All ready to go
The comp kicked off with breakfast in the park at 7:30, which Jo notoriously never eats! Her first event was the Throwline, followed by the Foot Lock, Aerial Rescue (Jo’s personal favourite), Speed Climb and Work Climb. While scores were added, Jo took part in a demo for next year’s new Ascent event, whereby she used a Single Rope Technique.


At 6:30 sharp(ish!), each of the prelim event winners up to 3rd place were announced. Jo and UK’S Matt Glen came 3rd in the team event and Jo came 2nd in total prelim scores. Four males and three females were put through to the Masters Climb the next day, Jo being one of them, of course!

Entrees have 32 minutes to complete the Masters Climb. True to form, Jo completed hers with 50 seconds left on the clock. Whilst scores were counted, Jo competed in the head to head footlock event. And yes, she won!
Scott Forrest  & Josephine Hedger 2014 Champions

Finally, the results of the competition were announced during the ISA opening ceremony. There, Jo triumphantly claimed her trophy, but not before tripping over her own foot on the way up. Priceless!

“Apart from tripping over at the awards ceremony and also setting off the buzzer during the Work Climb event, this year’s comp was a lot of fun! The party afterwards was particularly amusing – when I start dancing, I don’t stop! I’d like to thank my sponsor DMM Wales for supporting me and providing hardware, and Honey Bros for supplying textile equipment. Now I have my sights set on 2015…a fourth title wouldn’t hurt!”

Award Ceremony