Oz is scaling the heights to Team GB inclusion

A Stornoway climber who has become expert in the indoor sport of Dry Tooling has been selected for the Great Britain team to participate in the World Championships in Switzerland later this month.

By Brian Wilson
Friday, 21st January 2022, 4:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 9:48 am
Oz, pictured left, is preparing for this month's world championships. With him is fellow GB team member, Geoff Blake.
Oz, pictured left, is preparing for this month's world championships. With him is fellow GB team member, Geoff Blake.

Oz Miller took up the sport only seven months ago. Already an experienced outdoor climber, when he moved to the city to work for Scottish Gas Networks, he went to an event at the Glasgow Climbing Centre, run by the Scottish Dry Tooling Club.

Several of the GB team are members and Oz, who turns 30 this week, said: “If you do something with people who are really good at it, that progresses your own development”.

Asked to describe indoor Dry Tooling, he said: “Imagine there is no ice on a wall. You are carrying two axes and looking for holes that are man-made. On your feet, instead of regular climbing boots, you are wearing what we call fruit boots, with small mono-point crampons on the toes”.

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Oz said: “Everything I have learned has been through the club and the Climbing Centre. I just go there every night and train like mad”. He has already taken part in competitions in Slovakia, Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Dry-tooling grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, particularly as it allows for training in non-icy conditions. And, with the spread of climbing centres, it has developed as an indoor sport in its own right.

Oz has tried his hand at outdoor dry tooling in the Lake District and Yorkshire. He says: “It’s amazing – a different discipline but the same basic skills are required”.

At the World Championships, he will compete in the lead climbing and speed events. He explains: “It’s an individual sport in the sense that the only person who is going to get you up there is yourself, but it is very much a team effort. Imagine going fishing with lots of people shouting you on – that’s what it’s like”.

Oz attended Stornoway Primary and the Nicolson, then worked for CalMax and the Water Board before moving to Glasgow three years ago. Having advanced so quickly in his chosen sport, he could now benefit from a little sponsorship to help him fulfil his goals. “It’s difficult to ask,” he says – so the Gazette will do it for him – “but a couple of grand over the space of a year would make an incredible difference”.