What is GB Climbing?

Posted by Nick Colton on 15/05/2021

Ever wondered what GB Climbing is? GB Climbing is a department of the BMC for competition climbing - nationally and internationally.

GB Climbing, an internal business unit of the BMC, manages all aspects of talent and development pathways and competition climbing in England and Wales.

This includes organising competitions, managing the GB Climbing Teams, delivering performance-based coach education nationally, and managing the talent pathway to enable all climbers to have the opportunity to develop – whether at grassroots or international level – in partnership with Mountaineering Scotland.  

Having supported competition climbing since the 1980s, the BMC is the recognised national governing body (NGB) for competition climbing. This includes paraclimbing, ice-climbing and ski mountaineering in England and Wales. Mountaineering Scotland is the recognised NGB in Scotland. GB Climbing is also responsible for the competitive aspects of ski mountaineering with support from Mountaineering Scotland and ClimbScotland (a programme by Mountaineering Scotland).

Now, for the first time, competition climbing (known as Sport Climbing internationally) is in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  The event features bouldering, lead, and speed climbing combined.  

For many climbers, it all starts with our highly popular Youth Climbing Series which provides young people with the opportunity to experience competition climbing. This nationwide competition series runs throughout a number of regions, culminating in a grand final.

Athletes from this series can then feed into the national competitions program, comprising of open events and British Championship events at Youth, Junior, and Senior levels. These events are feeders into the GB National Development Squad.  

Being selected on to the GB National Development Squad secures access to individual profiling, and training events. It provides the opportunity, as GB climbing athletes, to experience international competitions abroad, such as European Cups and World Championships, run by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC).  

Athletes can continue their journey by following the development pathway to join the GB Senior team.  The possibility to take part in IFSC World Cups and Word Championships events around the world awaits them at this stage. 

Diversity is important to the BMC and GB Climbing also delivers the Paraclimbing Series and the GB Paraclimbing Team, both at the forefront of world paraclimbing.

As well as being the Sport England and UK Sport recognised NGB for competition climbing in the UK, the BMC is recognised by the IFSC. This IFSC recognition allows the BMC to issue licenses and register GB Climbing athletes for international competitions.

As the NGB we work closely with UK Sport to support our Olympic hopefuls.  In addition, our talent pathway, funded by Sport England, supports the GB National Development Squad and delivers performance-based coach education nationally.

On top of the visible work there is a vast amount of unseen organisational work required, such as the preparation and maintenance of background policies and procedures needed to support GB Climbing.  For example: GB Climbing Team Selection policies, Anti-Doping policies, safeguarding procedures to ensure under 18s and adults at risk are safe, and equity and equal opportunity policies. Importantly, the BMC has all the relevant insurance in place for all events run for GB Climbing. 

The BMC is compliant with the Sport England and UK Sport Code for Sports Governance to Tier 3, the highest level required of NGBs.

It’s an exciting time for GB Climbing as the sport of climbing develops. However, launching GB Climbing is only the first step on our journey. As an organisation, we are aiming to move towards an ambitious clear strategy, with clarity in purpose and ambition, striving for excellence and a positive athlete experience.


WATCH: We Are GB Climbing

🧗‍♀️ FOLLOW: GB Climbing's Instagram for exclusive photos and results

⛰️ JOIN: Become a BMC member and support GB Climbing

📺 WATCH: GB Climbing YouTube playlist

🐦SCROLL: GB Climbing on X for live updates

👍 LIKE: GB Climbing Facebook for even more news and photos

👀 VISIT: GB Climbing website and see who's on the team

GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland and Secur-it. Many UK walls also support the GB Climbing team through free or subsidised entry.


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