Tyler Landman and Leah Crane took the top spots in front of the biggest crowd ever at the British Bouldering Championships 2017. Thousands of psyched spectators gathered on Devonshire Green to watch the best of British boulderers battle it out for the crown, here’s what went down.
An amazing athletic display of strength, agility and pure determination wowed the crowd this weekend in the heart of Sheffield city centre at the British Bouldering Championships (BBCs) 2017. Crowds of excited onlookers gathered on Saturday and Sunday to watch the whole journey of the competitors, from qualifiers all the way through to the final. Massive cheers greeted every top and the great weather helped make this event one of the best yet.
With Shauna Coxsey, the reigning British Bouldering Champion and IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion, out of the equation anyone could win the women’s title this year. And Tyler Landman had flown over to compete in the men’s tournament and mix things up a little. There was all to play for, and that meant everyone was going guns out for glory.
Rob Adie, BMC competitions officer, said: “We thought last year’s competition was the best ever, but we didn’t count on the amazing turn out and great weather this year! Congrats to the winners and an immense thank you to all those involved, especially the sponsors and our ever amazing volunteers.”
We'd like to say thanks to Blocz.de and Beta Climbing Designs for providing the holds that made the BBCs 2017 an amazing, international standard event. Thanks to Technative and Ask4 Broadband for putting on an awesome livestream again, and thanks to Berghaus for sponsoring the event.
Leah Crane and Tyler Landman are your champions of the BBCs 2017.
Lots of ups and downs in this year’s competition, as many athletes’ performances varied considerably throughout the different rounds, with some qualifying high only to miss out in semis. Charlotte Garden went through a rollercoaster of emotions, as she just scraped through qualifiers in last place, to then flash every problem in the semi-finals to end up going in to finals in pole position. Unfortunately, she was unable to maintain that stellar form and finished in a respectable fifth place.
It came right down to the final blocs to decide on the winners in the men’s and the women’s tournament, as many of the athletes were on fire and topped every problem. With such strong efforts, it came down to the number of attempts to distinguish second place from first, and Leah Crane soared to success by flashing every problem, and there was no doubt Tyler Landman deserved to be crowned champion again, as he flashed two of the problems and topped all four in eight attempts.
Another amazing moment was seeing Billy Ridal launch himself horizontally across the wall as the final seconds of the timer sounded off. He’d been unable to negotiate a tricky move around a slippery volume, and knowing that he only had one shot, fully committed to the dyno and latched the final hold to send the crowd completely bonkers. Some say the other competitors are still shaking their heads in disbelief today.
We raised nearly £400 for Climbers Against Cancer when BMC ambassador Shauna Coxsey signed posters in the BMC stand on Saturday and Sunday. Kids and fans were lining up to wait for Shauna before she even arrived, and a queue stretched nearly the length of Devonshire Green as they waited for up to an hour to meet Shauna, get a signed poster, and have their picture taken with her.
Report: The British Bouldering Championships 2017
Qualifiers started well, with Matt Cousins and Leah Crane coming out full force and flashing their first problems. After last year’s fantastically difficult set of qualifier problems, the competitors had it slightly easier this year, which led to many more tops to entertain the crowd. There was an impressive turnout for the qualifying round, with spectators gathering to bask in the sun and watch the 90 male and female athletes put on a show.
Temperatures continued to rise throughout the day, making the tiny crimps greasier and harder to hold. There was still a surprise left before semi-finals though, as James Garden – a regular in BBCs finals for several years – just missed out on going through to semis by one attempt.
Sunday rolled around, the sun came out once again, and semi-finals got underway. A few more volumes and big holds had appeared on the wall to replace the tiny holds from Saturday, making the climbs more puzzling and intricate. All competitors came out buzzing, with Charlotte Garden, Dave Barrans, Matt Cousins, Nathan Phillips and Jim Pope flashing the entire set.
Unfortunately, despite qualifying for semi-finals in second place, Gracie Martin couldn’t quite maintain that performance and missed out on finals in 14th place, while Imogen Horrocks was just pipped by Holly Toothill and Kitty Morrison by one attempt.
After time to recover, the crowd was revved up by compere of the event Liam Lonsdale for the final round. The competitors gave their all on the tricky blocs with some made up almost entirely of volumes, making the puzzles incredibly difficult to solve.
The women’s tournament was incredibly exciting, with many of the athletes completing the problems on their first attempt. Unfortunately for Charlotte Garden, despite looking incredibly strong, she couldn’t quite work out W1 and W4, ending up with two tops in three attempts for fifth place. Molly Thompson-Smith and Leah Crane came out with a bang, flashing W1, and Hannah Slaney only took two attempts too. But on W2, Molly came incredibly close to reaching the top in three attempts, failing at the final hold. However, her three tops in three attempts was enough to secure the bronze medal.
Leah Crane and Hannah Slaney were left to fight for gold, and Leah kept the pressure high with another flash on W3, which Hannah matched. Coming into the final problem, Leah remained calm and composed, latched the one-two-three dyno, eyed up the final hold, and jumped for gold. Another flash gave her a perfect score in the final, rightfully earning her the title of British Bouldering Champion for the third time!
In the men’s tournament, Matt Cousins, Champion from the BBCs 2016, cut it fine on M1, taking six attempts and nearly the whole time to finally top the first bloc. This eventually cost him a podium position, as he flashed M3 and M4, which could have put him in third place. However, Nathan Phillips took the bronze medal, with an impressive three tops in five attempts.
The battle for gold would be decided between the visiting Slovenian Anže Peharc and former Champion Tyler Landman. Tyler took the early lead, only taking two attempts on M1 and dazzling the audience by flashing M2 through pure determination to not let his fingers fall from the holds. But a number of slips on M3, which Anže only took two attempts to top, meant there was all to play for again on the final, tough-looking problem. There could only be one winner, and Tyler proved he wanted the crown the most, as he pulled his way to the top in only one attempt to take the title of British Bouldering Champion again.
Congrats and big thanks to everyone that took part. Special mentions go to Hannah Slaney, Kitty Morrison, Holly Toothill, and Jim Pope, who put on sterling efforts in their first senior BBCs final this year! We can't wait to see you in action next year.
WATCH: Kitty Morrison faceplant as Tyler casually takes the title
1. Tyler Landman
2. Anže Peharc
3. Nathan Phillips
4. Matt Cousins
5. Dave Barrans
6. Jim Pope
1. Leah Crane
2. Hannah Slaney
3. Molly Thompson-Smith
4. Holly Toothill
5. Charlotte Garden
6. Kitty Morrison
WATCH: The livestream replay of Finals BBCs 2017
WATCH: The livestream replay of Semi-Finals BBCs 2017
The British Bouldering Championships has been supported with some amazing volumes from Blocz Climbing and Beta Climbing Designs have helped us out with some great new holds and volumes from Lapis holds, Bleaustone, Captain Crux, 23 Holds, Squadra and X-Cult Climbing. We would like to send a huge thanks to these guys for helping us set an awesome set of problems on the Cliffhanger wall!
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Berghaus, and Rock Over Climbing, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Birchall Blackburn Law. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.
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WATCH: Shauna Coxsey: This Girl Can Win on BMC TV