Get pumped! The contenders of the La Sportiva BMC BBCs 2019

Posted by Peter Burnside on 04/07/2019
The finalists of the BBCs 2018. Photo: Pete Burnside

Young guns and canny veterans are lining up to try and take the crown this year at the La Sportiva BMC British Bouldering Championships 2019, which will take place on 6-7 July. Find out more about who's gunning for the top at the #BBCs2019. And don't forget, you can watch the livestream of semi-finals and finals on BBC Sport on Sunday!

We asked a few questions of the contenders to build up the hype of the number one event on the British Competition Climbing calendar. There are a few notable names missing below; Dave Barrans, for instance, with 15 appearances at the BBCs and a number of titles to his name is always a contender. 

Meanwhile, Jen Wood who came second last year will be eyeing the gold medal this year, especially as reigning champion Hannah Slaney will not be competing at the coming event. Other notables include previous finalists such as Holly Toothill, Rhoslyn Frugniet, and Tara Hayes, not to mention social media elite climbers Imogen Horrocks, who made it to the semi-finals last year, and Xian Goh who made finals of the BBCs in 2014.

If you're as excited as we are but can't make it, watch the semi-finals and finals LIVE on BBC Sport on Sunday using the link below.

WATCH: The La Sportiva BMC BBCs 2019 on BBC Sport

So who are some of the other main contenders? Read on to find out. 

 

Nathan Phillips

25 from Huddersfield, currently living in Sheffield, and is the reigning British Bouldering Champion.

What’s your preferred comp problem style? Slabbed and balancey, overhanging and powerful, or esoteric and contorted?
Everything except hand jams.

Do you get energy from the crowd or prefer to zone out and focus?
Crowd support definitely helps.

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
It’s always exciting to see if you can top the UK rankings each year.

 

Natalie Berry

27 from Glasgow, currently living in Chamonix. Placed 1st as a junior and came 3rd as a senior last year.

What’s your preferred comp problem style? Slabbed and balancey, overhanging and powerful, or esoteric and contorted?
1. Slabby and balancey, 2. Overhanging and powerful, 3. Esoteric and contorted. 4. Anything bunched as I'm a giraffe!

Do you get energy from the crowd or prefer to zone out and focus?
Energy is great! Lots of noise please.

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
Eating all of my favourite snacks, notably dark chocolate and Hard Bars!

 

Orrin Coley

23 from Leicester, and has come 3rd and 4th at the BBCs before.

Do you prefer to climb in trousers, leggings or shorts? (or other?)
Depends if there's a knee bar. 

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
Train a lot.

You’ve just won the BBCs, what’s your celebratory drink?
Glass of milk.

 

Jim Pope

20 from London, currently living in Sheffield. Came 6th in the BBCs before.

What’s your preferred comp problem style? Slabbed and balancey, overhanging and powerful, or esoteric and contorted?
Slabs are my favourite, then coordination modern blocks, then steep powerful.

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
Living in Sheffield, It’s nice to compete locally. But I also like competing against the other British competitors to battle it out to see who’s the best.

You’ve just won the BBCs, what’s your celebratory drink? 
Buckfast.

 

Jon Partridge

36 from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Has come 3rd a number of times before.

Where do you grade yourself on the static-dynamic scale? 1 being static like a sloth, 10 being dynamic like a kangaroo.
Is there a veteran category yet? Maybe a 3 on a good day.

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
Yes, my OCD goes into overdrive so everything is highly ritualised.

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
It's the showcase competition for UK climbing and the only time you really get to participate in a world cup style event domestically. Now I just do it for fun, catch up with people, and give me an idea as to how far I've fallen.

 

Gwyneth Uttley

19 from Bristol but now studying in Sheffield. Came 8th in the BBCs in 2017.

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
Eggs and ketchup in the morning, I love ketchup!

You’ve just won the BBCs, what’s your celebratory drink?
A fancy G and T please!

 

Tai Tewkesbury

16 from Brighton competing in the BBCs for the first time this year.

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
No rituals as such but I do have lucky competition underpants.

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
This is the first time for me competing here and I’m super psyched! I’m sure I will love it and it will be the first of many. 

 

Louis Parkinson (aka Captain Cutloose)

27 from London and will be competing in the BBCs for his 10th time this weekend, with a best result so far of 8th.

Where do you grade yourself on the static-dynamic scale? 1 being static like sloth, 10 being dynamic like a kangaroo.
I'm known to be very dynamic, but have been doing my best to practice every style for the last few years!

Favourite style of climbing?
No footed! Despite practicing everything else but this, I still feel like it is my comfort zone ;)

What music will you be listening to in isolation?
The Benny Hill theme on loop always gets me psyched.

 

Ajda Remskar

24 from Slovenia, has come 8th before.

Where do you grade yourself on the static-dynamic scale? 1 being static like sloth, 10 being dynamic like a kangaroo.
First try – always about a 2, but I can get to about 6 on a good day.

What music will you be listening to in isolation?
Novi svet by Siddharta (Slovenian rock band).

 

Alex Waterhouse

22 from Plymouth, currently living in New Hampshire, US. Came 6th in the BBCs in 2018.

Do you prefer to climb in trousers, leggings or shorts? (or other?)
I love a good pair of eye-catching shorts! Have got a good lineup ready for this comp, and will be in a different pair every round. I'm packing three and I'm very much hoping to use them all...

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
A solid pre-comp poo is an excellent sign of an impending good performance. 

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
It's my chance to see if the work I've been doing for the last year has moved me forwards against the best in the country, and to fight for a place on the GB team. 
 

Billy Ridal

22 from Selston, Nottinghamshire, currently living in Sheffield. Came 4th in 2016.

Where do you grade yourself on the static-dynamic scale? 1 being static like a sloth, 10 being dynamic like a kangaroo.
Maybe an 8, it’s all about the fast slow, aka flow.

What’s your preferred comp problem style? Slabbed and balancey, overhanging and powerful, or esoteric and contorted?
I'm always happy to see a slab, mantels are a particular favourite. Basic crimps or slopey pinching less so.

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
It’s the biggest national showcase of British talent and it’s the one time each year we all get to throw down against one another.

 

Matt Varela-Christie

30 from London, half Scottish half Colombian. Came 12th in the BBCs last year.

Do you prefer to climb in trousers, leggings or shorts? (or other?)
Always get the power noodles out.

Do you have any pre-comp rituals?
Good food + good music + good scenes = good mood.

 

Max (The Future) Milne

18 from Aberdeen, Scotland. First time he’ll be competing in the BBCs.

Where do you grade yourself on the static-dynamic scale? 1 being static like a sloth, 10 being dynamic like a kangaroo.
I am a very dynamic climber! I need to be as I’m only 5’4 aha. 

What music will you be listening to in isolation?
I’ll be listening to some grime. 

Why do you like competing at the BBCs?
Because I wanna be the champ. 


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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Anonymous User
05/07/2019
Disappointed you only managed to interview 3 ladies compared to 10 men when the entry numbers are 48 to 62 and in youth comps the girls are regularly outnumbering boys.
Peter Burnside(author comment)
05/07/2019
Hello, sorry to hear you're disappointed. We sent out the questions to loads of the competitors and we've published all the replies that we received, which happened to be 10 males and 3 females. We'll try better to get more replies from the female athletes next time!
Best wishes
Pete
Anonymous User
05/07/2019
Define loads? For instance, was it sent out to all those female competitors that made it to the semi-finals last year and are competing again this year?

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