The first ever BMC National Disability Climbing Competition was held on Sunday 25 April at Climb UK in Rochdale.
Due to being a new event it was run in a relaxed ‘give it a try nature’. It was delivered in a number of categories, which included fully ambulant, sensory impairments, upper limbs only, upper limbs only that have impairments. In addition a timed rope ascent for essential wheelchair users was provided.
Route setter Ian Dunn provided 3 boulder problems and 3 climbs ensuring that there was an opportunity for everybody to get on the score card but also that people could be properly challenged. The balance worked really well with a small number of climbers nearly topping out on the harder route and one individual completing the hardest boulder problem.
It was an excellent response on the day with over 35 people entering with fantastic examples of climbing and no shortage of cheering and support. Many parents and carers commented how climbing standards were much higher than normal because they were competing.
The event was finished off with a short talk and prize giving by Jamie Andrew, the Scottish mountaineer who lost both his hands and feet to frostbite whilst mountaineering in the Alps. Despite his handicap, Jamie has continued with his mountaineering career and has made some amazing ascents all over the world, raising many thousands of pounds for charity along the way.
BMC Competitions Officer Rob Adie extends his thanks to people who supported the participants on the day including parents, teachers, support workers and carers. A big thank you also goes to the British Climbing Team and to the volunteers who provided essential support on the day.
The staging of the event is a result of the work of the BMC’s Equity Steering Group. Committee member Graeme Hill, a Link4Life Disability Sports Officer, has seen the number of competition opportunities for disabled people in all sports develop very rapidly. The BMC is committed to opening up the same opportunities in climbing. The BMC plans to meet in June to review the day and develop an action plan for staging more events like this in the future.
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Climb UK, Rochdale