GB Climbing & Climbing Works collaborate to create elite training centre

Posted by Emma Travers on 19/08/2020
GB Athlete Molly Thompson-Smith climbing at Unit E at the Climbing Works. Photo: Band of Birds

The GB Climbing Team now have a new home to prepare for international competitions: The Climbing Works in Sheffield.

Over recent months GB Climbing has been seeking opportunities to enhance its pre-season preparation with the procurement of a new training space that would meet our athletesspecific needs. The increasingly varied movement styles seen at international bouldering events are challenging to train for without dedicated training space. With the new High Performance Training Facility, our GB Climbing athletes will be able spend more time on task, practicing the skills that allow them to execute these movements in a competition setting. The new facility will provide greater flexibility and versatility, enabling coaches and athletes to tailor terrain, accelerating skill acquisition in specific areas.

Photo: Band of Birds

Unit E at the Climbing Works, the GB Climbing High Performance Training Facility. Photo: Band of Birds

As a consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, GB Climbing athletes have been unable to regularly train as a group for the specialised demands of our sport. The new venue will act as space where GB Climbing athletes can not only return to training in a safe and regulated environment but also provides them with the best opportunity to prepare themselves for performance at a world-class level.

DISCOVER: The GB Climbing Team

This collaboration has been made possible through the support of UK Sport’s Aspiration Fund Programme; a government initiative designed to support sports who do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans that help athletes realise their ambitions of qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. This fund has, since its initial award in October 2018, been a crucial resource in supporting a number of GB Climbings High Performance athletes pursue qualification enabling them to access international events, coaching, sports science and medicine and performance support.

WATCH: Molly Thompson-Smith shows us round Unit E at the Climbing Works

In June of this year, GB Climbing invited tenders for the provision of training facilities ahead of the final Olympic Qualification Event later this year. GB Climbing is now pleased to announce the Climbing Works exceeded the requirements to win the bid. The Climbing Works will put its Unit E to use as a World Class training environment and is proud to be able to facilitate the continued development and expansion of GB Climbing towards further high performance.

Two of the of the Climbing Works Managing Directors, Percy Bishton and Graeme Alderson, have for many years been actively involved with international competition climbing through key roles with the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). Capping a significant international setting career, Percy was in 2019 selected as the Chief Routesetter of Bouldering for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games while Graeme has held the position of Technical Delegate for the IFSC since 2010.

Percy Bishton of The Climbing Works said:

Im delighted that GB Climbing has chosen the Climbing Works to be its home and hope that we can share our combined resources and knowledge of competition climbing to help GB Climbing athletes achieve their goals.”

Tom Greenall, GB Climbing Head Coach said:

This is a fantastic opportunity and I am really looking forward to working with The Climbing Works to create a day to day training environment where our athletes can excel and thrive as we move forward.”

Will Bosi, 2021 Olympic hopefull, climbing Unit E. Photo: Band of Birds


GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland and Secur-it.

The GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. The GB Ice Climbing Team is supported by Montane. Many UK walls also support the GB Climbing through free or subsidised entry.

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HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 La Sportiva British Bouldering Championships


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