GB Climbing National Trials 2024

Posted by Team BMC on 16/02/2024

The national trials are an invite only event, for climbers who have attained a standard eligible for selection and who aspire to make the GB Climbing Team. With over 90 athletes registered, we are looking forward to some exciting climbing over the next two weekends.

The BMC, as the National Governing Body for Competition Climbing in the UK, has a clear vision: to establish ourselves as the World’s leading Competition Climbing nation by 2032. 

As an established Olympic Sport, the world level is improving year on year as the boundaries are pushed in each discipline of boulder, lead and speed climbing by the world's best across all age groups and at senior level. This ever-changing world of competitive climbing requires the constant refining of our policies and procedures through being data informed and by utilising coaching insights. Our work in enhancing performance is underpinned by a strong desire to be collaborative and align with our wider objectives and goals. 

We are developing sustainable performance pathways that support and develop elite competition climbers who are able to consistently produce medal winning performances on the world stage, through a learning environment that supports the holistic development of our athletes. 


Boulder National Trials 

17th & 18th February 2024. Oakwood Climbing Centre, Bracknell, London.

Lead National Trials

24th & 25th February 2024. Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA), Ratho, Edinburgh.


16+ including Youth A (U18), Junior (U20) and Senior athletes. 

U16 including Youth B (U16) athletes.

Purpose of the Trials

The National Trials are a key part of the GB Teams selection process and serve to indicate the current climbers able to make round progression at international level and provide a source of information for the selection of climbers to the GB Teams (Junior & Senior) for 2024.

It also provides opportunities and experiences for the long-term development of climbers, exposing them to international level boulder problems and lead routes, helping to demonstrate upward trajectory and their ability to deliver podium success.

Selection Process

National Trials is an opportunity for climbers to demonstrate that they have the abilities, skills and capabilities to compete internationally.

The results are combined with the other data points listed in the 2024 GB Climbing Team Selection Framework and discussed by a Nominations Panel and subsequent Selection Panel, who will synthesise this information and assess which athletes have the necessary skill sets, performance capabilities and demonstrable performance levels to represent us on the world stage in the upcoming season.

A number of climbers have been pre-selected to the GB Climbing Team as a result of their exceptional performances in 2023, where they either gained a Paris 2024 Olympic Games “golden ticket” or individual invitations to the Olympic Qualification Series (OQS). The final opportunity to qualify for Paris 2024. These Climbers do not need to attend the National Trials, although some may choose to do so as part of their pre-season preparation. 

Athletes already selected to the GB Climbing Team: 

  • Toby Roberts (Paris)
  • Hamish McArthur (OQS)
  • Max Milne (OQS)
  • Jim Pope (OQS)
  • Jack McDougall (OQS)
  • Erin McNeice (OQS)
  • Molly Thompson-Smith (OQS)

Format of the Trials


The format will be two courses of three blocs in a flash format (Round 1) with a four bloc onsight round (Round 2) to follow.

Athletes will compete in gender groups (male & female).


Two routes attempted in a flash format (Round 1) with a one route onsight round (Round 2) to follow.

Athletes will compete in gender groups (male & female). 

Route Setting 

Route setting will be placed at international standard to allow for a more representative indication of athlete performance with what could be expected at both continental and world competition level. The International Route Setting Standards can be found within the Annual Performance Strategy (APS)

Furthermore, it provides climbers with an authentic, appropriate competitive experience and opportunity to gain feedback on their current performance. 

There is a complexity and importance of route setting for international standards and we aim to increase the degree of difficulty and grade range from round one to round two, as would be expected during international competition. 

We must stress that route setting is not an exact science. 

Team Size 

There’s been a team size shift, as we move towards selecting a focused team with podium potential for Olympic Games in LA 2028 and Brisbane 2032. This will likely mean that the GB Climbing Team will have fewer climbers than it has had historically. This shift will offer various benefits for climber development with enhanced individualised support, more efficient operations, and sustainable pathways.

Quota Places 

Following our recently launched APS, we will be selecting climbers who can demonstrate current performance or future potential with a trajectory to make round progression based on performance standards that are evidence based. This may mean we do not fill the IFSC quota places. A climbers Individual Plan will determine their annual competition campaign that will support their short, medium and long term development goals towards their own performance ambitions and aims. 

The primary 2024 competition focus is working towards key Championship performances at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, European Championships, Youth European Championships and Youth World Championships.

Preparation for National Trials

Significant communication has been undertaken with all climbers eligible to participate, their parents and personal coaches as we know it has been important for them to prepare fully and understand the international standards that they will experience at the National Trials. 

You can find these standards and benchmarks in the APS here 

A list of FAQs can be found on the GB Climbing website here.

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