The first ever University Lead Climbing Competition was held on Wednesday 25 Nov at Awesome Walls Climbing Centre Sheffield. The event, the first that has attracted students from all over UK, was sponsored by V12, Awesome Walls and Entre Prises. Over 80 students from as far afield as London, Glasgow and Edinburgh descended on the cavernous Sheffield Wall to hopefully claim a new title.
Competition organsier Mike Smith reports on the first event of this type, and full results can be seen at the bottom of the article.
The competitors had 5 hours to get the best possible score by climbing a maximum of four routes out of the nine available. Set by Alex Fry the routes ranged from 6a up to 8a+ and ranged from steep jug pulls to intricate fingery test pieces. There was an option for competitors to achieve instant qualification by climbing route nine; several of the men did just that. Those that did qualify early were able to chill for the rest of the qualifiers.
The format, confusing for some, required a tactical approach as no grades were posted for any of the routes, only the order of difficulty, 1 – 9. So competitors had to choose where to start in the order. A successful top out ensured further progress but not topping out meant regressing down to achieve a top out on a lower route. Most achieved a score with two routes but some requiring the full four routes. The team competition was embedded within the qualifiers so each four man/woman team needed three best scores to count. Understandably teams from both Sheffield Universities did well with University of Leeds also fielding two strong teams. The winners of the Men’s and Women’s Team competition was University of Sheffield and the winner of the mixed team was Sheffield Hallam.
Once the qualifiers were concluded the finals got underway. As ever the procession of finalists, in reverse order of their qualification position, saw a gradual increase in height for each following climber. Two Women managed to top out so the Women’s champion was decided on countback from the qualifiers, just one move separated Sarah Pashley & Ajda Remskar. Ajda, from University of Edinburgh was proclaimed Women’s champion.
The men’s route climbed a steep and devious line up to the left of the main overhang. A tricky sequence at ¾ height caught out most of the finalists but Connor Byrne was able to read this better and although he didn’t top out was certainly the strongest on the route. The final 3 positions were very close with contenders from Sheffield & Cambridge vying for the podium. Fortunately BMC Competition Climbing Supremo, Rob Adie, was judging so a clear winner in Connor Byrne was soon announced.
Dave Douglas, owner of the Awesome Walls chain, was on hand to award prizes to the individual, and team champions.
Awesome Walls did a cracking job hosting the competition and Nottingham Trent University Climbing & Mountaineering Club supplied most of the volunteers for the day. It is hoped that in the future the competition will be adopted by British Colleges and Universities Sport (BUCS) and become a regular event alongside the BUCS Bouldering Championships.
This article has been read
Click on the tags to explore more