/ NEWS: Dope Testing in Irish Bouldering Comp hits Headlines

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"Sports chiefs are furious about an e-mail warning bouldering contestants that urine checks will take place at two Irish events” states John Mooney in the Sunday Times newspaper.

“I'm still reeling at this news. I suppose we just hoped this day would never come....”

Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=01&year=2009#n45568
Michael Ryan - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Just what are you trying to say here Gelderd.... I mean Geldard?

"At odds with these tests is the fact that hard climbing in the UK has traditionally had a rebellious edge, with many of the top-level protagonists often dabbling in recreational drug use: Pushing the limits of body on routes during the day, and experimenting with the limits of mind during the evenings.

Luckily no-one is recommending drug-testing out on the crag, which is where these top performers may have to concentrate their energies, if they can no longer compete in local bouldering competitions.

Personally I am happy to undertake a drug-test for climbing, and invite any official from the International Federation of Sport Climbing to join me on the Enchanted Broccoli Garden belay at Gogarth, where I will be happy to offer a urine sample."
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I'm saying that it would be easy to wet your pants on the Broccoli garden belay...

Jack
Tobias at Home - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: if you want to compete in international sports competitions then it's only right to be tested for enhancing drugs. what's the justification for testing for marijuana though?
martin heywood - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I think everyone has known for some time to stop taking fun drugs a long time before the world comps(one mate of mine being an exception).
Dont really understand why Sports Chiefs are furious though. Because it is an intrusion?
Chris the Tall - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Tobias at Home:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) if you want to compete in international sports competitions then it's only right to be tested for enhancing drugs. what's the justification for testing for marijuana though?

It's illegal for a start. But since it can affect your mental state, it could have a positive effect - less tense, less afraid, less over-gripping. Or perhaps the fact that it can make some people paranoid and aggressive.

I believe one of the first olympic medalists in snowboarding tested positive for marijuana - someone suggested it was like testing darts players for traces of lager

Richard Bradley - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Sorry but this is taking the piss.
Jim3960 - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Richard Bradley:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) Sorry but this is taking the piss.

lol
Owen W-G - on 19 Jan 2009
"Pushing the limits of body on routes during the day, and experimenting with the limits of mind during the evenings."

Ha ha ha!

Eric9Points - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to martin heywood:

Is that a joint you're sucking on in your profile pic?

Once again a bunch of bureaucrats with no interest in climbing try to tell climbers how to live their lives and how to conduct the activity they participate in. It would be nice if the Irish equivalent of MCofS told the Sports council to go and make love to themselves but I imagine there's far too much money at stake for that to happen.

Henry Iddon - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I would suggest it is only significant if a sport is funded by a national sports body via the govt.

For example if Sport England funded and English climbing team, then that team should be expected to undertake testing - just like other sports funded by Sport England.
McBirdy - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I find it very hard to believe that any of our top-end climbers have ever experimented with drugs. They're such a professional lot. You only have to read Jonny Dawes's description of his ascent of the Indian Face to realise just how lucid and clear-thinking he is.

Ben
Tobias at Home - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Tobias at Home)
> [...]
>
> It's illegal for a start.

that is irrelevent surely? or do dutch athletes get an exemption?
philip king - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Tobias at Home:
Its under the list of banned items by the various sporting bodies, along with some of the Lemsips available and a surprisingly large amount of over the counter cold/Flu remedies
martin heywood - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to martin heywood)
>
> Is that a joint you're sucking on in your profile pic?
>
I think it is yes, though I cant remember exactly, I didn't know anyone had taken a photo till a month later.

In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I always recall the day when climbing at Frog in Australia, looked down to see my mate belaying with a reet big Splif in his face!
snoop6060 - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to A Nidderdale boulderer.:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> I always recall the day when climbing at Frog in Australia, looked down to see my mate belaying with a reet big Splif in his face!

Standard belay stance in Spain. Oh and Thailand, and every other bloody place Ive climbed!

Thats why everyone uses Gri-gris.
Andy Moles - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Love the attitude Jack!
crazydiamond - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I think if British comps included drug tests for weed, then their would be a significant drop in the amount of people competing in them.
meltonsteve - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Henry Iddon:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> I would suggest it is only significant if a sport is funded by a national sports body via the govt.
>
> For example if Sport England funded and English climbing team, then that team should be expected to undertake testing - just like other sports funded by Sport England.

The voice of reason.
James Oswald - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Ben Darvill:
However Dawes does mention on his IF video that he drank half a bottle of whisky the night before.
hiu068 - on 19 Jan 2009
having devoured most of perrins work, i have been left with the impression that the hardcore, spent a great deal of time earning the rebeelious reputation of hard british climbing. these 'drugists' would party all night and then ride motor bikes up to cloggy and climb some ridiculous hard routes. one event being when dear jim climbed corronation st (which aint in wales)after a bucket of speed and a chimeny of dope (measurments not exact). i'm happy with the rebbelious edge of hard climbing and think that the governing bodies should dope off.
Will Hunt - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

What's the verdict on things like Creatine, Jack? Folks like Neil Gresham use this as a matter of course and don't consider it cheating.
Offwidth - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Will Hunt:

Creatine is currently legal (people in many Olympic sports use it) but I'd be a bit more circumspect in future just publishing names like that.
3leggeddog on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

If comp climbing wishes to become a respected athletic sport with associated funding, commonwealth/olympic status then it must embrace drug testing like every other sport of that stature. Comp climbers must remain "clean".

Climbing outside, not for competition is different. Basically the top boys will increasingly need to stay "clean" if they wish to operate in both fields. I can see a future when a climbers sponsorship is withdrawn due to doping. If you want to play with the big boys you play by their rules.

Fortunately none of this will affect the vast majority of climbers who will just carry on as usual.

By "clean" I mean athletics/cycling clean - not getting caught, using the latest undetectable substance, or "retiring" for 2 years only to mysteriously return fitter than ever.
3leggeddog on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Will Hunt:

Creatine is not on the banned list ergo it is not doping. If the banned list extended that far stuff like carbohydrate drinks/protein shakes may have to be considered also.
iceox - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Testing for dope in Ireland,Why?
No chance of testing positive for intelligence.
Runs for cover.
Frank4short - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:

> If comp climbing wishes to become a respected athletic sport with associated funding, commonwealth/olympic status then it must embrace drug testing like every other sport of that stature. Comp climbers must remain "clean".

I think you're missing some detail here. The IBL (irish bouldering league) is a relatively small competition with maybe 50-80 climbers attending at any given round. Mostly it's just folk along for a laugh, hang out with their mates, etc. Whereas no doubt there are some good climbers competing the high standard there isn't exceptionaly high & it is in no way representative of say sending a team to an international competition.

The issue has arisen because the IBLs receive a small amount of funding & insurance from the MCI (mountaineering council of ireland). The MCI is in turn dependant on funding from the Irish Sports Council. As per of the sports councils rules a certain amount of drug testing is unfortunately compulsary. No one involved in competetion from either the organising to competing side feels this is necessary as it's a local competition for a few folks having the craic.

Which is where the controversy has arisen out of as one of the organising committee put the word out that there would in all probability be testing at a number of rounds. That should people like to keep there prizes they better be clean. If it had been the case where this was some sort of qualification to get on the national team (there isn't one as far as i'm aware) & hence get to compete internationally then it might be different. But this is not the case in this particular instance. Now i'm not sure how this reached the mainstream media (probably a tip off from someone in authority who wasn't pleased with the idea?) but really it's just a storm in a teacup to meet certain quotas for the irish sports council.

My €0.02
Frank4short - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to iceox: Dickhead!
Will Hunt - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Will Hunt)
>
> Creatine is currently legal (people in many Olympic sports use it) but I'd be a bit more circumspect in future just publishing names like that.


Why so? It's not like he makes a big secret of it. He recommended it for use in one of his magazine articles that I read a while back.
ads.ukclimbing.com
3leggeddog on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Frank4short:

Yeah I missed some details, thanks for filling the gaps.

However, we all should take responsibility for our actions. If a climber smokes some dope or takes a performance enhancer then they can surely expect to be disqualified from a national event. Drug (mis)use is a choice after all.
Frank4short - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:

> However, we all should take responsibility for our actions. If a climber smokes some dope or takes a performance enhancer then they can surely expect to be disqualified from a national event. Drug (mis)use is a choice after all.

But it's not a national event, atleast that's to say not in the context that is say in the UK. Like i said it's a series of local competitions where people come out to have a laugh. There's nothing serious about it. If there was a serious element to it people might take it more seriously. Though like i've all ready said it's only happening to keep the wheels of bureaucracy (sp?) oiled & is being blown out of all proportion.
Tobias at Home - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:

>
> Climbing outside, not for competition is different. Basically the top boys will increasingly need to stay "clean" if they wish to operate in both fields. I can see a future when a climbers sponsorship is withdrawn due to doping. If you want to play with the big boys you play by their rules.
>
> Fortunately none of this will affect the vast majority of climbers who will just carry on as usual.
>
it will make a greater change to the sport than anything since the kinder trespass as far as i can see.

corporate sponsors will not sponsor those who don't compete or provide urine samples before hard ascents as it will be assumed to be an admission of drug-taking.

you want to be a full-time professional climber or want sponsorship for your expeditions or lecture circuit you have to prove to a corporation that you are drug-free first.

kills the spirit of climbing on a lot of levels.
Scottish Eddie - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
It'll be interesting, if this comes into effect, to see how top climbers that don't take part in competitions are portrayed. You can be at the top of your game and don't feel the need to compete.
3leggeddog on 19 Jan 2009

> kills the spirit of climbing on a lot of levels.

I disagree, it keeps the spirit of climbing alive. Climbers climbing what they want, when they want, how they want without having to answer to corporate sponsors.

This is how Birkett, Raeburn, Smith, Brown all climbed like this.

butterworthtom - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Tobias at Home:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
>
> [...]

> kills the spirit of climbing on a lot of levels.

How?
Enty - on 19 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

If this IBL is just for fun, when the dope testers come just tell them to piss off. You'll get stripped of anything you've won but it would be so much fun.

I race my bike here in France just for fun. If the dope testers came to me for a piss test or even worse a blood test I'd tell them where to go, give them back the bag of shopping I'd just won, give the trophy back and stick the bunch of flowers where the sun don't shine ;-)

The Ent
Samu - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Enty:

>
> I race my bike here in France just for fun. If the dope testers came to me for a piss test or even worse a blood test I'd tell them where to go, give them back the bag of shopping I'd just won, give the trophy back and stick the bunch of flowers where the sun don't shine ;-)
>
> The Ent

Why? If you enter a competition you shouldn't use performance enhancing drugs. Never. No excuses. Whatever sport it may be. If you don't take drugs then there's nothing to worry about. Being p*ssed off should be directed at drug cheats.


simes303 - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Will Hunt)
>
> Creatine is currently legal (people in many Olympic sports use it) but I'd be a bit more circumspect in future just publishing names like that.

If it's a legal substance, then is it any different to saying "Gresham particularly enjoys a cup of tea in the morning"?
simes303 - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Samu:
> (In reply to Enty)
>
> [...]
>
> Why? If you enter a competition you shouldn't use performance enhancing drugs. Never. No excuses. Whatever sport it may be. If you don't take drugs then there's nothing to worry about. Being p*ssed off should be directed at drug cheats.

Maybe there should be 3 comps. One for the squeaky clean, one for the performance enhanced "druggies", and one for the folk who've been out partying all night on booze, skunk and pills. No more problems!
dirtbag1 - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to crazydiamond:
I definitely don't agree with this.
Are you just guessing?
I know most people who compete nationally and this is not an opinion I can share.
Drug use amongst top competing climbers is not half as common as you think it is (or would like to think it is).
Drew
slacky on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Frank4short:
> That should people like to keep there prizes they better be clean.

I took the post as a heads up to those who like to indulge in illicit substances to be wary, otherwise they might end up with the Garda knocking on their door a few days later!!!

davepwsmith on 20 Jan 2009
Whilst I agree (to an extent) that drug testing for local 'fun' bouldering comps is very over the top, I do think that if you're in any competition of any kind then using drugs is cheating, no matter whether or not you consider it to be serious or fun. I imagine that for those that are making a fuss about it, the issue is more about the regulated, contained competitiveness that is implied by such testing (and by such competitions) rather than about whether or not people are taking drugs. If getting a prize is so important to you, then you should be prepared to demonstrate a level playing field by proving that you are not using drugs (note that I say you should be *prepared* to, not that you should have to). If prizes are unimportant to you, then just refuse the drug test, and don't take a prize home.
bump on 20 Jan 2009 - pool-71-190-30-94.nycmny.east.verizon.net
heh,f*cking nazis are coming
3leggeddog on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to bump:
> heh,f*cking nazis are coming

Not sure how correct that statement is.

The nazi's you refer to have always been there, competition climbing approached them when it made moves towards status as a recognised competiton sport.
Robin Ashcroft - on 20 Jan 2009
What they should be testing for is traces of Puchine - I think that's how they spell it - which is traditional Irish moonshine/potato spirit and bloody lethal to boot.

All a climber would need to do is light a fart and they'd soar to "Infinity and Beyond", never mind the top of the route.
Mark Stevenson - on 20 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC and others; Firstly, smoking of dope among recreational climbers IS rife. At a 'UKC picnic' several years ago with over 30 climbers camping for the weekend, all bar 4 were smoking dope on the Saturday evening. Of that 4, 2 were military, one worked on the rigs and only one outof the whole group made a purely personal decision not to do drugs.

I don't know how many of that group took other drugs, it was probably still only few but still an appreciable fraction.

It is only fair that people know where they stand. I could get drugs tested randomly at work, but I know that. Many competitive sportsmen and woman can get tesed randomly, but again they know that.

If a competition is subject to CDT then it is only fair that participants know that in advance.
smcmullan - on 21 Jan 2009
Hi, I'd just like to say thanks to the author of this article on UKC and the subsequent comments made here on this forum. It personally brought a much needed sense of sanity and perspective after being featured in a national broadsheet by a journalist and author who normally focuses on major figures in organised gangland crime and terrorism rather than a volunteer helper in a "friends,mom,pop&the kids" set of local bouldering competitions around Ireland.

We don't have a national champs or international trials or anything like that. We have a competition that has been in solid existence since 1992 which attracts 100-150 competitors from novice to "not bad at all" at each and every round no matter what rural community centre the competition venue happens to be located in. There's not too many comps about the place where you will see contenders for the top spots helping each other with beta or marking their own cards without complaint. I managed to lose the 2008/2009 league standings after three rounds there before Xmas. Somehow I don't think that'd go unnoticed in the British Champs :-)

However there's no denying our current obligations. This was never about performance enhancing substances in competitive climbing, nor being seen to condone illegal drug use. It was all about a situation where those 100-150 climbers attending what they thought was going to be a fun day out being subject to a process and potential sanctions that they weren't necessarily aware of.

Its been a tough week so it was good to swing by here every now and again and see that the world hadn't gone completely crazy overnight.

Needless to say if you're ever over this side of the pond between Nov-Mar then I'm sure there's a wee bouldering shindig going on somewhere and you're all more than welcome.

Thanks

Stephen McMullan
Tobias at Home - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:
>
> [...]
>
> I disagree, it keeps the spirit of climbing alive. Climbers climbing what they want, when they want, how they want without having to answer to corporate sponsors.
>
> This is how Birkett, Raeburn, Smith, Brown all climbed like this.

a good point but sadly how many of those were able to climb/train full-time? (as is now required to be a cutting edge climber/athlete)
Tobias at Home - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to butterworthtom:
> (In reply to Tobias at Home)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> How?

read the rest of my post
3leggeddog on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Tobias at Home:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
> [...]
>
> a good point but sadly how many of those were able to climb/train full-time? (as is now required to be a cutting edge climber/athlete)

So, if you want to be a cutting edge comp climber, stay "clean". A no brainer really.
Tobias at Home - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Tobias at Home)
> [...]
>
> So, if you want to be a cutting edge comp climber, stay "clean". A no brainer really.

it goes further than that - to get sponsorship you will have to prove you are clean by taking drugs tests whether or not you wish to compete. north face of the matterhorn in under-2hrs? assumption in the media will be that ueli is taking drugs unless he proves otherwise through supplying samples. If doesn't wish to, then he has to finance his climbing in other ways and we will lose out as a community because one of those pushing the envelope won't be pushing it quite as far because when he could be training he will now have to be working.

regardless, the argument "if you're innocent then you have nothing to hide" is facile and is on a par with saying that you don't need to clip the bolts if you don't want to....
Sandy Holford - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Henry Iddon:

" I would suggest it is only significant if a sport is funded by a national sports body via the govt.
For example if Sport England funded and English climbing team, then that team should be expected to undertake testing - just like other sports funded by Sport England."

Couldn't agree more. If a team is funded by sport england as it is representing the country then they have a duty to be respectful of that. I can also to an extent understand testing for performance enhancing drugs..Forgetting legal stances here for a minute, if people are climbing for the love of the sport and taking part in competitions, and want to use recreational drugs then why should anyone tell them what they can and can't do.

We all choose to climb at our OWN risk, so what we choose to do before/after we climb is our choice and our choice only. I have a friend that is a great climber, but seems to be only able to focus/remain calm enough to climb really hard after a spliff....as far as I'm concerned that is his lookout as its his neck on the line....
geomac - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Why do people find it odd that testing should happen at comps?? And why do they equate what happens there with what happens on the crag. On the crag you're a free spirit doing what you like for nothing other than your desire to climb. In a competition you're competing for position/rank and for money/prizes. Why it is fair that someone who has taken performance enhancing drugs takes the prize money because of it, over someone who has not?? In competition there have to be rules and accepted codes of conduct.
I long had the suspicion that some of those I competed against many years ago were not exactly 'clean' but could do nothing about it. If you want to take drugs that's your own choice but in official competition, especially at national and international level, it's simple. It's called cheating! If climbing wishes to be seen as a true competitive sport it's participants simply have to comply with sporting norms of conduct.
ghisino - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Tobias at Home)
> [...]
>
> It's illegal for a start. But since it can affect your mental state, it could have a positive effect - less tense, less afraid, less over-gripping. Or perhaps the fact that it can make some people paranoid and aggressive.
>
> I believe one of the first olympic medalists in snowboarding tested positive for marijuana - someone suggested it was like testing darts players for traces of lager


I guess the testing for recreational drugs in sports has more of an "ethic" profile.
Even if you can demostrate that it does nothing for your performance, you still should be a role model...

well, I am not doing any serious competition in any sport so I am happy I don't have this kind of responsibility :P
antique_al - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
I don't know why there is such an outcry against drug testing in competitive climbing. It serves you competitive 'sports' climbers right! If you want to act like 'rock' athletes and show off by entering these ridiculous competitions then expect to be treated like most other athletes and live with the drug testing. Alternatively stick to real climbing, just for the joy of it, at whatever standard suits you and snort, smoke, swallow or inject anything that fits with your personal preference or morality.
Michael Ryan - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to antique_al:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)

> It serves you competitive 'sports' climbers right!

Have they sinned?
MorganPreece - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Im may be wrong, but wasunt Chris Sharma done for Enhancing Drugs in a comp?
Michael Ryan - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to MorganPreecey:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) Im may be wrong, but wasunt Chris Sharma done for Enhancing Drugs in a comp?


Read the news report Morgan

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=01&year=2009#n45568
MorganPreece - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Thanks Mick! some one told me that it was in the X Games, is climbing even in the X Games?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Ryan - on 21 Jan 2009
In reply to MorganPreecey:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Thanks Mick! some one told me that it was in the X Games, is climbing even in the X Games?

Not anymore.

http://espn.go.com/action/news/story?id=3578669

antique_al - on 24 Jan 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

As a self confessed traditionalist old fart I obviously think so. It seems to me that it was the introduction of (more or less) organised competition that 'killed the spirit of climbing' to paraphrase an earlier contributor, not the 'bureaucrats' or drug testers which are the result of competition which turned an activity into a sport. Introduce competition and prizes or titles into an activity and you start the inevitable slide into competitors trying to gain an unfair advantage through chemical enhancement and so on..thence on to rules, regulations drug testing and so on.
Tony Holdsworth - on 25 Jan 2009
In reply to antique_al: Absolutely - I agree. I too hail from a time before certification and overt organised competition when climbing was basically free of the commercial imperative. Use it to seek fame and fortune and certification, control and of course drugs testing will follow.
Now where are those wonderful articles that Ian McNaught-Davis wrote?
Klimb - on 02 Feb 2009
In reply to Ben Darvill: In reply to Ben Darvill:
Hey Ben, You might be surprised to hear that those who came top in the Finals of the 1989 World Cup Finals, at Leeds, (last century!)and a random selection of other competitors were drug tested to Olympic standard. (It was very interesting being tested!)Johnny Dawes was not highly placed, but as a person randomly selected & tested, he was, I believe, the only competitor found to have used drugs: marijuana!It was publicised at the time.

'Formal' climbing competitions at any level could perhaps still be seen as 'outside' mainstream climbing culture. I know there's always been informal and intense comp between climbers. Once climbers get into formal comps, it's a 'sport' not a 'recreation', so rules should apply.

I totally support drug-free performances if a person advertises (or profits from) their achievement. Get smashed, do great climbs, enjoying it privately - that's your business.
Pen y Bryn

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