1. Audrey Seguy
2. Diane Merrick
3. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk
4. Leah Crane
5. Katherine Schirrmacher
6. Beth Monks
1. Ned Feelhay
2. Stewart Watson
3. Dave Barrans
4. Mark Croxall
5. Martin Smith
6. Gareth Parry
1. Shauna Coxsey
2. Suzie Zitter
3. Rebecca Hall
4. Heidi Schwenk
5. Bethany Walton
6. Jaime Davidson
1. Jonathan Stocking
2. Nathan Phillips
3. Luke Tilley
4. Bradley Hargreaves
5. Edd Mowbray
6. Ben Patterson
Cliffhanger 2008 ended in a blaze of glorious evening sunshine late Sunday night in Sheffield and for the second year running the city played host to the British Bouldering Championship (BBC).
The BBC attracted the country's top boulderers who came to battle with a series of superb, technical problems, created by some of the country's best route setters - all on a specially constructed wall. This year the competition wall was housed within the vast acreage of a marquee said to have come straight from the Glastonbury Festival.
As well as the bouldering, there was also a two-day 'open' dyno competition where hopefuls attempt to leap huge distances between sets of holds on another specially constructed overhanging wall. With officials on hand, the Guinness World Dyno Record was up for grabs. Alongside these climbing spectaculars were a series film and lecture events, outdoor exhibitions and sports demonstrations and a wide variety of try-me sports.
Day one saw the Junior bouldering competition and the first round of the dyno comp. Shauna Coxsey successfully defended her junior female title with something of a run-away performance. Suzzie Zitter and Rebecca Hall pushed hard all the way but weren't able to close the gap on Shauna who is obviously becoming something of a force to be reckoned with.
The junior male event was a close run competition with Jonathan Stocking sneaking a victory in the end over Nathan Phillips and Luke Tilley. Despite some truly heroic and persistent attempts at one problem; the setters had managed to weave a baffling sequence of holds to the delight of the competitors.
This was followed by Round 1 of the open dyno competition which not only attracted many competitors from across the county but from as far away as the US! Bad weather at last year's Cliffhanger prevented American favourite, Skyler Weeks, from officially taking home a new Guinness World Dyno title. The crowd were super-psyched to see if he could deliver record-breaking huge leap a second year running and this time take the record. The competition was fierce and a number of competitors fought hard, Mick Mullin especially staying with the American right until the very end. In a thrilling two-hour competition Skyler first equalled the existing World Record of 2.625 metres, then pushed the finishing hold up to a massive 2.65m. To his and the crowd's delight, he managed the jump beating the old record by 2.5cms. But could he go further? The finishing hold went up to a boggling 2.7m. Three huge attempts saw Skyler come very, very close but he didn't manage to hold on. Of course, once the comp was over, Skyler immediately pulled on again and nailed 2.7m. Unlucky for Skyler!
The female dyno record was literally smashed by Lily Fitzgibbon (see photo's below). Lily's was a great effort - raising the bar, so to speak, to 2.10m from the previous official record of 1.90m set by none other than Katherine Schirrmacher. Lily added a total of 20cms to the previous record, amazing when you think that Skyler 'only' added 2.5cms.
Day Two also had great climbing action, brilliant sunshine and a mass of snow! The weather has been utterly shocking this year, but snow in the park in July was taking it to new limits. It was, of course, man-made snow specially 'made' for the skiing/snow-boarding demos and the sledging ramp. And who said climbers were bonkers!
The senior qualifiers in the morning were something of a bun-fest with nearly eighty males all competing for a place in the final. The female qualifier was a little less frantic but competition was no less fierce as last year's champion, Katy Whittaker, found to her cost. Katy was the first big name to suffer when she failed to qualify.
Meanwhile Round 2 of the Dyno comp provided high-octane entertainment. But where was Skyler? Had he throw in the towel? Slowly the height crept upwards towards the new record and then at the eleventh hour, Skyler stepped up to the mark. Despite his efforts in Round 1, Skyler equaled his own record jump of 2.65m and then again pushed the height to 2.70m. Obviously the effort had taken its toll and Skyler once again struck-out. Still, £500 and a new world record isn't a bad weekend's work! Skyler's record-breaking jumps will now be submitted to Guinness for official ratification.
The Senior Female competition provided intense competition. Big names, Leah Crane and Katherine Schirrmacher cranked their hearts out but to no avail. Mina Leslie-Wujustyk (ably pronounced by MC Ian Smith) sneaked third place whilst local ace, Diane Merrick, bettered her 2007 third place finish by one to get second. It was left to leading champion, Audrey Seguy, to lead the field in with a solid performance and hence lift the crown of Senior Female at the BBC once again.
Following some frenzied hold changing, the Senior Male final kicked-off to a packed crowd beneath the big-top by mid afternoon. Climbing, as is usual, in reverse order, the finalists were introduced to the problems one by one. What sick gnarly desperates had the setters come up with to separate out the strongest boulderers in the country? We soon had our answer; volumes aplenty and a collection of nasty pockets and tiny crimps all carefully crafted by Messrs Bishton, Cassady, Long, Pickles and Vickers into a series of problems as befits a national final. Gaz Parry was last out but surprisingly first to look in trouble. His least favourite hold, a particular two finger pocket, featured in several of the problems through-out the day - as he told me later – but he was clearly out of sorts and eventually, despite a heroic effect as befits a defending champ, placed a disappointing sixth. Tom Sugden, Jon Partridge and Martin Smith were out-gunned by Mark Croxall, a man not wanting in that department, as he went to fourth place.
Dave Barrens, climbed well to get a third place being pipped to the runners-up spot by Stewart Watson. It was the (relatively) unknown new kid on the block, Ned Feehally, who climbed them all out of the park though with a storming performance to take his first Senior Male BBC title. Not a bad effort for the youngest competitor! Ned has now become the youngest BBC champion ever.
Read the the full results and a report by Tony Ryan at the BMC website