/ How to get involved with NW (UK) climbing teams?

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Climber123456 on 02 Apr 2018

My daughter is 13 and can lead onsight 6a/+ but have lead 6b and have toproped 7a but only onsighted 6c.... She wants to get involved in a local climbing team in the north west of England but I’m not sure the best way to go about it and if she’s good enough in her age group as she wants to start competing but I want to avoid the disappointment of being no where near good enough for the team, what is the best way to get into a team and is she climbing well for her age group?

Climber123456 on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Sorry, I’ve just realised my grammar is all over the place and I’ve used almost no punctuation.

Mark Kemball - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Best bet is for her to join a "squad" at one of your local walls and get involved with some of the local youth competitions. The best would be the BMC Youth Climbing Series, but this year's local areas competitions have now  finished. (National finals at the end of this month.)

flopsicle - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

You could take a trip to watch the BMC finals at Ratho. The climbs are still up the following day so she could try as many as she fancied. 

Mike Nolan - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Where in the NW are you?

becauseitsthere - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

She'll have great fun if she starts competing at local comps. She's probably going to make lifelong friends. Her climbing will improve dramatically and she will get some great coaching along the way. A lot of girls drop out at 14,15 and 16 so if she keeps at it and improving then she may eventually make the NW team at youth A. Depends on uptake really.  Don't get too worried on grades. If she's topping some 7a she's doing well. The best at her age  will be on sighting 7b+/c maybe more. The most important factor is that she has fun. 

Climber123456 on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Mike Nolan:

We are in the Merseyside/Chester area.

SebCa - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Interested in the direction of this thread, do local squads train para climbers as well?

gravy - on 09 Apr 2018

Talk to the local walls about the squads , some are more selective than others, some are more fun than others, some have better coaching than others, some are more full of shit than others but, in my experience, you cannot determine which are which until you've tried them.

Register for next year's YCS (Dec-April), you don't have to be in a squad to compete.  There's usually some local comps to try but I don't know about where you are.

The standard is pretty high by the time you get to the YCS finals in Ratho, most adult climbers would be happy to manage the harder routes set for the younger kids. Expect the hard routes to be circa 7b/c and harder problems to get to V6/7 or more for 13yrs depending on birth year. 

Don't be put off by the grades, there's a shed load that compete despite the elite level being rather hard core. It's fine to compete without a squad but being in a squad helps with training and motivation.

Her age puts her in C or B category depending on birth year and it is bouldering and leading (no TR). Be prepared to travel...

Andrew Kin - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

I'm assuming you would fall into the Lakes & Northwest region which is the one we compete in.  The good news is there seems to be an absolute boom in climbing teams around the NW region and I struggle to keep up with it.  Some of it seems a little OTT to me tbh as they seem to be more like football squads and advertising billboards than climbers.  If I was looking I would be trying to get a team who have smaller numbers.  There is a huge range of abilities that compete in the YCS regionals from 1st timers to experienced competitors so as long as your daughter is enjoying climbing then she will fit in fine and she should enter.  She has missed out this year so maybe put the finals date in your diary and check it out the next day.  The day of the final is seriously busy and I wouldn't recommend hanging around, you might get squashed.

Look up Northwest and Lakes climbing team on facebook and ask to be included.  Its a closed group but I don't see why you wouldn't be allowed on.  You might be able to arrange to climb with some of the people involved and let your daughter gauge where she is at and which teams she prefers.

Of course grades are important when competing but its amazing how quickly a youngster can improve so try to take the focus off winning otherwise she may be put off.  Feel free to message me if you want more info

Climber123456 on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Andrew Kin:

Would anyone know what grade girls (born in 2004) would be climbing in general?? And what grade she would need to climb/boulder to be good enough to get into a local climbing team??

Ian W - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

To back up what Andrew Kin has said, what she is climbing NOW is completely irrelevant - once she starts climbing regularly, gets some decent coaching and mixes with some others, her grade will rise rapidly, as will her enjoyment.

Walls tend not to insist on a certain grade to join their academy / squad / team or whatever they call it - they would prefer someone willing to learn and work hard.

Summary - just go for it and dont worry about grades. The best climber is the one having the most fun, didn't someone once say........

gravy - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Born in 2004 she would be in age category "B".  She'll be in the younger half of B now (comp session already underway) and next year she'll still be in "B".

The top end grades for "B" girls are 7C for routes (leading) and v7 for boulders.  Some of the girls will top these.  The routes in the regions are generally set so that most top the first, 2/3 top the second and a few top the last (preferably just one). Comp routes tend to be a slight grading peculiarity - the routes are supposed to get progressively harder as you climb so they disperse the pack, as such it wouldn't be unreasonable for the hardest route graded "7c" to start easier and finish harder.

As other people have said, don''t focus on the grades: competing is only worth it if they like competing and plenty of kids compete who don't get to the top three. Competing is a good route to training and improvement and until you've trained it is pretty much impossible to tell how far you can go. 


Andrew Kin - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Can you tell no one wants to answer this

Its mainly because its not that relevant to actually getting involved in comps.  If your daughter is keen there will probably be climbers who aren't as good and climbers who are better than her.  The spectrum is massive.

To try to answer your question

To get onto a climbing team = Keen, enthusiastic, enjoy climbing, willing to work, able to climb 6's

To make national final and actually make an impact = 7's and 8's if you want to win

The grades of the final climbs at ratho have to be high to separate exceptional climbers.



Climber123456 on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Andrew Kin:

Ok, thanks everyone will probably try  local comps this year and see if she enjoys them

Mike Nolan - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Have a look into the ACE at Awesome Walls in Liverpool for something local. Ask to speak to Mike and he may be able to help or advise. 

If you're willing to travel a bit further, speak to Gill at Boulder UK in Preston. Their Kids Clubs, Squads and Coaches are brilliant. 

Post edited at 11:25
Andrew Kin - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Mike Nolan:

I will second what Mike said about Gill at Boulder UK.  Her team always looks like they are loving their climbing and shes a hell of a coach.


Scott K - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Climber123456:

Keep a look out for local comps as well. My daughter really enjoyed the social side as well as the climbing. She went along to demo at the comps after she wasn't allowed to enter.

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