The field seems disappointingly small i.e. 17 senior men and 14 senior women.
With all the kids you see in walls you'd think a few more would progress from the kids comp scene into the seniors. I'm probably in the minority in wanting the BMC to be supporting a thriving comp scene but I kinda see why some people are concerned that the BMC is being bankrupted for the benefit of a few dozen kids.
Leaving the politics aside (which has already been discussed at length) why aren't there 200 people vying to be British Lead Champion?
In a similar vein, why was the BLCCs organised to clash with a world cup? Surely it's in everyone's interest to allow the likes of Toby Roberts and Molly Thompson-Smith to at least consider competing in this, while also not missing any international opportunities?
Just seems to detract from a national comp when it clashes with internationals and our strongest climbers (quite rightly) choose to compete abroad.
Indeed. The IFSC could get together with a handful of the bigger federations to agree a weekend where there would be no international comps and national championships could take place. Cycling does this.
> Leaving the politics aside (which has already been discussed at length) why aren't there 200 people vying to be British Lead Champion?
No real idea but my guess would be it's just not worth it.
I suspect any that climb both outdoors and in could be having a far more fulfilling day in early September working some nails hard long-term project on a crag. They'll likely get more fulfilment out of that. And their Instagram followers and therefore sponsors probably will too so whichever way you look at it I'm guessing it makes sense to prioritise that over spending £50 entry fee plus hundreds of pounds on travel/accommodation to compete indoors. Prepared to be completely wrong though because I don't have anything like the mindset of a comp climber nor any knowledge of how the economics of being a pro climber works. How many sponsor points does one get for being British lead champion vs sending a famous hard route? And more importantly which are people who live and breathe climbing more motivated by?
I'm not telling anyone what they should enjoy. This is speculation on why those who weren't at the comp weren't at the comp. They clearly all had something else to do, so what would you suggest that is?
> They clearly all had something else to do, so what would you suggest that is?
No doubt a multitude of reasons. Note that it's only relevant in the first place to talk of comp climbers, which narrows it down hugely. For some it will be too far/expensive to get to. For others the chance of success might not be high enough to justify it. Some may be focused on internationals. And it's possible that the event itself (and the titles) doesn't have the appeal it once did. I wouldn't know if this latter idea has any basis in truth or not, but when it is widely acknowledged that many of the very best comp climbers in Britain can't attend the British Championship as they're busy with higher level events, it can't fail to devalue the British event at least to some extent.
It's good to no that nothing changes at the BMC. This is why so many of our top climbers walk away from Competition climbing. The BMC only want the funding from Sport England and this is the way it will always be unless Competition Climbing breaks away and forms it's own body. In 1998 my son Ian stopped competing. He was 6 times British Champion, The first Extreme Games Champion and European Champion but got little or no support or sponsorship. Paul Dewhurst and I spent a full day getting sponsorship for the British Team at an Outdoor Show only to get a complete bollocking from the BMC for doing it. It was subsequently turned down. I suspect because it interfered with expedition sponsorship. I notice the British Team still has not got a decent sponsorship deal . I wonder why ? Every other sport in this country is highly sponsored so why not climbing and in particular our Competition Team. Sorry for the rant but we have made little progress in 25 years.
> this is the way it will always be unless Competition Climbing breaks away and forms it's own body.
That would be the nuclear solution. A far better solution would be for the BMC to recognise that comp climbing is not something to be vocally though minimally supported, is not something inferior to some of the more traditionally adventurous forms of climbing, and is not something to be kept in its place compared to "real" climbing.
The problem is that attitudes like those always seem to have been pervasive within the cohort of wannabe politicians who see decision-level BMC work as an excuse to put on an official's hat and wield some measure of control to pamper to their own insecurities.
It's because the BMC have no concept of commercialism and see it as some kind of evil spirit! Adverse to "change" and when change does occur, the finances are poorly managed ... with the latest debacle creating a few staff, shuffling their way along the dole queue to sign their UB40! (not I suspect to the tones of Donna Summer singing "Hot Stuff!).
Simon Nadin (before your Ian!) was also another who deserved more accolade for what he actually received...which I think was nothing -SQUAT! And, he WAS World Champion!! No wonder he turned to Stella Artois and dry-stone-walling! Poor Lad!
I agree and less than a year pre Olympics is a terrible time to follow that expensive and disruptive route.
>A far better solution would be for the BMC to recognise that comp climbing is not something to be vocally though minimally supported, is not something inferior to some of the more traditionally adventurous forms of climbing, and is not something to be kept in its place compared to "real" climbing.
I agree and that's what I see in the BMC leadership right now.
>The problem is that attitudes like those always seem to have been pervasive within the cohort of wannabe politicians who see decision-level BMC work as an excuse to put on an official's hat and wield some measure of control to pamper to their own insecurities.
Maybe this was the case when you were more involved but I just don't see that now: a big majority in management, Board and Council are very supportive of competition climbing, properlybalanced with other priorities. The current issues all stem from various management decisions partly influenced by unexpected external factors (decisions that are much easier to attack with hindsight).
For Jim I'd add:
Commercial income is far from a dirty word these days but it's not unreasonable to want sponsors who share our ethos, and sponsorship is much tighter now than in the past.
The redundancies partially reversed some investment in staff. As an example core ACES staff FTEs are still 20% up on pre pandemic levels.
> A far better solution would be for the BMC to recognise that comp climbing is not something to be vocally though minimally supported, is not something inferior to some of the more traditionally adventurous forms of climbing, and is not something to be kept in its place compared to "real" climbing.
The entire BMC executive was recruited because of their background in competitive sport, GB Climbing has the most employees of any dept in the BMC (more than twice as many than in access), in the years prior to the large influx of grants the BMC was funding GB Climbing nearly on a par with access and last year it took a conscious decision to make a 50k loss hosting a competition so as to woo the IFSC. GB Climbing may be making a mess of their remit but to say that the BMC views competitive climbing as inferior and only minimally supports it is nonsense.
Its expensive to enter - Cost of youth & Senior nationalcomps seems to have gone up and up in price over last 5 years. Not little jumps but in some cases 100%
The medals are shit and they cant even send out the correct ones when they do - We are talking 50 pence medals for winning a competition you have spent hundreds of £££ to enter, travel to and possibly win. In the past national titles came with the odd prize like a rope or such like. I remember the year the main organizer couldnt even add up the number of podiums to ensure the correct number of medals & prizes.
Its expensive to get to - Cost of travel. Cost of staying over. Cost of everything isnt good value anymore.
The vibe is shit - The current comp scene is about as bad as i have witnessed in over a decade
It often clashes with other comps - Its still international season so athletes prioritise either the international comp or they deem staying at home and fitting in two solid days training to be better than 1 full day travelling, climbing tired next day and then travelling home to be tired for next training session. Likely 4 days lost training.
The athletes dont know if they are coming or going. GB cant even get their selection criterior sorted for 2024 so athletes dont know if this was or is important to their selection chances for next year. There are comps that athletes have won this year thinking they have helped their selection criterior for next year only to be told retrospectively that they dont count. No one trusts a word they say. Before a single comp entry for 2024 goes ahead they MUST have 2025 selection criterior sorted otherwise its just a shameful waste of everyones time. But they havent even got 2024 selection criterior sorted......
Point taken soooooo, in that case explore all the avenues that lead to increased revenue ....taking into account things like 'ethos' and saving otters etc. But let's not look too many gift horses in the mouth. In these troubled times, since the World's biggest "lie" to the population, we have to be more creative and also offer something in return. Even if that means 'perceived' value... not $$$! We have to be clever and that's the "art" of selling I guess. As I have said before, the money is out there... it's just cracking the code to access it!
But, even then, once the cash is there, it has to be managed efficiently, fairly and effectively. For example... Why RATHO - all the time!!!? As several posters have commented, it's way off the radar for a lot of people due to its location! So, listen to these people and explore alternative venues. I think the BMC also has to get its head around the word "FLEXIBILITY".
> Maybe this was the case when you were more involved but I just don't see that now: a big majority in management, Board and Council are very supportive of competition climbing, properlybalanced with other priorities. The current issues all stem from various management decisions partly influenced by unexpected external factors (decisions that are much easier to attack with hindsight).
I genuinely hope you're right, though I remain sceptical as I've heard broadly similar overtures at various times during the last 25 years!
>”The BMC only want the funding from Sport England”
Is that really the case? My understanding was that the funding from government bodies only covers 85% of the cost of “comp climbing”. The rest having to be found from elsewhere. Great if you find a big sponsor that covers in excess of the remaining 15%, adding a net surplus to the coffers.
It would appear that UK domestic lead climbing comps remain in the doldrums as much as they always have. While there seems to be lot of support for kids comps the cynic in me concludes the only function of kids comps is talent identification. If we can identify one or two kids with Olympic medal potential then it’s job done. We don’t really care if the others that don’t quite make the grade give up climbing or go climb The Dawn Wall. Net result, a British Championships where the only competitors are those in or still clinging to the fringes of the GB squad.
To be fair, I don’t have any skin in the game so my only limited interest may mean my reading of the scene may be very uninformed.