Competition Climbing

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 PilkingtonD 08 Jul 2021


A couple of questions to ask -

Firstly, if I wanted to start getting into competition climbing, where should I start? I've been looking around and can't find any indoor boulder comps for next year apart from the BMC Youth Climbing Series. Where should I look to find competitions that I can enter?

Secondly, what sort of grades should I aim to flash before I start thinking about entering a comp? I had major surgery last month which has knocked me out of climbing and training for a while, but before that I could comfortably onsight V4 indoors, and climb up to around V6 on a good day with some work!


 PaulJepson 08 Jul 2021
In reply to PilkingtonD:

I'd imagine Covid has put a stop to most walls' event plans but casual competitions were a regular thing before the pandemic. Most walls held at least a couple of comps a year.  

 Qwerty2019 09 Jul 2021
In reply to PilkingtonD:

Start with your local walls.  Most have summer/winter bouldering leagues.  Light hearted, usually based on amounts of points for topping each climb and a good way of gauging where you are at and more importantly a really good way of improving your climbing.  Our local one probaby ranges from V1 to V7/V8.  Everyone has a go and most just compete against themselves or friends.

Then pre/post covid you will have proper comps at walls where they are usually a set of say 20-30 climbs.  You attempt them all, qualify for finals and then compete to win.  Walls like boulder uk have the plywood masters.  The Valley has one too.  Most of the big walls have them.

V6 would make the qualifier climbs fun and let you know where you need to work.  Its not about the winning for most, its trying comp climbs in a fun environment and then watching the finals.

Covid has been a royal PITA for people who enjoy comps but i hope that we can slowly see them returning.  If you have the time i think its the BBC's this weekend at Sheffield.  Thats always fun to watch.

 gravy 09 Jul 2021
In reply to PilkingtonD:

At aged 19 then flashing v4 working v6 is a long way below the national standard and wouldn't get you past qualifiers for the Juniors or Seniors (or into the qualifiers for some).  You'll probably float midtable in most local comps at proper walls.

However, unless you're in the heady elite category, comps are really about participation and fun so when the local walls reboot their comps (mostly over the cooler months) just join in. Sometimes it's just quite nice to try really hard.

If you're really concerned about performance and winning is seriously what you're after, then your choices are:

to badge yourself as a novice (I've done this once by accident, it's rather embarrassing but gives me my one and only podium)


work really hard for the next thirty years and hope the older wads can't be bothered entering into the veterans category.

In reply to PilkingtonD:

If you want to compete I say go for it! There are always numerous comps on the go at any time, coming up soon there is the young climbers festival at The Climbing Works and another at Flashpoint in Swindon early in August.

I would recommend following as many of the big walls and centres on social media to keep up to date with comps as they come up.

As for your grades, there are youth E/D kids climbing those grades so I would go in with low expectations but don't let that stop you from going out there and giving it your all. You may find that after a few comps your grades go up and your placements improve.

For the bigger comps you have the YCS and normally the MYCS although I dont think that one is happening this year.

Best of luck and remember to have fun

Post edited at 12:44
 Kieran_John 20 Jul 2021
In reply to PilkingtonD:

I enjoy the comps at my local wall, even if I'm not very good. I don't often actually submit a sheet, but like to see how I do.

I don't know what your local walls are like, but comp climbing can be quite different to your regular problems at walls, and very very different to outdoors.

Big holds, dynamic moves, etc. You may already be great at these, but if you've not had the opportunity to practice them then it's worth seeking out walls that habitually set using these. 

I'm pretty lucky in Leeds, City Bloc have a frequently changing comp room and there are a number of other walls nearby (rockcity in Hull) that are similar. 

I mean, I'm still terrible despite the practice, but I really enjoy them. 


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