SkyMasters Challenge Competition Report

Dave Barrans and Michaela Tracey secured top spots in the Ford SkyMasters Challenge held at the Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham over the weekend of 14-16th March

The competition was held on a very unique wall suspended from the ceiling of the NEC. See the wall here

The competition route involved over 100 moves and negotiated a number of hanging objects including the Kalymnos section of stalactites, named after Greece's tufa-ridden paradise climbing spot. See second placed Drew Haigh amongst the Kalymnos section, click here

The idea for this creation came out of discussions between the Outdoors Show and Entre-Prises to create something for the audience to get excited about, according to organiser Mike Weeks of

Men's winner, British Bouldering Team member Dave Barrans said: "My main tactic was to get to the rest in the tufas as quickly as possible and have a good rest there before pushing on quickly to the top, knowing that I can recover quickly in a hands-off rest position, thanks to my bouldering training. Oh and to enjoy it; being only my second lead comp, tactics were a bit lacking! It was the most fun I've had tied into a rope and would love to do more of that type of thing."

In response to whether this type of spectacular wall could have an effect on future World Cup formats, Mike Weeks said, 'My priority with an event of this kind is to please the climbers first and the audience second. The event is only as good as its competitors and in our case we had great climbers competing on a great wall. The concept is unique; lots of roofs and sections that move and it did cost a lot of money to put on and was a gamble for us to organise. I think we proved that it works and so maybe the World cup circuit should take some pointers from us."

Report courtesy of Anne and John Arran. For a lot more photos of this competition go to Anne and John's website,

More news about this event at the BMC website,

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24 Mar, 2008
Which bits moved? Did you have to climb on that car at the end!?
24 Mar, 2008
The first tower had a bit of wobble. The blue barrel moved a foot or so as did that ball that was chained under the second obstacle. There was a buzzer on the car that you had to touch with any part of your body to stop the clock.
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