On Saturday 22nd of November The Depot Nottingham hosted its first annual bouldering competition the ‘Blocbuster’. A wealth of competitors came down to slug it out to potentially win one of eight categories.
As ever with climbing competitions, big money tends to attract the big names. This rule proved to have no exception, attracting the likes of three time British Bouldering Champion Dave Barrans and rising talent Tara Hayes along with many other members of the British Bouldering Team. The format of the day revolved around 30 qualification climbs; the route setters outdid themselves with a mixture of technical masterpieces and outright tests of strength. Nobody walked away from the qualification round with a full score.
Each score card handed back was used as a raffle ticket to win some quality prizes provided by Scarpa and Grivel. The prizes were raffled and pizza was bought in for the competitors to tuck into. I think it’s safe to say there were plenty of happy climbers in the building.
Before the senior finals took place prizes were given out for all of the other categories. In the male 7-11 category both Dayan Akhtar and Oscar Stephenson-Wright produced quality performances, however, George Stables was able to fend them off taking first place. In the 12-15 category Tommy Matthew demonstrated a dominant performance to sail into first place. Local strong man Steve Pritchard put his biceps to good use in the men’s 40+ category using his strength to knock Frazer Hood down into second place, local Leeds hero Dave Goodyear rounded off the podium.
The female 7-11 category was closely contended between Anya Forino and Robin Casey, but in the end Robin’s score of 267 was just enough to beat Anya with a score of 261. The fight for third and second was painfully close with one point separating Missy Turner (202) and Kitty Morrison (203). Izzy Weaver was able to leap past these two into first place with a score of 208.
With all but two categories decided, pizza eaten and prizes raffled, it was time for the main event, the senior finals. With 90 percent of the finalists being British Team, this was going to be a good one. The final consisted of 3 climbs for the males and 3 climbs for the females. Climbers were allowed three minutes plus to do the climb, nothing like a bit of pressure.
Women’s 1 started with some burly moves through a roof section to reach a rounded volume at the lip. After a couple of attempts, most of the women were able to navigate through this section. From the volume they had to make a dead point to a slot hold. This nasty route setting proved effective at denying all of the women the top except for Tara Hayes who made light work of the climb, showing off her talent in the process.
Women’s 2 saw drops at the start, in the middle and going for the finish. Beth Garrett and Diane Merrick each came close to doing the climb but it was evident that the qualifying and long day had taken its toll on them. After a few mistakes at the start, Tara climbed well to get the finishing hold.
Women’s 3 was the kind of climb one might dread at the end of a long, hard and tired day of competing, with strength and power climbing through a roof. This climb saw some impressive campus displays from the likes of Jennifer Wood and Sarah Pashley. Diane Merrick stuck the final hold with her right hand but was unable to make that ever crucial match to receive top points. In the end the final belonged to Tara who came out and made another casual flash. Impressive stuff!
Starting for the men Orrin Coley came sprinting out to men’s problem one like a man possessed. Unfortunately this approach proved unsuccessful, this seemed to set a trend for men’s one with all men struggling to make any ground on the climb. It was now down to the last two climbs to decide the results.
Orrin and Joe Swales struggled on the start of men’s two, holding a tricky swing on minimal holds. At this point the setters were starting to sweat a little, had they set the climbs too hard? Next up was James Garden, after a minor error he pulled onto men’s two for the second time and dispatched it. Game on! This was followed by a trio of flashes from Jon ‘The Power’ Partridge, Matt Cousins and Dave ‘Pocket Rocket’ Barrans. It was now all to play for on men’s three.
A massive thank you goes out to our sponsors Scarpa and Grivel who provided us with bags, pads and climbing shoes. Thanks to the competitors and everyone else who attended the day to make it such a success. We’ll see you again next year.
Full results here.