The Lab Test 2024Comp Report

© UKC News

On 6 April in Leeds, The Climbing Lab held its annual one-day bouldering competition, The Lab Test. 

Katherine MacDougall took the win in the women's category.  © UKC News
Katherine MacDougall took the win in the women's category.

The qualifiers had a great turn-out, with 250 climbers and 80 spectators buying tickets to compete and watch the action. It was great to see such a vibrant community of climbers of all abilities getting together to celebrate our amazing sport.

Each climber got an organic cotton special edition competition T-shirt printed by a local Leeds climber and a food and drink token to use at the two local street food vendors, Meanwood Pizza and Salma Taco's. The drinks were supplied by another Leeds local, the legendary North Brewery and The Lab's good friends at Maude coffee roasters.

There were a total of eight inclusive categories, with the best six scores going into the men's and women's finals. The competitors ranged from local wads, Lab regulars, rising stars from the youth Precision Team to GB athletes and world cup finalists.

Nathan Phillips came out on top in The Lab Test.  © The Climbing Lab
Nathan Phillips came out on top in The Lab Test.
© The Climbing Lab

Most areas of the The Lab were stripped to host the 25 competition-style qualifier boulders and this made for a truly special event with the individual climbs having their own styles and aesthetic on the walls. The in-house setting team were joined by EP setter Luke Murphy with a few special holds they supplied to bling up the wall.

In between attempts, the climbers could check out free samples of chalk from Gecko grip, the colourful merchandise from Climbers Against Cancer, Core Climbing's range of bouldering products and grab free cans of Tenzing to power up.

As all the scores were counted up at 4 pm, the sponsor prize draw and category winners were announced with some great spot prizes such as Black Diamond accessories, coffee, grinders and drippers from Maude, brewery tours from North Brew, vouchers from Cotswold Outdoors, sit pads and chalk buckets from Core climbing and film tickets from Frontier Sapiens.

Stalls including Climbers Against Cancer proved popular.  © UKC News
Stalls including Climbers Against Cancer proved popular.

The Category winners were:

Senior (45+) Male – Innes Reid

Senior (45+) Female – Deborah Wall

Non-binary Adult – George McNaughton

Youth 12 -15 Male – Oliver Knox-Renshaw

Youth 12 -15 Female – Florence Hydes-Scott

Youth under 12 – Jabe Doyle-Woods

With the tunes pumping from the DJ and the bevs flowing, the finals soon rolled up.

Previous winners Aiden Dunne and Katherine MacDougall were among a seriously stacked field who qualified for the finals including ex-GB team member Nathan Phillips and Adam Watson of Friction Bouldering who was the only person to flash all the qualifiers.

Competitors were given bespoke printec t-shirts.   © The Climbing Lab
Competitors were given bespoke printec t-shirts.
© The Climbing Lab


Chloe Bewley

Laure Renault

Harriet Sheppard

Katherine MacDougal

Ruth Hardy

Edie Carr


Callan Sharples

Aiden Dunne

Nathan Phillips

Joseph Xiberras

Daniel Smith

Adam Watson

George Newham, resident coach and local grit master, hosted the finals on the EP Titan boulder that will be used for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Lab setting team of Josh May, George Atherton, Andrew Tutin and head setter Jason Pickles were helped out by Ben Hargreaves to set a variety of styles for each of the four men's and women's finals.

The Lab's newly built extension hosted a huge crowd in their amphitheatre-style event space and as the finalists came out the atmosphere was electric.

Edie Carr placed 2nd.  © UKC News
Edie Carr placed 2nd.

With £3000 in prize money up for grabs, the finalists put on an epic spectacle and the crowd screamed the house down for the flashes and hard-fought tops.

The men's final went down with plenty of exciting attempts, including a nail-biting top of boulder 4 in the last second from Joseph Xiberras securing him 3rd place. Nathan Phillips took 1st place with a casual flash of boulder 4.

Katherine MacDougall and Edie Carr battled it out for 1st in the women's final, with the victory going to Katherine by 1 attempt to top on boulder 1, making her the reigning champion for the second year running.



1st Nathan Phillips

2nd Aiden Dunne

3rd Joseph Xiberras


1st Katherine MacDougall

2nd Edie Carr

3rd Ruth Hardy

Make sure to check out the film of the event here.

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