Bristol Schools Climbing Championships 2020

Coach Roz gives us the low-down on a fun-filled but challenging day for the young climbers of Bristol.

Every year The Climbing Academy hosts the Bristol Schools Climbing Championships. It is a whole day event that consists of three disciplines that aim to test the competitors in different ways: speed climbing, bouldering and sport climbing! Speed climbing is how fast you can get to the top of the wall. Bouldering is the power-based discipline – what is the hardest move you can complete? And finally sport climbing – the endurance-based discipline –how high can you get up the wall? It’s safe to say that all the children were pretty tired by the end of the day!

On your marks, get set…

The competition day kicks off at The Mothership for the bouldering round, 20 wonderful problems set over the two floors by our wonderful setters (though I am sure some people will disagree) for the kids to try! There was a real mixture of boulders- some technical slabs, burly roofs and dynamic problems all set to test the kids. Bristol Grammar School (BGS) dominated here (who knew having a climbing wall on-site in school would create so many good climbers?), with Zac Cook managing to flash most of the blocs, with Rhys and Finley in close second… It was all to play for in the next 2 rounds…

To the Church!

After a quick lunch, the kids headed to The Church in St. Werburghs to complete the next two parts of the championship, speed and sport. Each category had two climbs to complete and two runs on the speed wall (with an average being taken). Despite there being 120 competitors, I think the belayers, Sam, Alex, Wendy, Roz, Colum and Darren, had an absolutely great day watching the children try hard and smash it up the wall; though next year I think a few will be taking holiday on the day of the championships instead!

Standing out from the crowd

A few stand out performances included Issy Banks, Katie Whitaker and Connie Rawlins, who all cruised up female Route 2- which comes in at an impressive 7b, securing her the win in the Female Senior category! It was a close race in the Junior Boys, with Ollie Jagroop and Guy Garred-Cox both topping their two routes (with ease!) so it all came down to the speed to determine who got the title. Ollie, who I am pretty sure is half gecko or something, ran an impressive speed climb- completing the 10m wall in just 5.28 seconds!! Though this is an impressive time, a special shout-out should go to Anthony Copsey of BGS, who got a time of just 3.68 seconds (we are pretty sure this is the fastest ever), and in his last EVER School Championships as well!

The big final

The final part of the Schools Championship is a leading route (all of the previous routes were on top-rope, where a rope is fixed to the top, whereas leading, you clip the rope into hanging quickdraws as you ascend). This competition is optional and does not contribute to your final overall score (as not everyone can lead), but if you get the highest then you win the coveted Leading Trophy (which Sam kindly gets engraved from a very snazzy, high-end trophy and expensive shop!) It was a tough route, set by Roz (who thoroughly enjoys watching people struggle and fall off her routes, and then tell them that she thinks they are easy)… And it saw no tops. Owen Taylor, heartbreakingly fell off the last move with the finishing jug in his hand, which was enough to secure him 1st place and the trophy!