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We all know it's not about winning (right?). But if you do like the thrill of competing, whether it's to win or just to test yourself against your own goals there are plenty of events throughout the year to choose from. Don't assume that you have to be a professional climber or an expert to compete- many competitions have beginner categories that are designed for people just testing the water. If you're still not sure, just come along to support your friends as a spectator. Events with finals are electrifying to watch and you're sure to be inspired by what you witness. Just one word of warning: competitions are addictive!
The League of Honour - Castle Comp Wall- each reset of the comp wall starts a new round of The League of Honour. Suitable for novice climbers, the Improver's league will help you track your progress. The Masters' league is to qualify for the finals, to be held every six months at The Castle. You can find more information on the League of Honour's page. Cost of entry is £1 which goes straight to Climbers Against Cancer.
Blokfest - various walls - the UK's premiere regional bouldering event held over 5 rounds at various climbing walls. There is an Junior round in the morning with Seniors participating in the afternoon, ending with a spectacular final (Seniors only). For more information, including online registration, go to the Blokfest website or Facebook page.
BMC Youth Climbing Series - a fun climbing and bouldering competition for young people. Competitors ranging in age from 7 to 17 years old compete in five age specific categories. They are judged on their performance on three boulder problems (3 attempts, 10/7/4 points) and three routes (points based on highest hold reached). The youngest two categories top-rope, the older three lead climb. The events are commonly a first step on the development pathway towards national and international competition. They are extremely popular with usually around 150 children participating in the London and SE area rounds! For rules, age categories, entry conditions, etc. see the BMC website.
2014 venues and online entry now live.
2014 dates and venues (London North):
GB Junior Bouldering Championships - a three event series to determine the national champion in four age categories (Youth A, B, C and Junior). Competitors climb 8 qualifying problems (scramble format) and three finals problems. See The BMC's website for dates, venues and full rules.
British Bouldering Championships (seniors only)- a super event for spectators and competitors alike, usually held in July in Sheffield. Since 2013, the event follows the international competition format with five qualifying blocs (five minutes on, five minutes off) and three bloc final (4 minutes plus format). The winner is the one who reached the top of the most blocs, in the fewest attempts with attempts on bonus holds to split any ties. If you can't make it, the event is webcast on bmc.tv
British Lead and Speed Climbing Championships- The BLCC and BSCC are one day events to select the national champion. Both the BLCC and BSCC follow the international competition format. The lead climbing format is two qualifying routes (flash) and one final route (on-sight) per category. For speed climbing, two climbers race each other on a standardised 15 meter route. The slowest one is eliminated and the other one moves on to the next round. The current world record is 5.88 seconds (male) / 7.85 seconds (female)! Smokin'.
British Paraclimbing Series - A three event climbing and bouldering competition series for 8 categories of disability. While the events have a fun, festival atmosphere to them and are suitable for beginners, they are also essential for selection onto the British Team. The Castle traditionally hosts the first round of the event in March.
For seniors, the International Federation for Sport Climbing (IFSC) organise a World Cup for bouldering, lead climbing (known as difficulty) and speed climbing disciplines. They also run continental championships and world championships in alternating years. The calendar is slightly different for Juniors: they compete in the European Youth Series (bouldering, speed or difficulty), an annual continental championship and an annual world championship.
You can view the senior events live at ifsc.tv.
There are a number of other notable events which are also on the IFSC's competition calendar. Some to look out for include: