Tim Emmett describes the various styles of bouldering and leading competitions available in the UK.
Bouldering competitions take place all year round but are more predominant in the winter. There are two common formats:
Difficulty competitions - these usually take place at weekends or evenings during the week. They are based purely on difficulty with a set number of problems and a time limit to complete them and are open to all categories of competitors.
Aggregate competitions - these are becoming more and more popular as commercial climbing walls look to generate more business! They consist of a large number of problems (100+) with a much higher top level of difficulty. You then have a tick list and about three months to complete as many problems as possible. Of course, the competition is open to all categories of competitor but the prizes tend to be relatively small.
Leading competitions again, are more popular over the winter. Categories may be either grade or age orientated and based on difficulty. Sometimes there are speed climbing and fun competitions at the same time.
British Indoor Climbing Championship (BICC)
If you're climbing well and you want to see how you fair against the top climbers in the country, you can enter the annual British Indoor Climbing Championship (BICC). Entry is open to all.
For more information about competition climbing in the UK, check out the British Mountaineering Council website.
Organising a climbing competition can be a great way to promote your club or venue. Graeme Alderson suggests a few ideas to bear in mind at the planning stage.
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Tim is a professional climber and extreme sports athlete. He is an inspirational speaker and author which has led to him presenting many BBC programmes. He has recently climbed the first ascent of possibly the most famous ice climb in the world - Helmcken Falls, Canada. Nominated for the 'Piolet D'Or' award and has been amongst the winners 4 times at the World Ice Climbing Championships.
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