October 13th, 2017 by gep7452

We were very lucky this year to have two World Paraclimbing Cups in the UK. The first was in Edinburgh two weeks ago and in Sheffield last weekend. Both were run alongside other competitions which I think is a good thing as it provides more exposure for Paraclimbing.

The World Paraclimbing Cup in Edinburgh was run alongside the World Cup for able-bodied climbers. The ticketed event was sold out and allowed Paraclimbing to be showcased to a lot of people whom it would not of otherwise been. The competition consisted of 2 qualifying top-ropes and a final top rope. Coming 2nd to the German Kevin Bartake taking Silver.

The second World Paraclimbing Cup was in Sheffield at Awesome Walls This was run alongside the British Lead Climbing Competitions and agin brought a wider audience. This time taking Gold topping out my first route and beating Kevin Bartake on both the second qualifier and the finals.

After the Sheffield competition the Paraclimbing team stayed on in the Peak District for a couple more days to allow for some filming to be done with the team, Epic TV and BMC TV. The first day was spent at Stanage Edge where the team went trad climbing and finishing off on the Flying Buttress. In the evening a spot of night bouldering at Stanage Plantation where multiple attempts were made on Deliverance.

The Tuesday saw the team rained off the Grit and so a visit to Climbing Works was the alternative. Thank you very much to Climbing Works who opened just for the team when we arrived as they were not due to open for another 2 hours. A great time was had by all the team and more filming buy the BMC TV crew.

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August 30th, 2017 by gep7452

For most of July I had the opportunity to visit Australia on a family holiday. No holiday would be complete without some climbing and I managed to sample what Australia, or more specifically Brisbane had to offer both indoor and outdoor.

My first experience of climbing down under was at the invite of Sport Climbing Queensland who were running an All Abilities Workshop (Paraclimbing) at The Rock Climbing Gym in Brisbane. It struck me straight away on arriving how thrilled they all were to have a GB Paraclimber visit their event. Sport Climbing and Bouldering is fairly new in Australia and was only recognised as a sport a few years ago. They appeared to have little experience of paraclimbing but a strong desire to progress the sport. The morning was dedicated to the children and they had over a dozen climbers of all disabilities. After a few demo climbs I had the opportunity to talk to a number of the climbers, some of whom even followed me on social media. The afternoon was dedicated to adult and we had 6 climbers attend. All in all it was good to see so many new climbers trying it out and overcoming their disabilities.

During my stay in Brisbane I had a number of sessions at the various centres which make up Urban Climb, Milton, West End and Newstead. Again everyone was very welcoming and interested in Paraclimbing and Sport Climbing in the UK, but the sport is not as developed than here at home. It is however, growing rapidly.

Finally, I had the experience of climbing outdoors at Kangaroo Point. A great setting along the banks of the Brisbane river right on the heart of the city. A great venue for that winter evening climb followed by a bar-b-q on one of the many public bar-b-q’s. The route were not really technical but hard enough to be challenging.

The sport is growing and quite new but there is a real feeling of wanting to develop it. Everyone I spoke to and met was very welcoming and keen to share experiences and find out about climbing in the UK. I’d like to thank everyone I climbed with and met and especially Maddie Broughton, Youth climber who is 2nd in Australia in Speed and 1st in Queensland for Lead.

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August 11th, 2017 by gep7452

Matthew is excited to announce that he has a new home wall and sponsor with the fantastic Oakwood Climbing Centre in Wokingham. Oakwood which opened less than a year ago has already raised the standard in indoor climbing centres and become a very popular climbing venue. "I am really pleased to be supported by such an outstanding centre and look forward to training regularly on their first class facilities". Said Matthew.

Oakwood is set in the countryside just outside Wokingham, Berkshire and boasts many top quality facilities including one of the longest competition walls in the UK, top out boulder islands, circuit board, lattice board, fingerboards, campus boards, Auto-belays, Top-rope and lead walls. It also has mini boulder walls and slide for children large and small. After climbing you can relax in their cafe with its large view window onto the climbing arena and under floor heating.

Tony Pudner, the man behind the formation of the centre said "Matt is a shining example of someone who has succeeded at the highest levels of climbing despite obstacles that life dealt him. You tell him why something can't be done and he will show you how it can. He will be an inspiration to young people, and we look forward to his future participation and involvement at the Oakwood Climbing Centre"

Why not come down and check out the centre, you may see Matthew training for his latest competition.

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May 1st, 2017 by gep7452

Easter weekend saw my dad and I take to the road and head south west towards Dartmoor. It was the first opportunity I had had to get outside and hit the rocks this year. With the car loaded to the roof with boulder pads we had a quick and uneventful trip down to Exeter. Leaving the main roads we took the narrow and winding Devonshire lanes and made our way across Dartmoor to Widecombe-on-the-Moor and our destination Bonehill Rocks. 

We had arranged to meet up with paraclimber’s Georgia Pilkington and Mikey Cleverdon, this is one of the thing I love about the climbing community there is always a friend or friends to join you for a climb. After meeting up we started on some easier boulders to warm up. Perfect conditions to boulder, cloudy but not to warm but most importantly dry. 

We started on the Cube, unfortunately Georgia had to go but Mikey and I continued and a fair bit of time exploring the The Bridge V1 and Under the Bridge V6. Moving on to play on The Dark Side and finishing the day trying to crack the Slopey Traverse V5. It was the last climb at the end of the day that I managed, much to my delight to send it. 

After a great first day we made our way to our hotel to a well earned dinner and bed before setting out in the morning to see what Hound Tor would bring.

Day 2 saw us struggling to find a car park space at a busy Hound Tor, made famous by Sherlock Holmes in Hound of the Baskerville. Finally we found a grass verge up the lane and parked up and walked up to the Tor with boulder mats on our backs and rucksacks on our fronts in true climber style.

A few hours trying various boulders and making notes to return to tackle others, such as Shark Fin and projected Cream Traverse V7 which perfectly suited my climbing style being on super slopey holds, hope to return to this one soon. We departed late afternoon to join the horrendous bank holiday traffic heading north. A good weekend and a good start to what I hope are many more trips this year.

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