March 22nd, 2018 by gep7452

This year saw changes to the GB Paraclimbing Team selection process. The BMC National Paraclimbing Series 2017still ran its 4 rounds during the year but it is not longer the critical factor in deciding the team for the following year. This year a new event was created the ‘GB Paraclimbing Selection Event’ and ran on 24 Feb at Awesome Walls alongside the British Open Youth Competition.

The aim of this event was to allow paraclimbers to specifically try out for the team using IFSC style routes and regulations as well as harder grades. The first event was well supported and proved to be successful although I would say needs a few tweaks regarding timings.

Shortly after the event the new GB Paraclimbing Team 2018 was announced, most of the team last year made it back on this years team with a number of new climbers getting selected for main team and for the development team. The team’s first training day was held at The Quay Climbing Centre, in a very snowy Exeter. The new team members bonded well with the existing team and we look forward to the year ahead.

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January 31st, 2018 by gep7452

No feet allowed

I was lucky enough to be invited by Shauna Coxsey for the second year to the BIFF Final 2018 at the Climbing Works in Sheffield. This event is unique in climbing compeititons and full title is Beastmaker International Footess Festival. I love the irony of me a climber with one arm taking part in a footless competition.  It consists of a number of rounds and then a grand final at the Climbing Works. The Grand final is for the top 10 in each round and by invitation. The rules are simple not feet allowed. All the proceeds go to Climbers Against Cancer.

Ringing Ned’s Bell Challenge

This is a great fun competition and nothing is taken seriously. The problems are crazy and the challenges even more so. All the problems
are to be tackled without using your feet and optional are silly costumes. This year we had the Incredible Hulk and a flying Nun. The challenges ranged from a 360 spinning volume where you had to rotate it whilst staying on it, a deadhang challenge and Ring Ned’s Bell. This challenge was my highlight as when I took my go Alex Megos had set the record with 39 rings. I gave it my all and beat him with 42 rings. It did not stand for long but I go to beat Alex Mego’s which is all that matters.

The other highlight of the evening was appearing on the One Five Nine Show with Leah Crane. The show was live streaming the final and it was great to appear on the show. You can see my appearance on Youtube.

The Super Final was amazing, the great reveal was a Infinity Campus Board. A huge drum with two campus boards mounted side by side. The finalists went head to head until one dropped off. Well done to Jim Pope and Rachel Carr who were crowned this years Mr & Mrs BIFF. ALso well done to GB Paraclimbing Coach Belinda Fuller who came third in her first BIFF.

Interview with BMC TV

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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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