August 30th, 2017 by Matthew Phillips

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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September 21st, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

Whilst I was not able to compete this year, I’ll explain later, I had the opportunity to go out to Paris and watch the last two days of the competition. What a fantastic showcase of the sport it was and so close to the announcement that climbing is to be in the next Olympic’s the crowds were huge. Read more of this article »

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August 18th, 2016 by Matthew Phillips

The second international competition in Imst started for me far down in the Southern Mediterrianian. We were on holiday in Malta and had to catch an early flight from Malta to Munich. On arrival in Munich we met up with the rest of the team DNA collected our our cars.  

As well as the trek across Europe from the South this competition was also going to be a memorable one because we had with us a film crew from ITV. They were following colleague Sianagh Gallagher for the ITV Programme Real Stories which has now been shown on ITV and is available on ITV Hub.

Arrival in Imst was followed by a trip down to the wall to have a look at our setting for the weekend. The wall at Imst is an impressive sight and first impressions are misleading as the wall is set in a dip and it is not until you are up close you realise how big it is.

Friday night saw the team having a meal at a typical Austrian restaurant which was excellent, it helps when the ITV researchers have selected it and the English translation they made of the menus were very useful. After a few of the team endulged in a snaps courtesy of the owner (don’t tell the coach) we settled in for the night ready for competition on Saturday.

There were four in my category this time and the format was going to be 6 climbs no finals unless there needed to be a super final. The first three climbs of the day look reasonable and didn’t prove much of a probelm to three of the four in our category. Three of us topped all three climbs ending on day 1.

Day 2 of the competition started with a fairly straightforward climb which I topped along with my 2 rivals. The second climb showed they were starting to get tricky with some nasty crimps and reaches towards the top. The third and final climb of the competition was the decider. A nasty reach proved the difference that gave SPain Gold and I achieved a Silver with Israel getting a Bronze.

This was a great Compeition and again the support from all competitiors from all countries was amazing. The climbing family are very special.

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