News 2020


Title:  National Competitions: Feedback Required
Date:  30/09/2020

The ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation of innumerable sporting events across the globe and competition climbing is no different. This ongoing disruption to sport has come with one silver-lining; the opportunity to make far reaching changes to competition calendars. Worldwide, national and international sports bodies are taking the opportunity to realign competition calendars.

Working together Mountaineering Ireland, Mountaineering Scotland and the British Mountaineering Council have developed a proposal to reshape the competition climbing calendar for national championships and the Youth Climbing Series for climbers throughout the UK and Ireland.

The reasoning behind these proposals are as follows:

  1. To create a more athlete centered approach for the national events.
  2. To schedule national competitions to align with international competitions to allow for better athlete preparation and selection.
  3. To reduce the number of national and international clashes.
  4. To co-ordinate the schedule of national championships to create a ‘Four Nations’ type series of competitions. Thus:
    1. Increasing the number of national competitions for athletes to compete in,
    2. Increasing the profile (and commercial sponsorship attractiveness) of national competitions.
    3. Increasing participation levels at national competitions.
  5. To provide for scheduled periods of ‘down time’ for athletes.
  6. To schedule the Youth Climbing Series competitions to better align with national talent development pathways.

Although exact details are yet to be worked out, we would like to present additional detail to give a fuller picture of what the competition climbing calendar could look like for national championships and the Youth Climbing Series.

National competitions – Boulder

National boulder competitions would be scheduled to take place in February, March and April – essentially before Easter. These competitions would be complete before the commencement of the IFSC international competitions. A series of four national competitions – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – would be run. An overall ranking for competitors would be calculated.

Sample dates for 2021:

  • Welsh Bouldering Championship 13th February
  • Junior Irish Bouldering Championship 27th February
  • Senior Irish Bouldering Championship 28th February
  • Scottish Youth Bouldering Championship 20th March
  • Junior English Bouldering Championship 17th April
  • Senior English Bouldering Championships date TBC

The 2021 British Bouldering Championship will take place on 10&11 July (TBC) as part of the Sheffield Cliffhanger Festival.

With increased participation in these competitions, we would also aim to hold a full series of stand-alone Senior and Junior competitions.

National competitions – Lead

National lead competitions would be scheduled to take place in May and June, before the international lead season begins.

• Scottish Lead Climbing Championship 8th and 9th May
• Irish Lead Climbing Championship 22nd and 23rd May
• British Lead Climbing Championship 5th and 6th June
• Welsh Climbing Championship 19th June

Youth Climbing Series

As part of the overall rescheduling of the competition calendar the Youth Climbing Series would move from January, February, March, April to September, October, November. The series would generally follow the current format. That is two one day regional boulder rounds, two one day regional lead rounds and a two-day combined bouldering and lead Grand-Final.

Suggested dates are as follows:

  • Round 1: 18th September
  • Round 2: 2nd October
  • Round 3: 23rd October
  • Round 4: 6th November
  • Grand-Final: 27th & 28th November

In addition, it is proposed to remove the Youth E category from the Grand Final. Quite simply the competitive environment and format of the Grand Final is not appropriate for climbers in Youth E category. There is plenty of research (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3) which states children of this age should not be exposed to overly formal competition too early on in their sporting life.

Mountaineering Ireland, Mountaineering Scotland and the British Mountaineering Council would welcome feedback on the proposals presented, please take our short survey which is available via the following link:


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