The excitement and expectations were at fever pitch for the 6th annual ‘Cliffhanger’ adventure sports event to be held on 7th and 8th July 2012. The majestic grounds of Graves Park, situated in the Norton Lees area of Sheffield offered a marvellous setting for what was meant to be two amazing days of jaw-dropping extreme sports including rock-climbing, mountain-biking, caving, free running and ‘bocking’.
However, on the eve of the event, over 6 months of planning by the organisers,
Heason Events, quite literally disappeared down the drain, when a month’s worth of rain fell on the park within a matter of hours forcing them to take the heart-breaking decision to cancel the event.
However, every cloud has a silver lining as they say and it was decided that the
British Mountaineering Council sponsored British Bouldering Championships would still go ahead on the fantastic artificial wall built by ‘Entreprise’ within the giant big-top marquee erected entirely for the climbing event.
The championships spread over the two days, with the seniors competing on
Saturday and the juniors on Sunday, attracted some of the best climbers in the
country such as Ned Feehally, (who was last year’s winner of the senior male
category), Dave Barrans and Shauna Coxsey (winner of 2011 senior female
category). Mixing this in with bouldering problems being created by one of the UK’s top teams of highly talented route setters, the scene was set for a truly, memorable bouldering event.
The competitions started with a qualifying session, where competitors competed to achieve the required amount of points for the purpose of qualification, which were awarded for their individual levels of success on a range of 10 bouldering problems. The whole session all took place over a specified period of time.
The qualifying session was then followed by the head-to-head final, in which each
climber came out from an isolation area and attempted a different series of 5 routes within a set amount of time.
In the male seniors, Dave Barrans gave a display of inspired climbing and
pipped Adam Watson, James Garden and Ned Feehally to first place by successfully ‘topping out’ on 4 routes.
In the female senior competition, Shauna Coxsey climbed stoically and despite a few mistakes her efforts were awarded with a repeat of her 2011 success by beating Alex Puccio into second place.
The junior competitions also had the audience biting their respective fingernails down
to the nub, with Dominic Burns throwing everything he had at the wall to lead the
boy’s junior competition with 4 successful route completions and Molly Thompson-
Smith producing a fine effort with 1 top-out and 3 awesome attempts to just pip
Hannah Wilson to first place.
So, now we looking forward to next year’s competition and judging by the talent and skill demonstrated some of the younger climbers there is no doubt that it will be
another tremendous event that once again will keep us all on the edge of our seats.
…you never know the sun may even shine, now there’s a thought!
Feature By Steve Gresty
Images by Mark Ludbrook, Steve Gresty