Weekly Updates - March 2009

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30 Mar 2009 15:48 New Purple Spotty Circuit

After our new green circuit last week, we've moved up a few grades and started work on a new purple spotty cirucit.


The old circuit has been stripped and cleaned (with the magic that is Benky Grip Wash) and we have our guest route-setter, Neil Mawson, currently setting a few problems today. The whole circuit will be finished tomorrow once the holds have dried overnight.


What this all means is that by Tuesday night you will have a new 40 problem circuit in the Font 6c-7a grade range.


As always...Enjoy!


Percy testing some of Neil's new problems. In the background is ex-pat/Spanish resident Pete O'Donovan (POD) realising how Spanish limestone just doesn't measure up to the beauty of The Climbing Works.



26 Mar 2009 13:46 New Green Circuit

Percy and Sam finished the new 40 problem Green circuit yesterday so for those operating in the Font  4-5 range then you've got some great new problems to go at.


Next week will see a new purple spotty circuit going up so this weekend is your last chance to finish any old projects of this colour.


Percy is away for the next few days setting at the Skymasters event at the NEC Ordance Survey event. As its a route he's setting he's been (literally) dusting off his harness and figuring out how to put it on again. Hopefully he'll remember ok and be able to set next week


24 Mar 2009 14:18 Work in progress


We haven't blogged for the best part of a week (mostly due to Brian being on holiday and me being away in bonny Scotland) but we're back, so here's an update on whats been going down. The campus board is finally finished, with four sets of 14 rungs right to the top of the board for the full 'alpine campusing' experience. It even has a couple of tiny foot rungs for those of you who have respect for your elbow joints and want to endulge in a 'feet-on' campus board work out.

The Beastmaker boys have been back in to tweak the Motherboard and this now has even more tiny holds for you all to bear down on.

The green circuit has come down this morning and Sam has started to reset, so it should be finished and ready by tomorrow lunchtime. Next week the purple spotty circuit is going to be reset, followed a week later by a new red circuit.


If you haven't been spoiled enough already, we have also taken delivery of a couple more Beastmaker finger boards - one which is a bit easier to use and has a couple of good holds on it (a Beastmaker 1000 series). The other one is another Beastmaker 2000 series which has been positioned at 1-4 campus rung spacings above the original one, so you can now (potentially) perform some enormous, and very difficult locks between them! (Ice is available from reception!!!)



17 Mar 2009 15:30 Photos From The CWIF

We're in the process of sorting out and uploading the tons of photos that we've got from the CWIF. We've got a full gallery on our website with the competition broken up into the setup, the qualifying, the semi's and the finals. 


As we upload the photos we're putting on captions etc so you can get a feel of the day if you weren't there.


We'd like to thank the photographers - Norman Gilman, Tonde & Steve Goodair - for taking the photos and allowing us to show them.




16 Mar 2009 08:39 Words of wisdom

Just got back from a weekend in Austria at the IFSC seminar - a useful meeting but not as much fun as the brief liason with snowboarding off-piste through pretty dense trees at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday afternoon! Nice to see Graeme has re-learnt how to crash after two and a half weeks in Canada where he apparently only fell over once.... he made up for that this weekend (and so did I!) (Editorial note: only one of us managed to crash on the cresta run through the trees In Garmisch and it wasn't the one on skis.)

While we we away, Sam and Brian were looking after the British Students climbing championships (BUCS) which were once again held at the Works. You can find the results HERE. Congrats to the local Beasts, particularly Dan Varian who beat his best buddy Ned Fehally for top spot, and also to Sheffield Uni whose team won the team competition. Also many thanks must go to Moon Climbing for providing all the prizes - cheers Ben!

Finally, Tyler Landman is back in Fontainebleau after spending last weekend with us competing in the CWIF where he took 3rd place. He has written a nice blog about how the comp was for him which you can read here.

The result of having two big comps in a week is that now there are two new circuits for everybody to try. The yellow CWIF circuit is already looking pretty hammered, and we now have a new Blue BUCS circuit courtesy of Jamie 'The Monkey' Cassidy and Zippy. Some of the blue circuit problems are on the comp wall which should add a little spice to things! I have also added some more problems to the comp wall so there is plenty of new stuff to go at. Enjoy!


11 Mar 2009 19:39 Closure this Saturday, 14th March

This Saturday sees the BUSA / BUCS come to town with competitions held all over Sheffield with thousands of students competiting in numerous different sports.


As part of it, The Climbing Works will be hosting the climbing competition with 400 students + judges, officials etc in attendence. Just like the last 2 years when we've held it, the Works will be closed all day to the general public and its full members. We will be back open on the Sunday at 10am as usual.


On the plus side, at least the weather looks like it will be ok



10 Mar 2009 15:59 CWIF Report


A good climbing competition has to have some essential ingredients. Firstly you need talent in the form of some of the best climbers in the world. Then you need some intriguing, insane structures for them to try and climb. Add to this a large crowd of spectators who understand whats going on, are psyched up and baying for action (and who've enjoyed themselves in the beer tent)!


Then throw in some loud music, sketchy commentary and some bright lights. Then you need the last essential ingredient, and the hardest one to find. You can't buy it, and you can't plan for it, but now and again you get it just at the right time. The last ingredient is luck. When it all comes together, you create a magical sporting moment - “ the World Cup in Leeds 1989 when Jerry Moffatt won, the World Cup in Birmingham 2005 when Mark Croxall won - all amazing  moments in British competition climbing.

Seb Grieve stunned by the quality of the problems on offer...

This years Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) was another of those magical events where everything came together in the right place at the right time.

The CWIF is now in its third year (previously rather amusingy being called the Climbing Works International Masters, or CWIM or short!) and this year the event got a spot on the IFSC international competition calendar to attract a few more foreign climbers. This coupled with the fact that even in these hard financial times, the Climbing Works injected over £10,000 into funding the event and the prize money ensured a premier league field of climbers at the event.

The event format is simple - if you win you get a load of money, so in order to win you have to do one of the hardest days climbing you'll maybe ever do!

The mornings open qualification session was an informal affair - 5 hours to complete a circuit of 30 boulder problems varying in difficulty from Font 4 to Font 7c, and in every style imaginable. Desperate slabs, all-out dynos, brutal power, bizarre balancey volume wrestling - you get the idea. In order to get a good score you needed to be good at everything! Oh, and have a load of stamina.

Over 200 climbers took part in the mornings session, with people coming from all over to take part. This years CWIF attracted climbers from France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, Australia, and even Newcastle Upon Tyne(!), making the CWIF the only true international competition that will be held in the UK this year. At the end of the qualification period there were a lot of very tired people, but the best 16 men and women were selected to take part in the afternoons semi-final.

The semi-finals were brutal, designed to select only the top 5 climbers in each category, so the list of people who didn't make the cut spoke volumes -current British champion Ned Fehally, ex british Champions Gaz Parry and Andy Earl, Diane Merrick, Joackym Ramsamy - all great competition climbers, but they just couldn't keep going to make the cut for the final.

Gaz Parry on Mens #2 in the semi's. Photo courtesy of Holdz

So, the finals. Whilst the finals problems were set, the crowd enjoyed a free barbecue and a Niall Grimes, before heading back to the competition wall for what was to turn out to be one of the most electrifying finals I can remember in recent years. In both categories there were 5 climbers to attempt 3 problems of the utmost complexity and difficulty.

A brief word should be said about why this comp was so good. Now I know its bigging myself up a bit, but the route setting is a key thing that makes a competition successful or a failure. The Climbing Works boys know this, so they selected a route-setting 'dream team' to create the problems for the CWIF, including masters of the art like Jacky Godoffe (Fontainebleau), Jamie Cassidy (Liverpool), Andy Long (Portland), Jason Pickles (Todmorden), Tonde Katiyo (Paris) and me (Sheffield). The beauty of employing such a large and experienced route-setting team means that the problems end up being a hugely diverse set of styles, yet all being fantastic to climb. This diversity was exemplified by the problems for the semi's and finals for this event.

The womens final ran simultaneously with the mens which meant that at some points it was hard to know which way to look as there was so much happening! After the first couple of problems last years winner, Vera Zilstra (Hol) started to show signs of how tired she was, whilst Maud Ansade (Fra) and the Climbing Works very own mild-mannered receptionist, Leah Crane were still in offing for the top spot, so it was all down to the last problem.

Maud was first out on the third problem, a huge jump from a side wall onto a big slopey boss on the lip of a roof. After a number of initial tries to stick the first jump she latched the hold and battled her way to the top to the encouragement of a roaring crowd. Climbing last, Leah had to climb the problem within 3 tries to win, and the pressure was on.

She didn'y disappoint, climbing to the top on her first try, but then calamity! With one hand on the finishing hold (a nasty sloper) all she had to do was get her other hand onto the same hold to match for the win, and that's where the trouble started. Try as she might, Leah just couldn't get into balance to match the hold for the win, and no matter how much the crowd screamed encouragement or she fought to find a solution to the last move, all was in vain and she eventually slipped off. The remaining couple of minutes were amazing as Leah fought to regain her highpoint, but alas, it was not to be and eventually she had to settle for second place, with Maud winning the event.


Leah Crane on problem 3 in the finals. Photo courtesy of Holdz

As if the womens competition wasn't exciting enough, the mens final proved just as scintilating to watch. Again, after the first two problems the battle for first prize was down to a straight fight between multiple World Cup winner and current European champion Jerome Meyer (Fra) and Manchesters finest - the pocket rocket himself, Dave Barrans.

Both guys were destroyed after the battle with the twisted wierdness that was the second problem - a masterclass in upsidedown compression courtesy of Monsiuer Godoffe, but the crunch problem was number 3, more huge compression moves up a 50 degree prow, a wild spinnng dyno for a strange blob-like fang, then two of the worst holds you've ever seen to gain the top.

First out was Jerome, showing the control and composure only a competition of this class can, and after a few failed attempts, he finally got established on the head-wall only to fall with one hand on the finishing hold! Last man out, all Dave Barrans had to do was complete the problem to win. The crowd were going balistic by this point, they knew the score and if the sheer volume of their support provided the outcome of a competition, Dave would have won by miles! However, in the end, Dave just couldn't find that last bit of power to finish the problem off, leaving top spot for Jerome Meyer.


Jerome Meyer, the Mens winner, alongside Jacky Godoffe

The prizes were awarded by Mr Reindert Lenslink  - the General Secretary of the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) - and the party continued on well into the night at a number of Sheffield venues!

Photo courtesy of Holdz

Big thanks must go to the companies who supported the CWIF at a time when most climbing companies are trying to spend as little money as possible, so a mention must go to Holdz, Metolius, Five Finger Thing and The Clinic for sponsoring the event.

You can find all the results from the qualifiers to the finals on the Works website>>




9 Mar 2009 17:08 Recovery

What a weekend!!! As you may have read from Percy's last blog, the CWIF was almighty success with around 200 competitors and a finals that was one of the best ever held in the U.K.


We've spent the last 2 days doing some cleaning and maintenance which has resulted in some new problems on the comp wall to go alongside the Men & Women's final set. There's a few from the semi's on there plus a few new ones too.


As for the CWIF itself. Well, we're all recovering slowly from it after a weeks prep, a mad day in itself and 2 days getting refocused. A huge thank you to everyone who showed up, competitors and spectators. I'm currently going through all the photos so expect a gallery on the website in the next few days. We also got some amazing video footage which is being cut and edited as I write. That should be up in the next few weeks.


We'll also write up a bit more of a report on the whole day this week so to give you some of the flavour and inside stories etc...


As for the scores, again, they're currently being entered and they will be on the website by tomorrow afternoon.


In the meantime enjoy the few random photos from the day below...

Dave Barrans on the skip problem, one of the yellow qualifying circuit problems that ended a few dreams


Jerome Meyer (part of Team Beastmaker) being very french. Jerome won the competition by the smallest of margins.


Team WAD: Maud (the overall female winner), Miles Gibson, Tyler Landman & some punter called Sam


Maud showing her skills on the yellow qualifying circuit


Seb Grieve taking the 'best dressed team' prize very seriously...


A competitor on the Male #2 semi-finals problem


Gaz Parry & Andy Earl showing what happens after many years of competiting....they could do a bit in their day.


8 Mar 2009 19:43 The day after.......

Well, its all over for another year. I'm too tired to write a proper blog now - that can wait until tomorrow. However, CWIF 2009 was amazing - one of the best international comps ever held in the UK. Everybody who turned up to watch the final was treated to some of the most exciting and entertaining climbing I've seen in ages. Stay tuned for a full report and photos in the next few days. The big prizes were scooped by the French with Jerome Meyer winning the mens event, and Maud Ansade winning the womens comp. However, the UK's Dave Barrans and Leah Crane gave the Frenchies an amazing run for their money, just getting pipped on the last problems. What a night!!

6 Mar 2009 10:03 The Day Before....

So with one day to go to the mighty CWIF, the finals and the semi finals have been set and the boys are currently working on the new yellow qualifying circuit. 30 problems from 5 to 7b+ or so. These problems are on the walls but you CANNOT climb them till Saturday, even if you have no plans to compete.

Percy testing one off Longy's creations on the new yellow circuit


The semi final problems are on the comp wall but they will not be revealed till just before the semi's at 3'ish. You can see the full timetable for the day below. Remember there will be a free BBQ and a free Niall Grimes lecture/stand-up also on during the day.

The Comp wall hidden away under our amazingly technical and high spec...tarp.

The lads testing one of the problems for the finals on the comp wall.

If for some strange reason Gaz Parry manages to win anything, Graeme has been counting out his winnings. It's custom for us to pay Gaz in 1 & 2p's...


Timetable for the day

0800 Doors open for registration and warm up

0900 Qualification circuit starts

1400 Qualification period ends (NB – you can still continue climbing on the circuit but the ‘official’ qualification period is over at 1400)

1500 Isolation opens for semi-final

1515 Isolation closes for semi-final

1530 Semi finals starts – Male & Female simultaneous – 4 problems, 5 mins on/5mins off

1725 Semi final finishes

1745 BBQ ready

1815 The One and Only Mr Niall Grimes

1825 Isolation opens for finals

1830 Isolation closes for finals

1930 Finals start – Male & Female simultaneous – 3 problems, 2 mins observation, 4+ mins climbing time

2100 Finals finish

2115 Raffle followed by prize ceremony


As we've mentioned before we've got some of the best routesetters in Britain for the comp (Percy, Longy, Pickles and Cassidy) but we've also got our very own, very French, Jacky Godoffe and Tonde Katiyo setting. Percy took them out onto the grit on their first day to sample the delights of the stanage circuit.

So good, Tonde did it twice!


Jacky on Deliverance. I won't say how he found it...


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