CWIF Report from Dave Mason

19 Mar 2012 15:37

A week has passed and The Climbing Works has just about returned to normal. Illnesses, fatigue and workloads over powered the weekend endorphin's and the end of last week was a struggle for most of the team here. We've finally totted up all the scores and we will post the final results tomorrow. In the meantime we have the CWIF team scores which you can view on our website here. If your team is missing it's because we only put in scores with teams that consisted of 4 people. If you had 4 in your team and it is missing, get in touch as not all scorecards had their team details on them.  

Over the next few weeks we'll be posting some more reports and galleries in relation to The CWIF and we start off with one from our own Dave Mason. If you weren't here, you'll definitely get a feel of what The CWIF is like to both the competitors and the crowd.

Mina going for it in the Finals. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

"Spring is in the air in Sheffield-the temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer, the daffodils and snow drops are even starting to poke their heads up.  For climbers this means more chance of getting out on “God’s” own rock even if it is a little hot, after all what’s better than an a circuit at Stanage followed by a pint in the evening sun?

Hang on though, it’s the second weekend in March and that means only one thing-The CWIF!! That’s right 346 (260 men & 86 women) competitors piled into the Climbing Works over this glorious weekend for the 6th annual Climbing Works International Festival.

The route setting team (Percy, Jamie, Jackie, Longy, Pickles and the Enigma) had had a busy few days, setting and testing 38 blocs in 48 hours that would hopefully allow everyone to get at least a point but also split the top dogs with something evil, conjured from the minds of these twisted individuals. This is what The CWIF is all about, having something for everyone, a competition where Joe Bloggs can compete against the likes of Alex Puccio and Guillame Glairon-mondet (Gigi) without feeling out of place.

Chris on Mens Final bloc 1. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

Saturday morning comes and at 8am the first of the AM qualifiers stumble in, most with a glazed look on their faces as if they had been rudely awakened from a slothly slumber. As you can imagine the coffee machine had a very busy morning. This contingent featured some strong Brits while most of the foreign WAD’s decided to sleep a little longer and wait for the afternoon qualifying round. With only three and a half hours to complete 30 blocs, time was short, but the atmosphere is good. Laughter, shouts of beta and whoops of support and congratulations fill the place and then there are the nerves.

Everyone is nervous, it’s natural but it’s how you let them affect you that make the difference. As the time ticks by competitors start to get a little more frantic-trying to scramble up those problems that are just a little out of reach, searching for that elusive extra bonus point that could make all the difference. Chalk settles on spectators shoulders, the route setters sit there with a smug yet bedraggled look on their faces (I think they might be slightly tired, oh and the Enigma has a very fat ankle) and still the coffee machine works tirelessly on, with no complaints.

Ned getting himself in a twist on Poo Corner, bloc 3 in the Finals. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

12:30pm equals time up for the early birds. No surprises really - Dave Barrans looked mutant strong and topped all the blocs, earning himself a tidy 291 out of 300, in a close second Jon Partridge got a very respectable 278 with James Garden coming in 3rd with 251. In the girls Shauna Coxsey, Alex Puccio, Leah Crane and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk all boasted a pretty impressive tally that should secure them places in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Now it’s time to refuel and relax – there is a certain smugness with the am competitors as they leave, their eagerness and decision to climb in the morning now results in a few extra hours of recovery time which could be all important in the Semi-Finals on the Sunday.

Round two!! DING DING!! The afternoon rabble shows up, looking all wide eyed and bushy tailed after their extra hours under the duvet. Among the contenders is Ned ‘the Champ’ Feehally, Gigi (who managed a poultry 3rd in the World last year) and a few 8C boulderers’ thrown in for good measure by the names of Chris Webb-Parsons and Micky Page, not forgetting our current resident Italian Stallion Michele Caminati, who managed an ascent of Kaluza Klein (E7 6c) at Robin Hoods Stride the day before – just a good rest day for Michele. Representing the French XX Chromosome was Melanie Sandoz, Anne-Laure Chevrier and Clementine Kaiser,  ladies who can certainly crank!!

To summarize the 3.5 hour afternoon session-they all qualified. Time for home and time to refuel, shovelling in those carbs and protein to aid the bodies’ recovery and for the fingers? Well I bet a whole lot of anti-hydral and moisturiser was used in Sheffield on that Saturday night.

A big crowd watching the Finals. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

Sunday appears to be another glorious day in South Yorkshire and yet I arrive at the Works an hour before the semis are due to start and all the seating is taken up. Not what I expected but bloody brilliant! I am really pleased that the spectator side of competition climbing in the UK is starting to pick up-these events really are great, spectacular to watch and the crowd plays a really important part in getting the competitors psyched up. A few hundred people all packed into that small space fuelled by free prizes, music from the Gusinator and the chance to see some outstandingly acrobatic feats of strength creates a buzz that could match Wembley on match day (well nearly).

The semis are HARD and we wait a while to see a block topped. The first comes courtesy of British team member Tom ‘gangle’ Newman on men’s number 3 and it really is a fight! In the 5 minutes Tom has to climb the bloc he edges closer and closer; it’s a burly, strength centred climb up the middle of the Berghaus competition wall, big moves and long limbs flying all over the place as Tom latches the final hold and the crowd erupt, Tom pumps his body up and down, psyched out of his tiny mind and he hasn’t even matched yet!! Luckily he does-will that secure him a finals place?

Even as the ‘big guns’ come out problems still aren’t a given, although Gigi decides to show us how the French do it by flashing problem 1, then latching the hardest move in the semi-finals to do problem 2, a minor hiccup occurs on problem 3 (so he is human after all), but straight back to business by topping problem 4!. With a display like that it’s only right that he wins the semi-finals and puts himself into strong contention for the finals. Others to make it through were Tito Calyeron, Dave Barrans, Chris Webb-Parsons, Ned Feehally and yes, problem number 3 was enough for Tom.

Gigi grooving along in Poo corner in the Finals Ph. Adam Bailes c.

The women’s was a similarly difficult affair with 1 top in 2 attempts getting you through. Shauna cruised into the finals topping all 4 blocs and showing a mixture of brawn and brains goes a long way in competition climbing. Puccio crushed 3 climbs and came in second followed by Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Leah Crane, Clementine Kaiser and Gill Peet. The British girls representing well and it’s a big surprise to not see Melanie or Anne-Laure in the finals.

So as the competitors have a brief break before the finals, while we lesser athletes tuck into the free BBQ that the Climbing Works have so generously put on. A FREE BBQ basking in the sun eating burgers and drinking beer - can you imagine a better way to spend a Sunday? I can’t and neither can everyone else as we managed to munch our way through 300 burgers all cooked to perfection by George ‘chef’ Taylor and Matt ‘sous’ chef Bird. Thank you boys!

Alex crushing Womens bloc 2 in the Finals. Ph. Adam Bailes c.


The finals is even busier, creating an electric atmosphere with DJ Gallup joining Gusinator in the DJ booth after managing a very respectable 9th place in the semis . Percy warms up the mic with insults and banter for anyone in range, what a kind hearted soul he is. The competitors come out and are presented to the crowd. They then get their 2 minutes to view each of the 4 blocs. The girls first is a hideous slab and the guys is a slopey pinch fest while the rest of the blocs require a suitable amount of thinking outside of the box with double dyno’s and gunny pulling for the girls. To quote Matthew Syed from the Times the guys are going to have “to play vertical chess with their bodies at lightning speed and with not a semblance of inhibition”.

Kaiser Clementine giving it her all on the Womens #4 blocs in the Finals. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

The finals were close especially in the men’s with Gigi and Dave battling it out till the end. It all came down to the last boulder with Dave leading by 1 attempt, topping it would all but bring him the CWIF crown. For Dave this would mean everything; other than Stew Watson he has lead the way for Brits in the international comps over the last few years but always comes second in national events. After managing to get to the last move a few times, his 4 minutes were up and he hadn’t topped the final bloc 4. Was he going to end up in his familiar second place? Only Gigi could decide that. An antagonising 4 minutes for Dave, in which I can’t imagine he could even watch. Gigi like Dave managed to get to the last moves on his first go, only to come off too but slightly higher than Dave.  Could he improve? The crowd urged him on (although i’m sure we all wanted Dave to win - sorry Gigi). Fatigue was definitely setting in but yet again he got through to the last move only to....... flail at that out of reach top volume!! Dave had finally won and in my opinion he had fully earned it, he was ecstatic and rightfully so. A day later he posted on Twitter that he still couldn’t believe he had “finally won one”. Looking as strong as you do Dave, I can! Ned brought the bronze home with Tito in 4th, Chris in 5th and Tom in 6th. A quick note here for everyone to send their best wishes to Chris after injuring his shoulder on problem 1. He has worked and trained so hard for the World Cup circuit this year and for him to not be able to compete would be heart breaking. Speedy recovery buddy our thoughts are with you and that bloody shoulder.

The Mens Podium. From left Ned Feehally (3rd), Dave Barran (1st), Guillame Glarion-Mondet (2nd). 

Ph. Adam Bailes c.

The girl’s was really a two horse race in the end between Shauna and Alex. Shauna looked strong and confident and Alex didn’t quite look her normal (exceptional) self and in the end this made the difference. Shauna topped all 4 blocs showing again why she is the British Bouldering and Lead Champion, Alex did 2 climbs, although she should have completed 3; after getting herself tied up on the slab, then untying herself she came off with both hands on the finishing volume. Leah pipped Mina into third with an impressive flash of the slab, Mina managed to latch the double dyno faster than anyone else and got to the bonus on fourth but it wasn’t quite enough. Clementine came in 5th with Gill in 6th.

 The Womens Podium. From left Leah Crane (3rd), Shauna Coxsey (1st), Alex Puccio (2nd). Ph. Adam Bailes c.


Shauna Coxsey, CWIF 2012 Champion Ph. Adam Bailes c.

So two British CWIF champions! The crowd was pleased, perhaps even elated; they had seen awesome performances of competition climbing at its best and hopefully this thirst for watching and supporting comp climbing will continue in the UK. Make sure you all follow, watch and support the Brits on the live streams of the World Cup events starting in China on 13th-14th April.

Team Beastmaker (Michele Caminati, Shauna Coxsey, Ned Feehally & Chris Webb Parsons) picking up their £500 for top team. Ph. Adam Bailes c.

Trophies, medals, prize money and a space hopper podium for the competitors and a raffle for the spectators finished the evening off well. A quick tidy up and the Climbing Works, coffee machine included, was put to sleep after a busy & fatiguing weekend. The crowd moved onto the Broadfield allowing the dust to settle and silence to envelop the wall once more; I don’t envy the cleaners on Monday morning.

A big shout out to all those involved-competitors (it wouldn’t be possible without you), setting boys (it definitely wouldn’t be possible without you) and the Climbing Works and all those associated with the wall, as it would be impossible without you!!! Thank you Graeme, Percy and Sam for putting on the show and all the tireless work from Alice, Anthony, Brian, Claire T, Claire Y, Dan, Fred, Jake, Katy, Lily, Lu, Phil, Pirie, Tim, all the judges and brushers and anyone else I might of forgotten..... oh yeah and of course Matt, the man who does a bit of everything at the wall, works ridiculously hard whilst getting a barrage of constant abuse from Sir Percy.