The Battle Of Britain 2012 (Leeds)
The Climbing Depot Battle Of Britain Competition Report
On Saturday 10th November The Climbing Depot Leeds hosted its 3rd annual Battle of Britain event. The day started in earnest at 12 with competitors arriving from as far afield as Edinburgh and London, with the usual suspects from Liverpool making the yearly pilgrimage.
Qualifying on the slab 2012
Qualification had climbers testing their mettle on 30 problems of increasing difficulty. The youngest participants had 10 of their own bloc’s to complete before attempting the first half of the adult circuit, whilst the older climbers wrestled with all 30 pinks.
Qualifying on the small roof
Every category was fiercely contested, none more so than the senior males, with four men flashing 29 of the 30 problems! With 19 year old Ben Meakin close behind in 5th place the men’s final was set. The 7-11 category was very evenly contested, with lots of similar scores. In the boys event, Depot regulars Jack Goodyear and Hamish McArthur shared the spoils. For the 3rd year running Emma Powell took 1st place in the 7-11 girls. We’re confident she can maintain this level as she makes the transition to the older category next year. Gracie Martin and Charlie Mpetha proved victorious in the 12-15 comp which is no mean feat, climbing on the full sized adult problems. Well done, indeed. Last to be decided on the pinks were the hardened Veterans. Evergreen Anne Chavalier narrowly won the ladies event despite stiff competition from Louise Turner, and in the Ents Male Vets category a strong team of scouser’s led by Nigel Hunt took the spoils.
Big roof qualifying
At 4pm sharp the qualification ended and the scorecards were collated. With an hour to kill until the senior’s finals commenced, folks took advantage of the free pizza’s and got stuck into the real ale on tap from Naylor’s brewery. For a brief moment the scouse contingent fell silent. Dangerous Dave took to the decks and delivered far more than the recommended daily dose of bass. Our generous sponsors Scarpa, Outdoor Research, Grivel and Evolv had delivered in excess of £3000 and via the medium of raffle these were distributed by Dave with the vigour of a man bailing out a punctured dinghy.
The senior finalists were gathered and herded into isolation to prepare and the clock ticked round to 5 o’clock, and the business end for all involved. The final took the same format as a World Cup Qualifier with each athlete having 5 minutes to solve each bloc then 5 minutes rest. The real spin on the event however was the prize. Winner takes all. Free shoes and Beanies are small beer to the Pro’s, but the £500 for 1st place is still a game-changer.
Gary Vincent on Problem 1
Viewing over, crowd amped and Steve on the mic, the countdown reaches zero and first batter’s up are Ellie Howard and Ben Meakin, highly talented climbers in their own right but straight in at the deep-end here. Final Problem 1 survived another repeated onslaught from the second competitors out, the Depot’s own Amanda Rohner and Scotlands Gary “Groundskeeper Willie” Vincent. Out comes 15 year old Molly from the big smoke and makes Women’s 1 look about 2A. What a prospect she is. Subsequent flashes followed by Diane Merrick and Leah Crane, and in the mens, and perhaps a view of things to come, Nathan, Nedley and the Baron all flashed.
Ned taking a fall
Molly’s slip on Women’s 3 had left her in 3rd place going into the last boulder with Diane in second and Leah first after qualification. Over on Men’s 3, a 30’ board problem on slopers only Nathan had thus far reached the bonus. Ned followed, Ned reached, Ned surpassed! He managed to wave at the final hold as he fell backwards…..but that was the highpoint. Out comes Mr Barrans and in a typical display of pure power and precious little fuss, the problem was flashed to death.
Ned Michael Jordan
On to Problem 4. Ellie and Amanda were out first/second. The dyno start was stuck, progress was made, but no tick. Molly wombles out and the crowd knew what was coming. Flashed! Diane followed and like a robot sent back from the future to climb boulders, another flash! Only Leah is left. She must climb this first go to win. No pressure is evident as Leah tops smoothly, to take the title as deserved. Meanwhile, over on Mens bloc 4, a voluminous crimp-mare both Ben Meakin and groundskeeper Gary are struggling to get established on the third volume and progress is halted.
Leah in the finals
3 competitors are left. This is their stage. This is why they compete and, like a snow leopard patrolling the slopes of mount Kilimanjiro, this is their natural habitat. There has been little separating these three thus far and this is borne out in a closely fought final problem. Both Ned and Barrans take the last hold, but no match, leaving Dave champion after his heroics on Bloc 3. El Barroni!
Barrans beasting the finals
There is just time to jettison the remaining raffle prizes into the crowd like a bucket of clowns confetti before the champions are crowned and fat envelopes of unmarked bills are handed over. Dangerous Dave turns the volume back up and the queue at the bar lengthens again.
Thanks must go to all our sponsors, Scarpa, Evolve, Alpkit, Grivel, BetaClimbing and Outdoor Research without whom the event could not have taken place. Congratulations must go to all competitors surpassing their own expectations and thanks also for those, young and old, from near and far and for the great support from the crowd for making so much noise and the event an outstanding success again. See you all again next year for more of the same.
The Depot Team.
Full results available now.