Thursday, 11 June 2015

British Bouldering Championships back at Cliffhanger for 2015

The British Bouldering Championships (BBCs) is returning to Sheffield's Millhouses Park next month. It is once again the star attraction of Cliffhanger, following a sojourn to the Climbing Works last year

The country's strongest plastic pullers will bear down on a World Cup standard wall, fighting through the qualifying stages to make finals. Like the ancient gladiatorial battles of the Colosseum... only without the gory parts or weapons for that matter. Just mano a mano - or womano a womano - for the crown of British Champion.

Many will recollect the big top tent of former years (above). Gone are the days of the BBCs' circus resemblance and, this year, there will be a purpose-built open-air structure to replace it. A canopy will keep the July heat (or rain) off the competitors while the rest of us bask in sunshine (or rain) in awe of the athletic performance.

“If you’ve never experienced the thrill of watching a live bouldering competition before, it’s the Blue Riband event of the climbing world, like the 100m sprint at the Olympics with the added drama of competing up a five metre high vertical wall, without a rope.” That comes directly from the mouth of the Cliffhanger Festival co-organiser and mastermind Matt Heason.

If your climbing appetite isn't satiated by the BBCs do not despair! For there are numerous other activities for those vertically inclined. The world famous Foundry Climbing Centre will bring a wall with them to Millhouses Park - not the Wave, for those of you wondering. The Foundry's shop, Crag-X will have its usual one-minute pull-up challenge (pictured above). And Wild Country, now synonymous with the Wide Boyz and their crack climbing endeavours, will host a crack wall for those wanting to emulate Tom and Pete.

But wait! You're not tired yet? How can this be? No worries, there's plenty more where that came from: a ladder climb, zip-wire and slide, zorbing, scuba-diving, kayaking, bike polo, disc golf and duck racing, outdoor theatre, bushcraft and forest school sessions.

If you need a breather after racing those ducks, be regaled with stories of adventure in the Alpkit story tent, sup on a cold brewski in the beer garden (only if you're old enough!), do a little shopping in the trade stalls or stuff your face at the food stands.

As a born and bred Dee-Dah, I'm proud my home city hosts the "UK's biggest outdoor event for outdoor people". It's always been a cracking day or two out, despite that little wobble one year with terrible weather. Organised by Sheffield City Council in conjunction with Heason Events, the event now finds itself in its ninth year and long may it last. 

Of course, Cliffhanger's longevity comes down to the visitors and the event's sponsors, so it would be remiss not to mention them: Reward Health, XScape, Skydive Hibaldstowe, Haybrook, Heart and Decathlon. 

Right then... time to go buy some factor 50 sunscreen in anticipation. See you there!

All the essential information for Cliffhanger 2015

When: Saturday July 11 and Sunday July 12

Where: Millhouses Park, Sheffield

How Much: £6 for adults (free for under 16s accompanied by an adult). Discounted early bird tickets will be available to buy online from Friday 5th June for £5.

More info: