At 16 year’s old Reach member Matthew Phillips is one of the World’s best Paraclimber’s in his category. As well as getting to this level in just over 3 short years paraclimbing has also changed his life. Once a shy and not very sociable young teen he has become a confident, social young man with a large group of friends from all over the world. This change has largely been down to the climbing community.
Climbing was thrust into the limelight this year with the inclusion of it in the Olympics 2020 and the growing main stream profile of World Bouldering Champion British Shauna Coxsey. Paraclimbing is growing but needs more focus and more competitors.
Paraclimbing can be enjoyed by everyone, whatever the disability, it’s a great way to gain confidence, fitness and strength. The climbing community is a very supportive community with no shortage of fellow climbers to encourage you and offer advice. You can be guaranteed a friendly welcome at your local climbing centre and the competition circuit.
Every year the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) run a national competition series, the BMC Paraclimbing Series to find the British Champion in each disability category. There are 4 rounds and each have their own podium ceremony. There is also an overall series winner for each category (subject to minimum number of competitors in each category). The events are held in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Newcastle. The competition is open to everyone regardless of climbing experience. In fact Matthew entered his first Paraclimbing Series with no climbing experience and came 2nd. Last year 14-year-old Lily entered the Newcastle round after being spotted at a taster session with no real climbing experience and walked away with a Silver medal. This year she will be competing in all four rounds and is looking to be one of the rising stars of the future. There really is a change for everyone.
The Paraclimbing Series is also the event from which the GB Paraclimbing Team is selected after the final round in December. Those lucky enough to be invited on to the GB Team will present their country at international competitions. Venues this year include France, Austria, UK and India.
So if you are an experienced paraclimber or just done a few tasters but enjoyed it why not enter this year’s series. Dates and links to the BMC are detailed below.
Round 1 – Sat 9 Sep 2017, Edinburgh International Climbing Arena
Round 2 – Tue 17 Oct 2017, Castle Climbing Centre, London
Round 3 – Sat 11 Nov 2017, Manchester Climbing Centre
Round 4 – Sat 9 Dec 2017, Newcastle Climbing Centre
BMC Competition Calendar – https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-competitions-calendar?s=1
BMC Competitions Latest News Pages (Where opening of Registration will be announced) – https://www.thebmc.co.uk/articles/Indoor%20Climbing/Competitions
Matthew Phillips – GB Paraclimber – www.matthewphillips.me.uk Twitter: @Matthew_GCSC Facebook @MattParaclimber Instagram : @matthew_paraclimbing