BMC Leading Ladder Starts. Too Elitist?

by Mick Ryan Each winter many climbing walls in the UK hold bouldering ladders. These are informal competitions where circuits of bouldering problems are set, usually grade banded, and climbers purchase a scorecard and over several visits try to complete all the problems. Some ladders have circuits for kids where the problems are not reach dependent. After each round the scores are totted up, the results put on a notice board and the next round begins. When the days begin to get longer the overall and category winners are announced and prizes given. It´s a great way to get fit, have good social climbing fun, and for some it gives a reason to go down the wall – to attempt those problems that elude you. Based on this concept the BMC have created a Leading Ladder that starting now, is being held at several climbing walls across the UK. See the venues and dates here Six routes are being set at each venue: F6b, F6c, F7a, F7b, F7c and F8a. You purchase a scorecard for £1 paid to the venue (plus wall entry fee) and you attempt to climb the routes and get points for each route you succeed on, you get more points if you do the routes first go. Each wall will host the routes for two weeks. Then in March your top three scores in the series will be added together and the highest combined scores qualify for a Grand Final (date to be announced). Full rules here: and You can, if you so wish go to each climbing wall and attempt their routes, a climbing wall winter road trip, a great way not just to get route fit and enjoy the challenge but also a great way to see other walls that you wouldn´t normally visit. However noises are being made about the elitist nature of this leading ladder. Many peoples top grade is below F6b.In fact the majority of the routes in the leading ladder are 6c and harder, which will virtually eliminate most of the climbers in the country from having a go.If this is to be a true grassroots event, and not just a selection procedure to find new talent, the route standard needs to be dropped to include F4, F5 and F6a routes, with maybe routes specifically set for kids. This would open the BMC Leading Ladder up to the majority of climbers in the UK. The BMC leading ladder has already begun at Swansea´s Dynamic Rock.