Cliffhanger: Climbing, Orienteering & Beer Festival!

Type Cliffhanger into Google and you will be bombarded by a whole load of Sylvester Stallone. That?s about to change! Sheffield City Council and Heason Events have done what many have talked of doing and are organising the mother of all outdoor climbing festivals. And they?ve gone and called it Cliffhanger!It?s to be held in Sheffield?s largest green space, Graves Park, in the South West corner of the city (incidentally the greenest city in Europe). The weekend of the 14th and 15th of July, just before the schools break up, but smack in the middle of summer is the chosen date. Yes, it?s a two day event, starting at 10.30 and finishing at 18.30 each day.So what?s the big deal? Why come along? It?s liable to be big! Council events can bring in audiences of 10,000 people a day, significantly more if the weather is good. They?ve teamed up with Heason Events to get some specialist knowledge of the outdoor industry, with a particular emphasis on climbing. Did you know that 1/3 of the Peak District lies within the boundaries of Sheffield? It?s widely held that parts of Sheffield have the highest density of climbers in the world so it?s a breath of fresh air to see the local council embracing this. OK, what?s in it for climbers? The coup d?etat is the British Bouldering Championships. Normally held indoors over three weekends in Spring the BMC decided to use Cliffhanger to bring bouldering to the masses! The purpose built wall will be 24 metres wide, 5 metres high and held in a giant open sided marquee to keep off the rain.There will be room for a thousand people inside, but if that?s not enough there will be a big screen outside too. The wall is being built by Percy Bishton and Andy Long who built the Climbing Works, the world?s largest dedicated bouldering wall which is literally just down the road. The Climbing Works will also be loaning a load of their mats and manager Sam Whittaker will be DJ?ing at the event. planetFear will of course be there with bells on. We?ll be organising an Official Guinness World Dyno competition with a whacking great £1,000 up for grabs. Anybody will be able to enter at the event, with the final and the prize money up for grabs on the Sunday afternoon. There will be three come and try it walls ? a top roping tower, a bouldering wall and a rock?n?roll. All will be free. CragX will be holding a pull up competition. There will also be a high ropes course in the trees and a high slackline.

Edyta Ropek. Photo courtesy of Alex Messenger / BMC

planetFear Orienteering Ultra Sprint Competition Sheffield is also the epicentre of British orienteering with most of the countries top orienteers living amongst the climbers of Sheffield. So, if you are into more than just climbing then there?s an orienteering ultra sprint, also organised by planetFear at Cliffhanger. This will be the most intense orienteering experience ever seen in the UK and the first ever UK Ultra Sprint! Based on the Orient-Show concept developed in Russia and France the races will start and finish into an intricate ´labyrinth´ (built from 150 2.5m crash barriers!) in full view of the commentary team and spectators.Courses will be between 400-800m in length on a 1:1000 map so everything will happen very quickly! Whoever deals with the technical and physical demands the best will walk away with a share of the massive £500 prize fund from planetFear.The winners will be decided over a series of head-to-head knockout rounds on Saturday 14th July, and everyone will get the chance to race four times to decide the final placings. A super final will take place in which the top-ranked male goes head-to-head with the top-ranked female to decide the ultimate ultra sprint champion!To enter, please email your name, age class and SI number to no later than 5th July. Cost £5 payable in the SYO tent on the day. Free for juniors. More details on Please note that SYO needs helpers for this event! If you can help, please contact Brian Shaw: as soon as possible. Helpers get free entry to the race and to Cliffhanger.Anyone visiting Cliffhanger will be able to ´have-a-go´ on the same course that the elite orienteers compete on to test their running and navigation skills against the best. Kids enter free, £2 for adults.

Pippa Whitehouse at the 2007 JK Sprint. Photo: Tim Britton Neil Northrop at the 2007 JK Sprint. Photo: Tim Britton

There will be a scuba diving pool, white knuckle rides, mountain bike demonstrations, a caving obstacle course and squeeze-board, a film and lecture tent (featuring Al Hinkes, Ian Parnell, Jim Curran and Adam Long, films for kids, Set in Stone, E11 and more). Keith Sharples will also be giving a talk as well as a free photography masterclass (check the website for details of how to sign up). planetFear will also be there offering bargains and there will be an open market and an Alpine Beer Festival – climbing & beer, does it get any better?If that?s not enough, go check out the Cliffhanger website for all the stuff not mentioned! You can also download a 2Mb PDF programme of the event. Let?s hope they get some better weather than of late! For anybody wanting to share lifts to the event check out Roadchums