NEW Kids National Climbing Schemes: NICAS & NIBAS Jan dates


Here at Reading Climbing Centre, we are happy to announce that not only are we starting the new year with a new term of NICAS but also introducing our first set of dates of the new National Indoor Bouldering Scheme, NIBAS! As of September 2014, the Climbing Centre Group, including Reading, Manchester and Harrogate became one of the first centres to be Primary Centres of both NICAS & NIBAS!!!


The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) is a UK wide scheme designed to promote climbing development and accredit individual achievement on artificial climbing structures. It can be used as a starting point for people wishing to take up climbing and mountaineering. It is open to all candidates aged 7 and upwards.

To book online for the new NICAS Jan Term click here…


The National Indoor Bouldering Award Scheme (NIBAS) is a nationwide Scheme designed to provide a structured progression for complete novices through to experienced indoor boulderers. The Scheme focuses introducing new and young climbers to the skills associated with climbing on artificial climbing walls without the use of harnesses or ropes. It is open to candidates aged 7 and upwards.

To book online for the new NIBAS Jan Term click term…

Coaches Blog: BMC Junior Lead Cup 2015 Round 1

15724823610_7ff628b651_zArticle written by Tom Vaessen, RCC Manager and Coach, Photos by Paul Rose.

Last Saturday saw the first round of the newly formatted BMC Junior Lead Cup 2015 and GB Junior Lead Team selection held at Awesome Walls Sheffield. Due to the two elements of the event, the Lead Cup and Team selection, it was obvious to say the Reading Academy members were psyched to empress and put all those months of training into action, as well as RCC Catrin Rose back to retain her GB Team place. Needless to say it was all to play for.

The day started with a 10am intro from BMC Climbing Wall & Competition Officer Rob Adie, leading straight into the 2 qualification routes. From the get go we could see that world class setter Yann Genoux and the legendary Steve McClure had pulled out all the stops creating almost unreadable routes, thank goodness fro all our route reading practice :)

Myself and Will Hatt, the RCC coaches on the day, spend some time with the team reading through their routes and ensuring the team new their routes move for move, clip for clip and had those all important options when needed.

Our Lead Cup RCC Academy Team consisted off Sam, Joe and Ewan in Boys Category B, James in Boys Category C and finally Catrin in Girls Category B. Now, how would they do…?

The team did us proud. After a gruelling qualification round, three of the RCC Academy Team made it though to the finals. This would all come down to up to 8 competitors battling it out over one final route!

Up first was Joe in Boys Category B. His was faced by a tricky slightly of vert blue route with a mid way crux on two extremely rounded volumes. This crux sequence was just a bit too much for the majority of boys dropping the hard second match. After Joe’s great performance at his first Lead Cup, he came joint 4th, but due to count back finished in 7th.

Next up was James. Last year he came second in Boys Category C so his sights were set on a podium position. His final route was extremely bouldery on a single steps wall, with a mixture of high steps, extremely bad crimps leading to two cruxs. The first of which involved a hard move over the lip of an awkward off balanced volume, then leading to a corner section with what can only be described as bad foot holds for hands :/ James gave it his all but after a slight stutter at the first crux he just couldn’t make the dynamic move over the lip. He however due to his great performance he secured a 3rd place podium position.

Finally for RCC was Catrin in Girls Category B. Her final was a very pumpy overhung line with a mid way double undercut move that spat a lot of the girls off! I am happy to say however not Catrin, she was extremely composed and found a sequence that suited her style. She managed to push through giving her best climb of the day, gaining her 1st place and securing her GB Junior Lead Team place for 2015.

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All in all a great day, great performances including 2 RCC podiums, 1 MCC podium and 2 GB Junior Lead Team members places retained for 2015 including Catrin Rose and Aiden Dunne. For full results of the Lead Cup, Team selection and the BMC report please click here…

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Coaches Blog: WBL Round 2 – The Results

Article and Photos by RCC Coaches Danny Haynes

WBL Round 2 (3)With 6pm arriving sooner than foreseen, the Round 2 Winter Bouldering League was on, with competitors keen to bring their A game… With La Sportiva and Petzl, (courtesy of Lyon Equipment) on hand, casing boot demos and equipment demonstrations the night was set to be a cracker.

The night kicked off with competitors eagerly walking round the blocs, looking for those all important flash attempts. The easier grades were looking to be very droppable, so the categories were in for a slight mix up; Yann and Evie had brought a unique style this round with a well rounded set of problems. Throughout the evening we saw great attempts on the funkier looking blocs, as well as some great encouragement/ heckling from the crowds!

Petzl Neil Gresham WBL R2 (2)

With the evening rounded off with a great demonstration from Neil Gresham and Roger from Lyon Equipment, on dynamic belaying, the route climbers got something out of the night as well!  A great evening all round and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

WBL Round 2 Results are now available here…..

Don’t forget Round 3 is now the 29th January 2015, so come on in and get training to keep the psyche through December - happy training everyone!



Petzl Lead Climbing Championships – The Results

A massive thank you to everyone for attending, it was a great day and we hope you all enjoyed!

From the start the day was set to be a great event, competitors gave it their all with every Final coming down to the final points! Veteran Males even forced a Super Final!!!

Congratulations to all our finalists.

For the final results please click here, please note that results are based off of Final climbs, any ties then went to count back, then time.

The Qualification routes and Final routes will be up until the new year so make sure you get down in the next few month to tick of those projects…

Keep an eye out on our blog page of the website for our Coaches blog on the event coming next week….

Male Open FinalJames Petzl




Petzl Finalists

Coaches Blog: RCC Academy at the Welsh Climbing Championships 2014

Article written by Tom Vaessen, RCC Manager and Coach, Photos by Tom Vaessen and Paul Rose.RCC Academy 2014

With the winter nights drawing in and the competition session well and truly underway, the last few months have seen the RCCAcademy preparing with hours of competition preparation training. With sterling performances at the BMC British Lead Climbing Championships and RCC’s very own Winter Bouldering League Round 1, our attention turned to the Welsh Climbing Championships and the Climbing Centre Groups Petzl Lead Climbing Championship.

First up, the Welsh Climbing Championships at Boulders Cardiff. It was an early start Saturday morning, but with a BBC Radio 1 shout out showing support for the RCC Academy, the drive went quick and before we knew it we arrived at Boulders!

9am came, and after registration the team joined for a group briefing with myself. With 2 of the RCC Academy returning to retain their championship titles, plus a further 7 members all wanting a piece of the action, psyche was high! With only an hour until comp kick off, it was time to put all those hours of route reading into practice! The team split into their categories and set off to find their routes. As a coach of over 10 years, I have to say I have never seen a group of kids work so well together to not only ensure they saw every hold, every move, every clip and every rest but they supported each other and their confidence just grew! Once they had discussed every element of their routes, including sequence options, clipping positions etc, it was time for me to have one last run through. The layout of the day was as follows, each competitor had 3 qualification routes to attempt. After these the top 10 go through to the Semi Finals where they have 5 minutes to view their routes as a group. After this they are sent to isolation, to then 1 by 1 try their route. The top 5 competitors from the semis then progress to the finals! Then it’s all down to the final route!!!! Scores work by each hold getting a point, then additional points for move off of, and then touching the next hold i.e. each hold is worth 3 points. Topping the route for bottom rope, or clipping the chain for lead climbs, gains competitors the full 100 points..

Welsh Open HarryWelsh Open SamWelsh Open Saviley  Welsh Open Tom

Qualifications up first and reigning champion and GB Junior Team member, Catrin Rose was up for girl’s category B. As always Catrin was calm, collected and knew exactly what to do! She completed route 1 without breaking a sweat! Next up was boys’ category B, and this saw Ewan, Joe and Sam follow suit with 3 awesome first climbs. Boys’ category C was a really exciting group for RCC. James Bateman, as Catrin, was returning to retain his title, plus Tom Wenzcek was making his first ever non RCC major climbing competition appearance and boy were these two psyched. Again, all the hours of training paid of and route 1 was completed by James, with Tom just missing out dropping the penultimate move. At this point I took Tom to one side to discuss his climb, see how he was feeling and to remind him, that yes he had dropped a few points, but he had to compose himself, think there where still two other routes left, and the semi finals were still within reach! Tom did exactly that, went grabbed a drink and off he went to route 2. In the mean time our last 3 competitors were up. All in category D, Saveliy, Harry and Molly started their 1st route. Saveliy and Harry up first and they didn’t disappoint again solid climbs both gaining a comfortable 100 points. Molly, Harry’s, sister was a 1 day guest of the RCC Academy, taking part in her first ever competition! She did amazingly, after spending a bit of time figuring out the crux, she just missed out on full points by a tricky top section. So route 1s down, great efforts, time to turn the attention to routes 2 & 3. Again, I couldn’t have asked for more. All members gave it their all, and just to mention few climbs, Joe, Ewan and Sams ascents of route 2, was amazing. Joe was first in his category, and with great route reading and team work all 3 boys completed. Sam was last up out of the three and with 50% of the moves being max span for him, it just goes to show no move is too big!

Welsh Open Joe

Qualis completed and I was proud to see that 6 of the team members had made semi finals! Catrin, Joe, Ewan, James, Tom and Saveliy had minutes to compose themselves, read theirs routes and then get to isolation! If you’ve never experienced competition isolation, it is intense. You can hear everything, but never sure as to wants happened, did the previous climber top, do you have to send to reach the finals and even worse, when it is your time to climb, it’s all eyes on you! The team how ever did….. well, I can’t think of another word, amazing!

Joe and Ewan unfortunately had a long wait, after 15 reached the semi finals, the day had dragged on and the competition was fierce! Both gave great performances on the comp wall but just missed out on reaching the finals. Saveliy had a similar story, a mid height ‘round the clock’ sequence confused so many, and meant he also just missed out. Tom, bearing in mind it was one of his first ever comps, was up first for his category. When we first read the route we were concerned as to the reach of a low section sequence so a few options were given to Tom. Well… he did need it, from his first step off the ground, every move was considered yet assertive and the first section of the route, he flew up. After completing the crux, Tom was faced by a move, were the setters had forced a tricky cross over, making the climbers trust their feet on a slopped volume. This was a reach too far for Tom, not quite trusting his feet, the move was just out of reach. It was then down to where the rest of his category would get. James, up next for boys C, and he showed why he was reining champ giving an almost flawless performance topping his semi route. I am also happy to say that after all boys C had completed, and I was grabbing time for a coffee, when I was greeted by a gleaming Tom, screaming at the top of his Lungs, ‘I’ve made the finals!!!’ Catrin, although having a fall right at the top of her route, also made finals but was joint first meaning it was going to be a very close one!

Welsh Open Catrin

Welsh Open JamesWhen the finals came, Catrin was up last in her category. We had already seen 3 girls top the route, meaning she would have to top, to be in with a chance to win! When I say she cruised her route, I mean that in the 4 years I have coached her, I have never seen her so relaxed yet when needed just turn the switch, a true comp climber and worthy of her GB place. Unfortunately, as 1 other competitor had matched her climbs, she was tied at joint 1st place meaning there would be a super final between the two girls, and boy did the route looked tough!

It was a tough final, with powerful moves from the start saw so many drops in the first few clips. However I’m happy to say that RCC saw its 2 reigning champions retain their titles and for first time Welsh Climbing Championship competitor, Tom came 5th!

A great day all round. A huge thanks to the Boulders team for running a great event, to all the academy members for giving it their all and lastly all the academy parents for their on going support and dedication.

Well, it’s officially the longest blog yet, but as you can see lots to write about and I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it J

Next on the calendar, Petzl Lead Climbing Championships; 22nd Nov 2014 and Winter Bouldering League Round 2; 27th Nov 2014.

Happy climbing

Picture courtesy of Helen Bateman, a very proud mum, 3 years in a row :)

Catrin & James