Youth Climbing Series
Finals Round Up!

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Leading up to the event

We had the honour of hosting the Youth Climbing Series National Finals at Parthian Southampton. Over the past two months each region has competed in 4 rounds, two ropes and two bouldering. The UK is split into regions and the top three competitors from each region, for each age category, are invited to take part in the national final. Aila, from Southampton, and Katherine, Amelie and Daniel from Reading achieved a high enough rank to make the finals.

The whole week leading up to the final, the British Setting Team were busy setting and testing routes and boulders for the strongest competitors in the country. The BMC sent 5 boulder setters and 4 route setters, who worked hard all week. Getting the level right is very challenging –  separating and challenging the best, but ensuring that the competitors can show their best climbing across a variety of styles.

Crowds gather at Parthian Southampton to watch the final rounds of the Youth Climbing Series 2023


All categories had ropes one day and boulder the other, this was different for different categories. Aila is in category D, with routes on the first day. Aila climbed excellently, topping two of the four routes and getting a joint high point on route 3. Route 4 was graded 7b, on huge slopey holds, Aila got the overall high point falling two moves from the top. This meant that she was overall in first after the rope climbing round.

Category B boys had bouldering on the first day. After a very challenging two and a half hours, Dan had 4 tops and 7 zones, which meant he was in third place. The round was tough, with only one person achieving 5 tops.

Both Katherine and Amelie are in category A girls and had their bouldering round on the first day. They both performed well under the pressure of a national competition; Amelie topping 4 boulders and Katherine topping 3.



After an excellent day on ropes, Aila and the category D girls had 8 boulders to battle on day two. All categories get 8 boulders with 5 attempts each and two and a half hours to complete them. Category D girls showed us just how strong they are with two competitors getting 8 tops. Aila topped 7 boulders and just struggled to match the top hold on the last boulder. Aila finished the round with 7 tops and 8 zones – a very impressive score card which left her in 4th place for boulders. The overall podiums are decided by combining the ropes and boulder scores and rankings. Due to  working so hard in the ropes round and ranking highly in bouldering, Aila could not be overtaken and took 1st place.

Category B and A had routes on the second day.Dan got to show his best climbing topping one route and getting far up the further 3 routes, Dan got a joint high point on route 4. Securing himself a place on the podium in 3rd. After giving it everything on their routes, Katherine finished the weekend in tied 12th and Amelie in 16th. Results to be very proud of as even to qualify for the final is an extremely big achievement. Getting a podium at the national final is an incredible achievement and a huge congratulations to all the athletes.

Dan climbing his way to overall 3rd on his day of lead climbing at the Youth Climbing Series finals. Katherine making one of her final climbs in the Youth Climbing Series finals to place 12th overall. After a difficult ropes round, a determined Amelie powers her way to 16th in the Youth Climbing Series finals. An amazing achievement. Aila's strong performance in lead on Saturday meant her amazing boulder round on Sunday put her on the top spot on the podium!

Working the event

The BMC are mostly responsible for running the event: registering the participants, scoring, and coordinating judges and volunteers. Parthian staff were responsible for making sure there was a constant supply of tea, coffee and snacks for the BMC, volunteers, supporters, athletes, parents and setters. Paul’s burgers were a hit as always. Staff from Reading and Wandsworth came to help belaying on both days. This is a huge responsibility: ensuring maximum safety for the competition athletes, who were all trying to push beyond their maximum. This led to multiple clip drops which did not phase the excellent belayers.

I was coaching on the day: meaning I spent the time with Aila, ensuring she was well warmed up at the right time, had everything she needed and was staying in a super positive mindset. On the first day for the routes there was a running order and we read the routes between the climbs. On the second day for bouldering, I had to manage time; ensuring she was resting well between boulders but leaving enough time to attempt all boulders successfully in the time slot. After all the climbing was finished, we had half an hour to wait before the results were published. I knew Aila could have won but many other girls had performed excellently in bouldering. When the results were published, Aila was ecstatic! The weekend was great fun and it was a pleasure to be there supporting Aila.


Thank you!

After the successful completion of the whole weekend, the British setting team helped infill in both the bouldering area and the lead and top rope lines that were used for the competition. This meant that there was a huge amount of new climbing for everyone to enjoy. Many of the competitors have been back over the last week to try the routes again, along with the routes that were set for the other categories. Many thanks to the BMC, all the volunteers, staff and supporters for making the weekend such a success.

Written by Parthian Coach Judith Leutbecher


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