IFSC World Championships : GB Climbing Team 13 Members Competed, and Esme Hart Take a Bronze Medal

In the bouldering, Tomoa Narasaki (JAP) dazzled the crowds with his incredible coordination and strength, justly claiming his first World Championship title ahead of 2015 World Champion , Adam Ondra. It’s also worth mentioning that Tomoa is on a massive performance high after his success in the IFSC Boulder World Cup, where he finished first overall too.

In the ladies event a close fought final saw Swiss climber Petra Klinger taking the top spot on the podium. Clearly emotional and absolutely delighted, this showed an amazing turn of form from Klingler considering that she didn’t make the semi-finals just four weeks ago in Munich. Joining Petra on the podium, the two favourites going in to the event, Miho Nonaka (JAP) and Akiyo Noguchi (JAP).

In the lead event, Janja Garnbret (SLO) won her first World Championship title … cruising to victory as she topped her finals route. Anak Verhoeven (BEL) also topped her route, but was beaten on count-back. Mina Markovic (SLO) finishes her season, and her World Championship career, with a solid 3rd place. In the mens competition, Adam Ondra (CZE) was a clear winner, the only competitor to top the route ahead of everyone else – all despite competing every day of the week in bouldering and lead. Incredible.

Team GB were out at the event in force, with 13 athletes in total. Para-athlete, Esme Harte took the only medal for the British team at the event, a bronze medal in the AL2 category.

On the event, GB Paraclimbing Team Coach Robin O’Leary said:

“It’s been a great experience to round off the 2016 paraclimbing season. I have been really impressed with the individuals within the team and their performances. There is lots to work on for the 2017 season, but the future looks very bright indeed. Congratulations to all of the GB Team on a sterling performance.

For more information on the GB Team at the event, check out a day-by-day report below or visit the BMC Instagram feed for photo updates and moments with the #GBClimbingTeam

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Ty Landman, Nathan Phillips, Dave Barrans, Jim Pope

Tough conditions on a wall secluded away from the rest of the competition – the main competition wall saved for use only in the finals. Lots of big names missed the cut for the finals. The groups seemed pretty evenly split. Ty and Nathan climb incredibly well and qualify in the top 10. Dave just falls short of qualification after putting in an awesome effort. Jim Pope, in his first ever senior international, dropped the last move of one bloc coming oh-so-close to topping, crushes his final bloc of the competition in fine style (a bloc that many others couldn’t manage). Great potential for the future!

Womens Lead Qualifiers

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Molly Thompson-Smith

Molly comes out amongst a strong field and absolutely destroys her first route, cruising up the head wall and to the top. What a start! Falling high on the second route puts her in strong qualification position, 5th in her group, 11th overall. The crowd is AMAZING, so loud, and there are only a few hundred people in the building … the thousands that will be here later in the week will be a sight to behold!

Paraclimbing Qualifications

GB PARACLIMBING TEAM: John Churcher, Dave Bowes, Esme Harte, Phillip Mitchell, Martin Heald, Isabella Walsh

Dave Bowes (RP3) climbed incredibly well and topped his first route of the competition with ease, despite it being his first competition in over a year. Great start! Esme Hart (AL2) also topped her route despite some nerves along with Phillip Mitchell (AL2) topping his. Martin Heald (AL2) let his nerve get the better of him and popped off his route after using a foothold for his hand. Isabella Walsh (AU2) put in an incredible effort, despite her nerves and climbed so well slipping just short of the top. A special mention for John Churcher (B2), who had a technical nightmare…when his earpiece (used for his ‘coach’ to tell him where to climb and which holds to use) couldn’t be heard past 3 metres due to a fault. John still managed to climb almost 3/4 of the way up the route despite not being able to see the holds OR hear the beta. Amazing effort.


Mens Lead Qualifiers

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Will Bosi, Jim Pope, Dave Barrans

Will Bosi comes out first. Seemingly unfazed he pushes through the lower section of the wall and makes great progress into the steepest section … and then from nowhere, pop, he’s off. Great effort, but with nobody before him it’s hard to know what the rest of the field will do.

Jim Pope and Dave Barrans follow later in the field, both competitors are participating in the ‘overall’ competition, which means they’ll be doing all three disciplines. Both climbers look strong (as always) but don’t quite make the cut for the semi-finals. Psyched to see them in the Speed tomorrow! Jim says he happy with his performance and that he is excited for the Youth World Championships … so psyched that he is here at the seniors!

Womens Boulder Qualifiers

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Leah Crane, Michaela Tracy

Eyes on both climbers as Leah and Michaela compete simultaneously in opposite groups. Leah just misses out on the top of her first bloc, coming close but not enough, she flashes her second which hopefully will help her regain her rhythm. She’s SO close to topping third, and the fourth … but it just isn’t happening. Michaela climbed well, considering the break between this competition and her last one she was on great form, topping three blocs. It seemed like she needed a few goes to find her flow, but there was no doubt that when she topped it, she was as psyched as ever!

Paraclimbing Qualifications

GB PARACLIMBING TEAM: John Churcher, Dave Bowes, Esme Harte, Phillip Mitchell, Martin Heald, Isabella Walsh

John Churcher and GB Paraclimbing Team coach Robin O’leary devised a cunning plan on the fly to avoid the tech issues again and used a phone + handsfree to communicate of the climbing. Unfortunately John fell quite low on the route but had done enough to qualify for finals. Esme Harte put in another great climb after spotting potential difficulties when route-reading. She qualified for finals in 3rd position. Dave Bowes looked as confident as ever, his goal was to make the top 6 (top 4 qualify), he sat in wait in fourth position for a long while, waiting to see if he would make finals, but was bumped our at the last minute by a very strong French competitor. Phillip Mitchell climbed really well again on his second day of competing, unfortunately a ‘stopper’ move ended his competition for the week. A great attempt nonetheless. Isabella Walsh looked significantly calmer on her second day after getting the first route out of the way, she climbed really well and only narrowly missed out on finals.


Speed Qualifications

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Dave Barrans, Jim Pope

With both Jim and Dave competing in the overall, this would be their final event of the competition. Neither climbers are speed specialists ,- in fact this was the first speed comp Jim had eve competed in. Both guys climb fast, well they look fast to me, but finish at the bottom of the table. Competition over, but a brave effort and great overall. Highlight … Jim Pope psyching out a Russian who false started and then fell off. Don’t mess with Jim!

Para Finals

GB PARACLIMBING TEAM: Esme Harte John Churcher

Esme Harte and John Churcher lead us through to Para finals and Johh is out first. He climbs well, again using the mobile phone technique with Robin, but just misses out on a medal. Esme is in the final category to climb and gets halfway up her route, securing her a bronze medal! GB’s first of the competition.

Lead Womens Semi-finals

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Molly Thompson-Smith 

Molly climbs well through the hard lower moves and fights like a demon through the steepest section of the wall. Amazing effort for her first senior World Championship.

Mens Bouldering semi-finals

GB CLIMBING TEAM: Ty Landman, Nathan Phillips

Both Tyler and Nathan look strong on the first bloc, even though Tyler didn’t unlock the sequence he still powered through the moves very well indeed. Nathan came unbelievably close to topping, but just couldn’t quite finish. The rest of the set looked desperately hard. Tyler managed to get to the top of two other boulders, but sadly had ran out of time when he matched both times. Totally infuriating for him and really unfortunate. A technical issue with the clock on bloc four seemed to really put him off and he, along with Nathan, finished the comp very close to tops. Unfortunately no finals for either.


lead: 49th

bouldering: 29th
lead: 45th
speed: 53rd

bouldering: 51st

bouldering: 16th

bouldering: 17th

bouldering: 81st
lead: 57th
speed: 54th

bouldering: 39th

The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Berghaus, and the Arch Climbing Wall, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Birchall Blackburn Law. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.