Slabfest 2023 Round – Up

It was a crisp and frosty Saturday morning and a snoozy Lancaster was stirring. Hard at work, the LancasterWall team was putting the finishing touches on the highly anticipated comp debut of Slabfest.

From half past 8 competitors started to arrive, eager to register and give the initial 23 blocs a good battle, 3 of which were bonus ‘no hands’ based problems for a little extra spice. The centre’s doors opened to a gathering of down jacket and beanie-clad bouldering beauties, rewarded for their patience with exclusive Slabfest T-shirts to the first 100 participants. Once bestowed with their new Slabtastic garments, they were off! 9am passed and the first groups of climbers began their much needed warm-ups and initial ascents. The climbs in question were handcrafted creations designed by the legendary Lakeland Climbing Centres Setters. A huge thank you to the colossal effort put in by Ben Roe, Grace Culling, Matt Pawson, Cal Amos and Jos Carrick, who were the heart and soul of this competition. No easy feat to create boulders for all body shapes across an age range of 7- 45+ and make it remain fair and competitive!

2pm and the initial competition is over for the Junior and Veteran categories. But for the senior category qualifiers, it was only just beginning! A massive congratulations to all but especially our Junior competition winners; Emily Chan in First, Keiran Lee in Second and Bert Harris in Third. Not forgetting our Veteran competition winners; Matt Leigh in First, Gavin Macrae in Second and Andy Marshall in Third. A very well done to you folks.

In the brief calm before the final at 3:30pm, the Slabfestivities began! Starting off the right way with free Dominoes pizza and stalls from Dirtbags climbing, RWC Gear Repair, Built To Send and Climbers against Cancer. Providing the chance for perfect secret Santa and climber Christmas gifts! The fun didn’t stop there, with several workshops led by coaches Sally Lisle, Neil Gresham and our resident Physio, Andy McVittie, there was plenty to be on with!

Slabfest 2023 Senior Final

The final! Populated by the top 10 most technical climbing triumphs from the Senior category. Thea Cameron, Neil Mawson, Stuart Walker, Elizabeth Goldsbrough, Holly Wilson, Winnie Lea, Molly Oliver, Mike Lea, Kyle Spark and Tszyau Lok. 4 boulders, 5 minutes a bloc. Boulder one claimed many victims, faith in your feet seemed to be the only thing to keep you on the wall, topped by only one of our 10 hopefuls. Boulder two, a dynamic running start, highly droppable, requiring commitment and coordination. Boulder three, more sustained and technical, requiring twists and turns, precise feet and body positioning, granting a top to those that battled through. Finally, boulder 4. A knee bar scrunched start followed by a delicate finish, for some competitors, was the perfect way to round out the final boulders of the day. But who had been triumphant?

Drum roll please.

Our senior final podium…

1st. Neil Mawson – 3T 4Z 4 7

2nd. Thea Cameron – 3T 4Z 4 13

3rd. Holly Wilson – 3T 3Z 3 3

A super tight podium, only attempts to zone split first and second place, a truly noble effort by all of those in the final but a huge congratulations to our Senior Final podium winners! The Slabbiest Slab Climbers in the North West.

Here’s what they had to say about Slabfest 2023 at LancasterWall.

“It’s been a great day, lots of Techy Slabs. Very Outdoorsy style, so it suited me quite well. I’d love to do it again. When they’re doing it again next year it’s a good one to come to for sure.” – Neil Mawson

“The whole day’s been really really good, the setting has been really cool and versatile – quite outdoorsy. Just really fun!” – Thea Cameron

“A brilliant day, thoroughly enjoyed myself throughout. Great setting, nice vibe and just fun all round. Thanks to all the staff involved.” – Holly Wilson

To round off, we can’t thank our climbing community enough for embracing and enjoying our newest competition and we cannot wait for what next year will bring. We hope to see you there, bring on 2024!