BIFF 2016: Where the men commit and the women are fit

Beastmaker International Footless Festival

I love climbing.  I honestly, really do.  Not as much as I love my kids of course, but then there are 2 of them so they’ve got a double score.

Last night summed it up perfectly.  An event that showed off the sport in the most perfect way: strength, fancy dress, friends, charity and beers.  All proceeds went to Climbers Against Cancer – we spent the night selflessly drinking to help others.

The beasts of BIFF arrived in their numbers … willingly!  Even though it was going to hurt.  Even though it was slightly crazy.  Even though they had to climb everything without using their feet.

Oh yes, sorry, I forgot to mention the whole premise of the competition.  They had to climb all of the problems, over the course of three hours, JUST using their hands.

The below video shows the eventual winner (Jim Pope) attempting the black problem.  Funnily enough, the huge double dyno at the start was the ‘easy’ part.  I’m not sure if anyone completed this on the night, but this was the best crack at it we saw …

There were 15 of these problems on the overhanging comp wall.  On the right of the video you can see somebody attempting another one, where you had to finish almost above the crowd, on holds suspended from the ceiling

That wasn’t enough for these boys and girls though.  Barely tough enough for them to break sweat.  Luckily for them, the organisers were looking for more of an all rounder, so they’d added a series of other challenges as well …

I’d love to be in the brainstorming session for this event …

“How about we suspend a fridge from the ceiling.”

“That’s ridiculous!  It won’t work!  Ned, write it down, it’s perfect!”

Next there was the sloper challenge.  There’s not a ridge in sight on this wooden box.  I’d tell you how they held on, but I don’t think I know …

 

To top it off, there was also a 30 hold route under and up the skips, where the competitors monkeyed their way to the very end.  All with a smile on their faces, pushing through the pain.  Oh, and one guy did it wearing a sumo outfit …

Here’s GB Team member Leah Crane cracking the other route …

And then it was onto the final.  Last man and woman standing.  Well, hanging actually.  They weren’t allowed to stand.

The rig had been hiding under a big sheet.  But now it was unveiled to us.  Some sort of spit roast device, where the climbers had to hang on to a tiny wooden board, as the machine turned and the hang got steeper.  Personally I was surprised they hadn’t set fire to the floor, I don’t think anyone would have blinked if they had.

And so another great night at the Climbing Works finished.  More idols had been made.  More inspiration had been exhibited.  More beer had been drunk.

We’d watched the agony.  We’d watched the strain.  We’d watched the torment … God I’d love to be in it one day!

At the end of the night we had a quick go on the easiest problem.  Joe nailed it.  I failed.  Beer and climbing just didn’t mix for me!  Time to up the Beasts sessions, maybe we’ll aim for the 2020 event.  Maybe see you there …

 

 

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Author of the Sixty Minute Reads series. 60 minutes, 60 chapters. AMAZON UK AMAZON USA

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