Toothill and MacDougall crowned British Bouldering Champions 2023
- Tuesday 4th July 2023
Holly Toothill and Jack MacDougall won the 2023 British Bouldering Championships at Devonshire Green, Sheffield over the first weekend in July.
With many of the GB Climbing team away on overseas duty at the Lead IFSC World Cups, the field was perhaps a little more open than usual. Nevertheless, over one hundred competitors rocked up for the 2023 British Bouldering Championship keen to measure themselves against the fiendishly difficult concoctions served up by the setting team. At the end of Saturday’s qualification round, Holly Toohill and Dayan Akhtar finished in the lead. By Sunday lunchtime the semi-finals had been wrapped up the top spots had changed in favour of Thea Cameron and Sam Butterworth. Going forward into the finals was a mix of climbers, some with recent World Cup Boulder experience under their belt and inevitably, some without.
Holly Toothill and Jen Wood came out of the blocks charging; Holly flashed W1 and Jen got it on her second attempt. W2 started with a short but testing little finger-jamming crack; the crux however lay above and although a number of the finalists hit the finishing hold none were able to get the top in control. W3 was the slab; that had three tops but only Holly managed to climb it on her first attempt.
With one bloc to go Holly was in a strong position – a top on W4 would see her lift the women’s title. Starting with a sideways dyno W4 proved a battle for all the finalists. No one did it quickly or with ease and whilst five finalists did top out it was an exciting, nail-biting finish. In the end, Holly managed W4 on her sixth attempt and that was enough to give her the 2023 championship win – her second title having won previously in 2020.
Completing the podium were Eugenie Robinson Lee and Louise Flockhart; finishing in 2nd and 3rd respectively both collected two top and all four zones on the way. The remaining three finalists Jen Wood, Thea Cameron and Gwyneth Uttley fought hard and finished in 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.
The men’s final got off to a belting start thanks to some flamboyant setting on M1. Not unusually, M1 contained a whole bag of dynamic moves starting with a full-on stand-up/dyno followed immediately by a roll-over dyno to get the first holds on the finishing sequence. Having been at a number of World Cup Boulder events this year both Jack McDougall and Dayan Akhtar made quick and easy work of this flashing it seemingly quite comfortably.
Sam Butterworth got it on his second attempt whilst further quick tops followed from Aiden Dunne (3rd go) and Jamie Jenkins (4th go). As with W2 no one topped M2 in the men’s. M3 and M4 also featured dynamic moves. Jack, Sam and Dayan all flashed M3 and Aiden topped on his third attempt.
With just M4 remaining, Jack and Dayan had two flashes but Jack held a slight lead thanks to a quick zone on M2; Sam was very close behind in third so very much still in contention. Knowing full well the importance of the final bloc both Jack and Sam topped M4 on their first attempt. Dayan also topped M4 but was on his third go. In one of the closest finishes for a while, Jack MacDougall had taken the 2023 title ahead of Sam Butterworth and Dayan Akhtar who finished in second and third respectively; all had three tops and four zones – only the number of attempts separated them.
Although Jack had previously won the British Lead title, impressively, it was his first ever time competing at the British Bouldering Championships. Aiden Dunne and Jamie Jenkins finished fourth and fifth respectively. Strongman Tyler Landman, the sixth finalist and a name that is synonymous with the very hardest of boulders in the relatively recent past, was noticeably very frustrated by the dynamic style of the blocs in the final. He left the mats shaking his head after battling hard but being shut down. Although Tyler Landman is clearly still very strong it was an illustration of how the style of setting has shifted at boulder competitions today.
1. Jack MacDougall
2. Sam Butterworth
3. Dayan Akhtar
4. Aiden Dunne
5. Jamie Jenkins
6. Tyler Landman
1. Holly Toothill
2. Eugenie Robinson Lee
3. Louise Flockhart
4. Jen Wood
5. Thea Cameron
6. Gwyneth Uttley
Watch the final below and click here for the full results...