Its now less than a year to go until climbing gains the prestigious title of an Olympic sport, so we thought we’d better get ourselves wised up on how competition climbing works!

At the Olympics there is only one medal set up for grabs so athletes must compete in a combination of disciplines consisting of; speed, lead and bouldering. Each one is scored slightly differently, so let’s break it all down:

The clues in the name; athletes aim to climb a set route in the shortest time possible racing head-to-head. The route always has the same holds in exactly the same position, so they get to practice it to perfection!

Using a safety rope and harness, athletes must climb as far up a 15 – 20m wall as possible within a time limit. The athlete only gets one attempt – if they fall their attempt is over.

The height is determined by the last hold held with control. This will give athletes an ‘S’ score, however, if they start the move to the next hold, the judges may give them an ‘S+’ score.

If two athletes get the same score their positions will be determined bytime.

Bouldering is the style we love at substation! The walls are shorter and instead of ropes there are large mats.

There are several problems and athletes aim to reach the top of as many as possible in as few attempts as possible. If they do not reach the top, they can still score a point by reaching a ‘zone’ hold.

Scoring for bouldering can get a bit more complicated. Rankings are calculated in the following order;

  1. Number of Tops
  2. Number of Zones
  3. Number of attempts needed to reach Tops
  4. Number of attempts needed to reach Zones

So how are the scores combined?
To work out combined ranks, the rankings from each discipline are multiplied for each athlete, and the athlete with the lowest score wins. For example, an athlete that comes 5th in speed, 1st in bouldering and 2nd in lead would have a score of 10 (5x1x2), whereas an athlete that comes 3rd in speed 2nd in bouldering and 3rd in lead would have a score of 18 (3x2x3). So, the first athlete would be ranked higher than the second as 10 is lower than 18.

The scoring can all get a bit complicated, but don’t worry in our Submission competition scoring is a bit simpler and a lot more relaxed. So, if you fancy testing yourself on the bouldering wall come down and have a go! Round 2 ends on 17th Septembet.