Clitheroe climber Connor retains British title and stuns seniors!

Connor Byrne takes on the daunting competition wall in Sheffield
Connor Byrne takes on the daunting competition wall in Sheffield

Clitheroe’s Connor Byrne had a fantastic weekend at the British Lead Climbing Championship – the premier lead event in the UK, held at the new Awesome Walls venue in Sheffield last weekend.

Competing at the new national training centre, on the Saturday the 17-year-old was in action in his own age group against other members of the GB team and three of the Irish team, along with other UK climbers.

The event is part of the selection process for the GB team.

All the climbers topped the first vertical route, so the pressure was on to top the second route, which was on the massive overhanging competition wall.

Only Connor and one other GB team member topped this route, so he qualified into the finals in joint first place.

The top six climbers qualified for the final, which was again up the massive overhanging competition wall.

Connor put a strong and technical performance in, which put him in first place, retaining his BLCC title for Youth A.

The next day he competed in the Senior British Lead Climbing Championship, although he will not be in the senior age category for two more years.

There was a wonderful mix of climbers on the start list, from the defending champion to a number of really serious professional climbers, a Canadian climber and a host of youths, including the Irish team.

A top 10 finish earned a place in the final, which was Connor’s aim.

After dispatching the crimpy slightly off vertical route with a top, it was on to the second, horrible route, which only saw one top.

He had qualified in fifth into the final!

Connor said: “It was pretty daunting to be in isolation with the professionals.

“A quick look at the route and finally out to climb it, right up the middle of the main competition wall, a really challenge but fun route. I was pretty pleased with my efforts getting well above half way into the finals!”

To his utter amazemen,t he found himself in third place and on the podium!

On the back of his recent excellent performances, Connor has been offered a place on the Senior Lead Climbing Team, the first Youth A to be invited.

He will be representing GB at a Senior World Cup event in Kranj, Slovenia in November.