(Jacob Rumans) #1

12 may–jun 2020

Under the influence of the two long-
standing and masterful setters, Ian
Vickers and Jamie Cassidy, the Plywood
Masters has gained something of a
reputation for blocs of a certain style
i.e. relatively basic moves frequently
requiring the use of the crimp. In their
own words: “With Ian and Jamie setting,
this event has become renowned for
its basic pulling and outdoor style of
problems that you just don’t find at
other climbing competitions.”
The women’s podium places at
PWM 2018 and 2019 were taken by
Hannah Slaney (1st), Jen Wood (2nd)
and Holly Toothill (3rd). Remarkably, that
was also the result for this year. Hannah
Slaney turned on the style and power
and promptly flashed all four blocs in a
totally solid, unmatched performance.
Holy Toothill, the 2019 British Bouldering
Champion, must have thought she was
in with a chance of usurping Hannah
when she finished the semis in top place

but it wasn’t to be. In the end, both Jen
and Holly, finished in second and third
place respectively, flashed two blocs
apiece, did a third bloc on their second
attempt and failed to top a fourth. Jen,
however, took second place ahead of
Holly by picking up an additional Zone.
Fourth-placed Frances Bensley was only
a smidgen behind Holly.
For the men’s, a plethora of young guns
had once again gathered determined to
challenge for the top spots. Amongst
their number was Jim Pope. Somewhat
remarkably, Jim proceeded to blast the
qualification round taking just 45
minutes of the allotted three hours to
do all 30 blocs. Following a pretty savage
semi-final, M3 and M4 were especially
powerful and crimpy, the final tested all
the male finalists in different measure.
All four of the blocs were flashed and
all saw multiple tops by the finalists.
However, M2 – a tricky slab with a
co-ordination start – was the most decisive.

Impressively it was flashed by Hamish
McArthur but half the field were
stumped by it, despite taking multiple
attempts. Those of a grit/sandstone
persuasion were thankful for M4;
a jamming crack. Interestingly, whilst
it was flashed by half the finalists the
other finalists made little impression
on it. It’s somewhat hard to fathom
that given the current ‘Crack is Back’
movement that competitors haven’t
learnt to jam better.
Interestingly it seems that the men
in particular are ‘gifted’ the jam cracks
in climbing comps. The women have
escaped unscathed, for now, but it can
only be a matter of time before they too
are tested out. Stomping to victory Jim
Pope commented that the crack was:
“About E3 – maybe?” Maximillian Milne
come in second and Matt Cousins came
third. Incidentally, all three podium
places went to climbers that flashed
the crack; just saying. n


indoor climber2020 PLYWOOD MASTERS Keith Sharples reports

Maximillian Milne gets stuck
in on the crack problem.
Photo: Keith Sharples

Jim Pope and Hannah Slaney took the top spots in the fiercely competitive but super-

friendly 2020 Plywood Masters annual bouldering competition at Boulder UK in Preston.

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