Climb Newcastle News: ASBO 17 Report

Climb Newcastle News

Early in 2017 we made the decision to move back to a one day format for ASBO 17. Whilst ASBO 16 was a great event, spread over two days, it lacked the intensity of the simultaneous finals of previous years.

Our decision was justified on 12th May with our biggest ever turn out for an Annual Spring Boulder Open, and an electric final, even if the problems were a bit too tough!

220 t-shirts flew out on the day. Sorry! After leaving the centre at lunchtime, a message only 80 minutes in to say that we were running low on large t-shirts said it all, it was a rammed qualification from the start!

30 black problems were up for grabs; 300 points available. As has been the case for the past few years, some of Britain's strongest climbers turned out. In the female (remember we don't take into account age at ASBO) event, qualifiers Namoi Buys, Jen Wood, Rachel Carr and Michaela Tracy have all represented GB and posted big scores. Michaela, reigning champion of course, flashed 27, qualifying in first place.

In the male event, Peter Blair, Luke Murphy and Orrin Coley (you'll remember his 2016 antics of course!) were joined by local Adam Watson, who would later be a crowd favourite. It was tough going to qualify, with 281 to get through. There were great scores, including local youngsters Daniel Pull and Tim Blake, who just made the cut. Full results can be found here

Outside of the elite, great fun was had on an some challenging problems. Here's some random action:

Climb Newcastle News
Climb Newcastle News
Climb Newcastle News
Climb Newcastle News

At 8:30pm the qualifying competition closed and the setting team did their thing. It was a stessful evening, with Andy Porter missing from the team due to the wedding season. How dare somebody arrange a wedding on the same weekend as ASBO...?! At 9pm the competitors entered the arena with a lively crowd packed wall to wall.

Female 1 saw 4 tops. Naomi landing the big finishing move 3rd go, whilst Rachel, Jen and Michaela flashed.

Male 1 had been emergency tweaked to make the start frustratingly tricky. Sorry boys! Everyone got high to a two fingered pocket, Luke went a move further, making it to the bonus. But it was Orrin who calmly flashed the problem, which would ultimately make the difference. Here he goes...

Climb Newcastle News

The second problem for the women started with all 4 limbs within a few inches of each other, followed by a huge jump for a round volume. Rachel stuck the jump but just came short at the top. Jen (right) topped brilliantly, perfectly reading setter Suzan Dudink's sequence. Michaela flashed to the bonus, then struggled to figure out the finish, until finally throwing herself wildly to grab the finish hold, to the delight of the crowd and detriment to the blood pressure of her spotters...

By the time Andy Earl's problem 2 was through for the men, it was clear that the conditions were not great for holding on to terrible slopers. Luke again made bonus with a valiant attempt. Orrin got there too but could go no further.

Climb Newcastle News

Setter Chris Graham's job on the third problems is to bring the comp home in style with some spectacular problems. Spectacular they were, but also just a bit tough... the men started hanging on two pockets under the roof. A bit of sideways dynoing and horrific mantelling (see Watson’s face, left) led to some more awful slopers. As demonstrated the next morning by Chris, this was meant to involve some crushing and fancy footwork, but proved too much in the literal heat of the moment: Orrin came closest with the sequence; Watson technically was closer, touching the finish with a huge backward dyno!

Women's 3 involved some sideways jumping, up to a volume and then back down to a second, feet first. The move after proved powerful, but all 4 finalists made it to the bonus. Only Michaela went beyond, and was oh so close:

So Michaela Tracy and Orrin Coley were crowned ASBO 17 champions! The first defence of a title since Joanne Quinan in 2011, and a new name on the Climb Newcastle honours board. Thank you to all of our competitors, left to right below: (Chris Graham), Rachel Carr, Luke Murphy, Naomi Buys, Michaela Tracy, Orrin Coley, Adam Watson, Jen Wood, Peter Blair, (Suzan Dudink, Andy Earl).

Climb Newcastle News

Thanks must also go to the brilliant crowd. We've always wondered what would happen if we got the problems too hard. And now we know... it was great fun anyway!

If the night wasn't full of great memories already, to add to the nostalgia, the CN team announced news to follow soon (very soon now!) on a second centre. This will likely be the last ASBO held at the pool in Byker... onwards and upwards! More on that very soon...

Huge thank you to our competition sponsors and in particular Mark Savage for the brilliant photographs, which can be viewed on our Facebook page or in our gallery.

Thanks everyone!


Scarpa have designed manufactured and hand built the world's greatest outdoor footwear for over 70 years. Whatever climbing adventure you are embarking on Scarpa's range of modern rock climbing shoes offers everything fromall day comfort through to cutting edge precision. Whether you are interested in long mountain routes, long days at the crag or the most technical boulder problems in the world, Scarpa footwear gives you the edge.

Scarpa have a history of supporting local climbers as part of their Scarpa Team, in particular as their shoes are distributed locally from North Tyneside.

Mark Savage started out working in New York, Paris and London taking fashion photos, scouting for a model agency in London. After gaining a first class degree in Photography, and a Masters Degree he ended up working for five years as a lecturer in photography.Mark now runs his own photography business and does advertising, product, editorial, music, PR, some fashion work and has won the Fujifilm National Award.

Mark also used to climb a bit, with many first ascents up to E8. And he used to be a rock star.

Mark has been the official photographer of the ASBO since 2011, always brilliantly capturing the action!

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