Plywood Masters

Plywood masters returns in 2020 and will be bigger and better than ever meaning there will be changes to the format, these are outlined below


The format for the Senior Plywood Masters is changing in 2020. Plywood Masters will be held over 2 days on 22nd and 23rd February. There will be 2 qualification sessions on Saturday, followed by a semi-final and final on Sunday.

The qualification round will be the same bouldering league format as before (see below) except everyone will compete on the same 30 problems whatever category you are in. Each qualification session will have the same problems to compete on. The top 20 men and women (from all categories i.e. veterans and super veterans can progress to the semi-finals if they score enough points to be in the top 20) will progress to a semi-final round on Sunday.

The semi-final round will be held on our La Sportiva competition wall in the same format as an IFSC world cup semi-final round. The top 6 men and women from this round will progress to the final later on Sunday afternoon (see below for a provisional schedule).

For anyone not competing in the event, the centre will be closed all day on Saturday 22nd February. The centre will be open to the public on Sunday at a reduced entry price to climb of £5 due to areas of the wall being closed for the competition. These will include the La Sportiva competition wall and the steep board and skip area at the far end of the centre, which will be used for isolation.

The final round will now also be live streamed online by TechNative and feature live commentary by Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Neil Gresham.

There will also be wood fired pizza on the Sunday for all competitors.


What is plywood masters?



Here is a link for the 2019 write up in climber magazine 

Below is the awesome Plywood Masters 2018 movie, shot and produced by Lancashire father and son team Simon (13) and Alastair (older than 13) Lee.

Plywood Masters 2018 from Posing Productions on Vimeo.

The Plywood Masters is one of the most long-standing bouldering-only competitions in the UK. The first event was held back in 2003, when Boulder UK Blackburn first opened. The Plywood Masters is much more than just another bouldering competition; it is a community event, where new and experienced climbers have the opportunity to climb alongside some of the biggest names in indoor and outdoor climbing in the UK.

The problems are also set by two very experienced and legendary route setters, Ian Vickers and Jamie Cassidy; both have an impressive route-setting CV, having set at numerous national and international competitions. 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.

Finally, the Plywood Masters event is also well-known for having a fun, friendly Lancashire atmosphere and now that we have settled into our new premises at Walton Summit, it is about to get even bigger and better!

So why don’t you come down and experience this great event for yourself by entering this year’s competition.



The format of the qualifying round is based on the standard bouldering league format, with problems to be attempted within a set time period with no isolation. The semi-final and final has an isolation period and problems are to be attempted on-sight, with a set number, sequence, climbing period and rest period.


All rounds

  • Each problem has a predesignated starting position, consisting of two fixed positions for both hands and optionally two fixed positions for both feet. Starting holds will be clearly marked.
  • The finishing hold will be clearly marked.
  • A bonus point will be awarded for holding a specified hold in a controlled manner. This hold will be clearly marked.
  • Brushes may be used by competitors to clean holds that may be reached from the ground.
  • Other holds may be cleaned by competitors as long as there is no tactile inspection of the holds.
  • Only starting holds may be held before making an attempt at a problem.
  • An attempt is successful when the finishing hold is held controlled with both hands.

Qualifying Round

  • There is no isolation for this round. Competitors may watch and communicate with others.
  • Competitors mark their own score card. Any cheating will be dealt with in an incredibly embarrassing way for that person.
  • Competitors are allowed three attempts on each problem.
    • first attempt is worth 10 points,
    • second attempt is worth 7 points,
    • third attempt is worth 4 points.
    • holding the bonus hold is worth 1 bonus point.
      • This point does not get added to the score but is a tie break if competitors are tied on points. I.e. if a competitor flashes 18 problems and gets a bonus on problem 19 then they will have 180 points and 19 bonus points.
  • A technical incident is defined as; a broken or loose hold, or any other occurrence that results in a disadvantage or unfair advantage to a competitor, which is not the result of an action on the part of the competitor. The problem must be repaired and the competitor allowed another attempt on the problem.
  • After the qualifying round the competitors shall be ranked according to the total number of points scored.
  • The top 20 male and female competitors will progress into the semi-final.


The semi-final round will follow the standard 5 on 5 off format. (Click here for link to documentation)

Final Round

The final will be the same format as a final in a World Cup bouldering competition with the rules set out on the IFSC (click here for link to documentation)


competitor categories

Senior Male: ages 16 +

Senior Female: ages 16 +

Male veterans: ages 45 – 59

Female veterans: ages 45 – 59

Super veterans: ages 60 +


provisional Schedule


  • Saturday 22nd February:

Doors open: 8:30am

Registration for qualifying session 1 opens: 9am

Qualification session 1: 10am-1pm

Registration for qualifying session 2 opens: 1:30pm

Qualification session 2: 2:30pm-5:30pm


  • Sunday 23rd February:

Doors open 8:30am

Isolation for semi-final opens-closes: 9am-9:30am

Semi-final: 11am-1:10pm

Isolation for Final opens-closes: 2:30pm-3pm

Final: 4pm-6pm



Senior male and female:

1st place: £1000

2nd place: £500

3rd place: £250

4th place: £125

5th place: £75

6th place: £50

There will be product individual prizes for the top 3 places in the vets 3 categories.




february, 2020



If you have a really good reason for not participating, then we invite all our customers to come and join us on Sunday 23rd to watch the semi-finals and finals where you will get to see some of the best climbers in the UK battle it out for the title of the Plywood Master! It is free to come along and watch the event and there will be food and ale available to purchase too. The centre will be closed to everyone except competitors for the qualification sessions on Saturday 22nd.

Please note the centre will be closed for public climbing on 22nd, The centre will be open to the public on Sunday at a reduced entry price to climb of £5 due to areas of the wall being closed for the competition. These will include the La Sportiva competition wall and the steep board and skip area at the far end of the centre, which will be used for isolation..