Plywood Masters

Plywood masters will return in 2019 on the 16th Febuary (Seniors). Juniors will be postponed until the 13th of July due to unforeseen circumstances, more details to follow shortly.



What is plywood masters?

Check out 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.


Click here for registration


Event Information

This event is for anyone aged 16 and over with 5 age categories (see below).  Competitors will have the opportunity to attempt 20 boulder problems in the qualifications, with a maximum of 3 attempts on each problem.  Each competitor will receive a score card and a self-scoring system will be used to mark down on which attempt the climb was completed.  The top 6 highest scoring competitors in the senior category will then proceed to the final and battle it out in a world cup style format of 4 boulder problems.


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 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.
    • a successful first attempt is worth 10 points,
    • a successful second attempt is worth 7 points,
    • a successful 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 fixed quotas for the senior male and female final round shall be 6.  There is no final round for the 3 veterans categories.

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 +


The following times will be used for each of the senior and junior event.

Please note that organisers may alter or extend times depending on number of entries.

10 am – 11 am: Check-in and warm-up

11 am – 2 pm: Qualification round

3 pm: Isolation for finalists

4 pm: Final


Senior male and female:

1st place: £500

2nd place: £250

3rd place: £100

4th place: £75

5th place: £50

6th place: £25

There will be product prizes for the top 3 places in the other 3 adult categories, supplied by our sponsors.

Registration will return shortly, due to technical errors.


If you have a good reason for not participating in the event yourself, then we invite our customers to come and join us for the final of either the senior or junior event, where you will get to see some of the best climbers in the UK battle it out for the title of Plywood Master!  It is free to come along and watch the final and there will be food and ale available too.  The qualifying sessions on each day are closed to the public.

Please note the centre will be closed for public climbing on 16th.