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Over the past twelve years, The Climbing Works International Festival has become a highlight of the competition climbing calendar; unofficially kicking off the competition season and bringing internationally renowned athletes to compete in the heart of Sheffield.

With hundreds of Brits making the pilgrimage to compete and watch the event live, alongside an audience of thousands on the livestream, The CWIF 2018 demonstrated both the growing popularity of climbing as a sport and the fantastic community that The Climbing Works have built around this event.

This year’s event started with three qualification rounds, where those hoping to make Sunday’s Semis and Finals put down their best efforts in a great supportive atmosphere, with stars of the International Climbing scene sharing advice with strong locals and hopeful young talent.

As always, the Saturday evening session was a particular highlight with a number of teams putting in some serious effort on their costumes and the route setters truly outdoing themselves with a set of “off-piste” boulder problems which featured everything from rotating holds to boxing gloves!

The Rab team were there throughout the day, enjoying a little of the climbing ourselves and chatting to the attendees about their favourite routes on the world famous gritstone crag, Stanage. Those who pinned a photo of themselves to their favourite route on our Stanage board were entered into a draw to win a full set of clothing from the Rab Rock Range.

Sunday’s semi-finals saw a strong line up of British talent alongside the international stars and, with the competitors competing in a rolling reverse order, the excitement slowly built as the top qualifiers came out onto the mats to climb. There was no shortage of tension, with a tight field meaning strong competition for the 12 final places.

The home crowd were given plenty to cheer for with Michaela Tracy, Leah Crane, Aiden Roberts and Matt Cousins all making the finals alongside Chloe Caulier, Jara Spate, Stasa Gejo, Alma Bestvater, Alex Khazanov, Kokoro Fujii, Kim Marschner and Tim Reuser.

With such a strong line up, the evening’s finals were unsurprisingly a knock-down affair and full credit goes to the events route setters who put up an incredible set of problems that both baffled the competitors and thoroughly entertained the crowd.

The men’s draw was a close run affair, with Kokoro, Alex and Tim all successfully topping the first three problems. On the final problem, victory was still within reach for all three of them with Kokoro narrowly taking it on attempts.

The women’s draw got off to a slower start, with no tops on the first two problems and only bonus holds separating the field. Things started to heat up at problem 3 however and, as in the men’s draw, the winner was determined on the final problem with Alma Bestvater taking home the crown with an awe-inspiring flash.

The CWIF encapsulates so many of the best attributes of climbing, from the physicality and sportsmanship on display to the incredible atmosphere and sense of camaraderie amongst the competitors. It has been a privilege for Rab to support the event over the past three years and partner with The Climbing Works to achieve one of our key aims as a business; to inspire and empower new and young climbers into this amazing sport.