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Up to sixty of the UK’s top ice and rock climbers are expected to compete at Ice Factor Kinlochleven on Saturday 17th December when the Scottish Mixed Masters (the final round of the British Tooling Series – BTS) is staged within the world’s largest indoor ice climbing facility.

It’s the first major rock and ice climbing event to be hosted by Ice Factor, designated Scotland’s National Ice Climbing Centre, since it reopened in March following a fire in July 2015.

The British Tooling Series requires competitors to climb as fast as possible with ice axes up set routes (problems) using ‘dry tooling’ techniques that simulate winter climbing on rock and ice.

The competition, on walls up to 13 metres high is staged in a knock-out (elimination) format with competitors racing against the clock to reach the top.

Perthshire based Simon Yearsley, Director of Big Tree Campervans is a widely respected expedition climber whose feats include making the first British ascent of Yogeshwar (6617m) and of Dunlung Kangri (6365m) in the Karakorum (2013). Proud to be sponsored by Montane, his many achievements in Scotland include the first ascent of Beggar’s Belief (VII, 7) on Ben Nevis.  Yearsley has tested himself at the Scottish Mixed Masters on several occasions and believes it is an event to be embraced in the climbing world:

“The standard of mixed climbing in Scotland is phenomenal and the sheer depth and breadth of talent in the mixed climbing scene is the envy of many major climbing nations around the world.

“Part of the reason is because in Scotland we have fantastic conditions for mixed climbing right on our doorstep, enabling people to train harder and get better at mixed climbing.

“Competitions like the Scottish Mixed Masters are a great indoor training opportunity for people who want to be able to then go out and tackle mixed climbing routes.  It’s also a fantastic, inclusive and balanced framework in the climbing world for people to take part in the competitive side of the sport.”

Yearsley added: “There are various technical techniques first used in the safety of a dry tooling indoor competition that give you the confidence to think that if you can make the moves indoors, you can also do it outdoors.

“Above all, the Scottish Mixed Masters is fun. It’s an event where you will see some of the UK’s top climbers showing what they can do but also an opportunity for someone to just pick up their ice axes and give mixed climbing a go for the first time in an inclusive, fun and safe environment. I really wish the event every success this year.”

The competition format will include categories for male, female and youth, with individual results also influencing potential selection for the GB Ice Climbing Team and forthcoming UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup events.

In addition to the £20 entry fee, participants are being encouraged to donate £5 to the climbing charity, Urban Uprising.

Established by long-haul pilot Stuart Green, Urban Uprising is a registered Scottish charity that through climbing and educational programmes helps to inspire and instill greater confidence in at risk 8-18 year olds from deprived areas.  It is currently working with kids from the North Ayrshire and the Castlemilk area of Glasgow and has plans to open in Edinburgh next year.