Long Live The King…


Rich, originally uploaded by Ben Grubb.



So, a couple of Friday’s ago I got to mix two of my (other) passions together. Instead of photographing live music, I was asked to go along and photograph the final of the “King of the Mezz” competition at my second home; The Castle. King of the Mezz is basically a free to enter league competition which runs over four or five sets of the most hardcore and shirtless area of the Castle: The Mezzanine. There are six main bouldering area in The Castle, each being reset on rotation. This works out to new set in each area (roughly) every six weeks (if that makes sense); and when the Mezz gets done over the winter months they run the KotM comp. Sometimes the adjacent, slabby Quarry area is included too for added interest, as was the case this time. The competitors have three hours to complete as many of the problems set (usual 15 for the men and 15 for the ladies; with some overlap) receiving 10 points for a flash (or first go), seven for your second attempt, three for third and one for any subsequent successful attempt after that. Oh, and then there’s free pizza and beer afterwards. Hurrah! I don’t often tend to enter as I don’t really function too well under competition climbing conditions. I get stressed out and climb worse than usual (I know! I didn’t believe it was possible either!). However, it is a good fun night, and I thought this would be the perfect way to get involved. I tell you what; I was shattered by the end! It’s pretty intense trying to get in the right positions at the right times, covering as much of the action as possible. I was shooting with flash as well (due it being actually quite dark in there), so getting the settings and things right in time was an added challenge. I did thoroughly enjoy myself though, and I got some great shots (once I’d whittled out all the crap – of which there was lots). I’ve added some of my favourites to Flickr; which you can see below (click on the thumbnails for larger versions)…

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…Here’s hoping this is the start of lots more climbing photography for this year! I’d be keen to shoot at The Castle (or at other centres) again for sure, plus we’ve got another trip to Font sorted in just over a month which I’m very excited for, and hopefully we’ll be able to get out and about elsewhere too. Fingers crossed. Come on summer – give me what you’ve got!

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