Conference and AGM – Speakers and Workshops


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Thursday 27th 1030-1130

Quantitative Market Research – Helen Lancaster

In 2017 The ABC commissioned Crystal Market Research to undertake a quantitive survey of indoor climbing, following those results we commissioned another survey in 2019 which shows growth the uptake of indoor climbing.

In this sessions Helen Lancaster will be presenting both sets of results, comparing 2017 to 2019 highlighting biggest areas of growth, including participation, trends and what is new in indoor climbing. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the results.


Thursday 27th June 1030 – 1130 

Mountain Training – Guy Jarvis

Mountain Training is the collection of awarding bodies for skills courses and qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering in the UK and Ireland.

An update on Mountain Training qualifications and guidance including bouldering supervision, managing assistants and teaching belaying. ?

Thursday 27th June – 1130 – 1230 

Keynote Speaker – Marco Scolaris 

Marco Scolaris, President of the IFSC has been instrumental in the development of competition climbing over the last 30 years. He has been president of the IFSC since 2007 and led the sport’s inclusion into the Olympics. As well as his role with the IFSC, Marco is a climbing wall owner and a passionate outdoor climber. He’ll lead a session before lunch on Thursday but will stay with us throughout the rest of the day and the evening so there will be plenty of time to meet with him informally. I know that he’ll be really interested in what you have to say and I look forward to welcoming him to our celebration of indoor climbing.


Thursday 27th June – 1315 – 1400 

Qualitative Market Research – Helen Lancaster

Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research, It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. Crystal Market Research has undertaken a qualitative survey of climbers from across the country, they conducted the research across all levels of climbing ability.


Thursday 27th June – 1315 – 1400

The climbing passport – Graham Atkins & Vertical Life

In this session, Graham and Vertical Life will be discussing all things passport, they will be highlighting the progress which has been made, what the passport will mean to your wall and the intended benefits, how will the passport work, what competencies are involved for entry.

This is your opportunity to have your say and ask any questions that you might have.


Thursday 27th June – 1400 – 1500

How can climbing learn from other fast-growing sports – Lisa O’keefe

Former Scottish rugby international Lisa O’Keefe has held a variety of roles in Sport England including Regional Director (South East) and Director of Sport where, she was responsible for the design and implementation of the National Governing Body of Sport investment to grow the numbers of people regularly active and develop talent.

In 2013 Lisa was appointed Insight Director tasked with putting Insight at the heart of delivery within Sport England.  Examples of the team’s work includes the Active Lives Surveys, and a variety audience and market analysis including the foundational insights behind This Girl Can.

Lisa has a keen interest in climbing and is a trustee of the Mountain Training Trust which runs Plas Y Brenin the National Outdoor Centre.

During her rugby playing career, Lisa won 45 Scotland international rugby caps between 1994 and 2006 and competed in two World Cups, one European championship and numerous Six Nations, and enjoyed great success domestically, winning league and cup titles with Richmond Rugby Club for whom she was Club Captain.


Thursday 27th June 1500 – 1600 

A statistical approach to climbing coaching – Tom Randall

This presentation will go into the lessons learnt operating a performance coaching company in the modern indoor-focused climbing generation. We’ll be looking at the use of profiling toolkits, how to build efficiencies and economies of scale into training and educational training in climbing specific sports science

Friday 28th June 1030 – 1130 

Leadership and Management – Korn Ferry

Have you ever wondered what personal difference you make to the business you lead? Did you know that good leadership is proven to impact business results by up to 30%? In this interactive presentation and workshop, you will hear from Korn Ferry (www.kornferry.com) the world’s largest, and arguably best, consultancies specialising in people and organisation on what leaders can do to drive business performance. You’ll also discover more about the impact you have personally and receive tips on making a bigger impact still.

Friday 28th June 1030 – 1130 

Better Belaying and Talent Pathway – Zoe Spriggins and Dan Middleton 

In partnership with representatives from the ABC and Mountain Training, the BMC has been reviewing its belaying good practice advice. We look forward to sharing the findings of this review with delegates at the conference. In the same session, the Talent Development Coordinators from the BMC are pleased to be launching the GB Climbing Accreditation Scheme. This will provide tiered options for walls to become, GB Climbing accredited talent hubs, GB Climbing accredited talent venues and/or a GB Climbing accredited centre.


Friday 28th June 1130 – 1230 

The American Climbing Market – Bill Zimmerman


Friday 28th June 1330 – 1430 

How safe is indoor climbing – Pete Stacey



Friday 28th June 1330 – 1430 

Retention of customers – Vertical Life 

How to better connect to your customers and increase retention with the help of our gym management software.


Friday 27th June 1430 – 1530 

Working at height in climbing walls – Nate McMullan

Nate will be delivering a session on Working at Height, in Climbing Walls. This session will look at all aspects of WAH during normal operations including; regular wall checks, route setting, maintenance, construction and special occasions (comps etc.). This interactive session will allow for discussion and explore general to specific situations – which can be guided by your questions. Equipment will be on display to look at the most appropriate PPE for various tasks, including some of the more obscure items. Areas covered will be: risk assessments, rescue plans, staff competency and the legal responsibilities of employers.

Friday 27th June 1430 – 1530 


Smart branding is the key to success. Hannes Huch, the founder of Café Kraft, speaks about the importance and power of a credible branding in the climbing gym industry. In a market of ever-increasing competition, a distinctive brand is one of the major factors that determine if you make it to the anchor or stay on the ground.