About the YCS

About the YCS


The YCS (or, to give it its proper title, the Youth Competition Series) is an annual competition run across England and Wales open to all kids aged 8-18 who are members of the BMC. It also links up, for the finals, with equivalent competition series being run in Scotland and Ireland.

The England/Wales part is made up of 8 regions which sometimes change a little from year to year (for example, in 2021 they merged a couple of regions). You can enter in whichever region you want but have to do all 4 rounds in the same region. Make sure you check the regions when you enter.

There are 4 rounds; 2 on boulders and 2 on ropes and then a 2 day final for the top 3 climbers from each region for each category (excluding category E which aren’t included in the final).

In the boulder round, the kids will have 2 hours to attempt 8 problems. They will have up to 5 attempts at each problem and can (usually) do the problems and the attempts in whatever order they want (known as ‘Scramble Format’).

The ropes rounds will involve only 4 routes. Again, the kids can, usually, tackle whichever route they want in their own sequence but will only have 1 attempt per route. The younger kids (categories D and E) will top-rope the routes whereas categories A, B and C will be leading.

The centre will, in general, split the categories up so that there’s less congestion but, if it’s a small region or a large centre, they may just set everyone off at the same time.

The age categories are based on the year of birth of the competitor. Here are the age categories for the 2021 YCS; effectively it means that kids aged 17 (or, in some cases, 18) are upper A down to kids aged 8 in lower E.

Youth EYouth DYouth CYouth BYouth A


The BMC has a few pages and sources of information about the YCS which are worth a read:

  • We always create an event per round per region so have a look through our calendar to find when everything’s planned. Once we know the specifics of the day (timings, registration details, etc.), we’ll make sure to update the event.
  • Have a look through the YCS rules (YCS 2021 Rules)
  • The BMC’s own one-page guide to the YCS (Rough guide to the Youth Climbing Series)
  • They run a Facebook page about the series (https://www.facebook.com/BMCYCS/)
  • There are 2 pages on the BMC site about the YCS (BMC Youth Climbing Series 2021 and BMC Youth Climbing Series – The Basics)
  • We’re writing a couple of articles about How to prepare for comps and a specific one about Getting ready for the YCS. These will give more details about how the series works, how the rounds work (as clearly as we can given that each region has their own ‘nuances’) and how kids should prepare for the series and each round.

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