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Tour De BIFF Manchester

Posted on January 16, 2017 by Dan Varian

 

A massive thanks to everyone who came along to Tour De BIFF Manchester! Especially to the crew over at the Depot and the team who worked on the event. It was a great night with lots of laughter and many try hard faces! The super final sure was entertaining too! We can’t wait for the BIFF Grand Final now! Hopefully we will be seeing you at The Climbing Works on Saturday 28th January for more BIFF madness, we’ve got some exciting stuff lined up. For those who aren’t competing, spectator tickets are now available here:

www.climbingworks.com/shop/media-books/events/biff-spectator-tickets/

The top 10 from this round will receive an invitation to The BIFF final.

 

Tour De BIFF Manchester - Results

1st Aiden Roberts

2nd Matt Bennett

3rd Jez Auditore

 

1st Hannah Slaney

2nd Jennifer Wood

3rd Gracie Martin

 

Full results below. The top 10 from this round (with a *, not including those already invited) will be sent a personal invite to the BIFF final in Sheffield at The Climbing Works on Saturday 28th January. Only those who receive an invitation will be able to compete at the BIFF Final!

Apologies for any misspelled names - you should work on your handwriting :P (get in touch and we are happy to ammend spellings)

 

1

Aiden Roberts

2*

Matt Bennett

3*

Jez Auditore

4*

Billy Ridal

5*

William Bosi

6*

Aiden Dunne

7*

Ryan Sparks

8*

Toby Chan

9

David Tayler

10*

Kody-James Bradley

11*

Pete Blair

12*

William Smith

12*

Joe Czubkowski

14

Flinn McInerney

15

Sam Williams

16

Andrew Guthrie

17

Jack Ainscough

18

James Hayes

19

Djevdet Ahmet

19

Ronan Plumecoq



21

James Taylor

22

David Bone

22

Ross Cooper

24

Darren Stevenson

25

Josh Procter

26

Callum Metcalfe

27

Johnny Golder

27

Bryan Roberts

29

Rob Fenton

30

Ben Cianchi

30

Sam Cooper

32

Hristo Gavrilov

33

Hayden Ashby

33

Adam Bowman

33

William Szott

33

Paul Young

37

John Rowe

38

Barrie Schofied

38

Mischa Hawker-Yates

38

Joe Jefferson

 

41

Alex Smurthwaite

42

Tom Gough

43

Kieran O’Dempsey

44

Mike Beirne

45

Paul Worsdale

46

Pietro Benettoni

47

Mark Riley

48

Michael Farrimand

49

Matt Hails

50

Edward Gale

51

Eddie Yeung

52

Sam Procter

53

Chris Quigs

 

WOMEN

1*

Hannah Slaney

2

Jennifer Wood

3

Gracie Martin

4*

Rachel Hoyland

5

Sarah Pashley

6*

Adja Remskar

7*

Olivia Ratcliffe

8*

Carol NG

9*

Abi Womersley

10*

Rachel Ketley

 

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Tour De BIFF London

Posted on December 21, 2016 by Ned Feehally

What a night of crazy footless antics, epic fancy dress and all finished off with a hilarious super final!

A massive thank you to Mike Langley and the Castle team for all of their efforts to make this event so much fun! A huge thanks to all of the event sponsors, and also to everyone who turned up and battled their way up the ridiculous boulders we set. The very first Tour de BIFF was better than we could ever have imagined!

The next round of Tour de BIFF is in Manchester at The Depot Climbing Centre on Friday 13th January. This is the final chance to get a spot at the BIFF final in Sheffield. The top 10 from this round will also receive an invitation to The BIFF final.


So.... Results!

1st Louis Parkinson

2nd Jim Pope

3rd Sam Prior


1st Jo Neame

2nd Eugenie Lee

3rd Gwyneth Uttley


Full results below. The top 10 from this round (Those with a *, not including those already invited) will be sent a personal invite to the BIFF final in Sheffield at The Climbing Works on Saturday 28th January. Only those who receive an invitation will be able to compete at the BIFF Final!

Apologies for any misspelled names - you should work on your handwriting :P (get in touch and we are happy to ammend spellings)

 

 

1

Louis Parkinson

2

Jim Pope

3*

Sam Prior

4

Jonny Kydd

5*

G Giles

6*

Max Ayrton

7*

Alex Dexter

8*

David Taylor

9*

Fraser McIlwraith

9*

Cameron

11*

Sam Roberts

12*

Tomasz Frankowski

13*

Buster Martin

14

Joel

15

Andrius Zukas

16

Luke Walters

17

Martin Heald

18

Patrick Tomison

19

Colum Reid

20

Chris de Stefano

21

Aaron Thacker

22

Jack Appleby

23

John Golder

24

Edward Kwong

25

Steve Organ

26

Imran Mohamed

27

Pavlo Omyshchenko

27

Matthew Hurst

29

Alexandros Papaspyros

30

Teige Matthews-Palmer

31

Frane Roje

32

YunSeock Lee

33

Jack Griffiths

34

Robbie Bridge

35

Qisheng Xie

36

Rupert Hugh-White

37

Bryan Cheung

38

Jacek Krolikowski

39

Luke Crossey

40

Dave Savage

41

James Pollard

42

Niccolo Floritti

43

Hadi Ali

44

Toby Freeman

45

Adrien Czerny

46

Hannis Whittam

 

 

 

1*

Jo Neame

2*

Eugenie Lee

3*

Gwyneth Uttley

4*

Maria Sasiky

5*

Yasmin Roberts

6*

Kei James

7*

Zoe Gorman

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Life Choices

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Dan Varian

 

O'Connor where art thou? a probable new 7B+ in Loch Coruisk that Caff and i put up on a quick hit north, no pads, no cleaning no faff just a fun few minutes bouldering on a walk out.

There’s a lot of things I think about when bothering to write a blog. After a hectic year of time compression thanks to having a child I have been left evaluating everything I do. Is that worth my time? Could I be doing something better? I’ve tried to use the good elements of technology to shave a few corners off. There have been a few more unorthodox time savers too. Like shaving in the garden (then you don’t have to clean up a million tiny hairs if you use an electric razor) Much of my attitude during this time has been a smash and grab attitude to time on the crags, every session initially felt like the tick of the clock was burdening my body, each failure tocking and ticking my free time. Slowly but surely we have adjusted to a better routine and looking back it was just a few waves rather than a full on shake up. I’ve put up some of my best ever problems in Northumberland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire the Lakes this year. I’ve picked more doable lines than I maybe would have and sometimes I had to adapt a session outside as to whether or not I’d slept much the night before. But its been a great learning curve, as for all the downs there've been some really great moments, i finally get that cheeky glint in a parents eyes when you're having a really crap time out in public. I used to wonder why/how they do it, and its completely incomprehensible until you've got a kiddy. is it like some sort of masons handshake for parental empathy?

Picture/Copyright: Mark Savage

 

 Part of me feels very lucky to have such supportive people around me, but also such a great environment for getting out in the hills. Where I am as is close to where I’d love to be in the UK and so its still possible for me to get out. There are still good inspiring challenges after 10 years of developing hard climbs in the area. I think everyone often finds a way to balance all the things in their life as they stack up with age but that doesn’t mean its not worth looking at once in a while. There are so many complex factors with work, family and free time I’m amazed at how many people get anything done. I'd be screwed if i lived somewhere that i couldn't nip to the crags from. Maybe i'd just be a plywood fanatic who knows, chances are we'd just have moved if we could.

 

Splooosh

Bouldering has been a great fit for Katie and I to continue to climb whilst looking after our daughter. Despite the fact I’ve been gaining more of an interest in trad again. It’s been bouldering that’s had my back this year. It helps that I’ve got years of experience doing new things so there’s a lot of time saved simply by knowing my craft, I think without that I’d have sacked off doing new stuff whilst adjusting to being a dad. In my local nip out zone of 20mins-1hr I don’t have loads to repeat so my hand was certainly forced a little into maintaining the psyche for new stuff. Luckily I had enough banked lines to provide fodder until the other day really, when suddenly something finished. My mind seemed to come out of the tunnel of thinking about what to try next and when I could sneak out after work. Like a periscope popping out I suddenly feel like I’ve got a good surface view of an optional finish line.

We are the champignons 8A+ Arran.

Photo/Copyright: Adam Long. We are the Champignons 8A+ Arran. 

Picture/Copyright: Adam Long This is probably my favourite pic of the year from a really fun week away. Thanks for the Pic Adam. And thanks for cleaning this boulder really well Ben Brotherton and pals.

 Its decision time in many ways. With trad being that little bit harder to organize at the minute I’ve settled on trying to do some proper training which is more disconnected from the outdoors. As I’ve not trained for a block period in years. I’m not the type to readily go indoors if the weather is good. Again it’s a choice I made to get things done and get out there rather than plump for getting stronger. Having things to go at in the 8A-8B+ range helps. But its always a decision where I can see the other side. If I trained more there’s a chance I might get some lines done faster, but would I have more fun?

The Punisher 8A+ shaftoe. 

Photo/Copyright: Mark Savage. The Punisher 8A+ Shaftoe

Picture/Copyright: Mark Savage I'd known about this line for years but everything was much further apart in my memory, it was nice to do it quickly on an evening session in June

 Training is certainly a great choice for people with less free time or who don’t live near goals which are easy to nip out too. Or for those who have more of a concept goal than a physical, rock hard one. But for me its always been a means to an end. If I’m good enough to be the one snaffling the lines, then I may as well keep snaffling. I’ve now reached a point where I’m just curious to see if I can get a few big weaknesses better in many ways these have become the projects in my mind. I'm really inspired by the hard work Aidan has put in this year and the way he's turned a really crap injury round to being almost an advantage. He's a role model for what hard work can do if you really want it, (and are house bound with lots of time on your hands) It wont be long until the lakes has even more hard problems of the highest standard. 

Aidan on a hard project.

 I’ve had the chance to establish another twenty-six or so font 8A to 8B since January and thanks to the fact that life is now busier, they’ve felt pretty sweet. Like scoring a winning penalty except there’s your child on the sidelines about to walk into a rock, important emails pinging away in your back pocket and dinner in the oven back home.

I’ll just share a few highlights and piccys here for the hell of it.

 

Hepburn, Callaly weekend.

The hammer and Sickle 8Aish great move off a pocket. This place is driest in autumn usually. but its only the top outs that get wet.

 

Picture/Copyright: Mark Savage

We’d headed up to the county for the weekend and I had a pass on Saturday afternoon so nipped out to a new area at Hepburn which is very rain and wind proof. It was super windy so I ran across the moor like a shit covered Tim Robbins in Shawshank

Picture: Katie Mundy.

I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see if any Dad jobs would rear their head and I’d be rained back in. I’d given Mark directions to find me by carving notches on some posts on the moor. I half expected not to see him that day. I wanted to get a few projects done which had been niggling away. The first was a really nice hard one in a rift of sandstone. Its got a solitary 2 finger pocket in the wall and you do a big move to and from it. It’s a lovely move and nice to pull hard on a pocket in the UK as they are a rare thing on hard problems here. I felt good and got it done fast. Mark rocked up and we got a few piccys. I then went and got on a slab project that I’d tried a year before but had pulled a hold off. It’d been bone dry so I knew the rock’d be good. I found a better foot and it ended up being a really classic 7B highball. Great day.

 

The next day I had a trump card to play as I was “working” Alistair Lee wanted to film me on something and I was initially skeptical if he could surpass the quality of my phone resting on a shoe. However, it meant a days climbing where I could just run around like old times. (now I know why so many parents do races and events, it’s so they have leverage)

Mr Blobby 8A+ish

Picture/Copyright: Alastair Lee

Al kept mentioning how great Hepburn looked, and I agreed, having been there the day before it is really good, and having climbed my projects there I couldn’t be bothered going back. Instead I suggested rolling the dice and going to a crag that no one ever visits to try a line I’d half spotted 6 years ago. He seemed game, which was a plus. So off we went on a real adventure to try and find something worthy of climbing. Luckily it was all much better than I remembered. A huge blobby prow of slopey compression loomed above. I warmed up by cleaning it for hours and sorting the landing. At which point I started to get properly hungry, having forgotten my lunch in the morning rush. Al had visions of only filming a man brushing for hours. so he valiantly offered to run back to the car for some fruit. Meanwhile I lay in the blueberries, which weren’t yet out, trying to muster some energy. An Armada of fluffy clouds was sailing overhead and i contented myself watching them tac and jive until sustenance arrived. A few bananas and and oranges later and I was starting to come round to the idea of trying an 8m highball with no spotter and one pad with the top out being super committing. Why not? I’m here after all and the weathers nice and i have my day pass. So after a few test goes out I went for it, and just had enough left to scrape up it. Just. It’s a brilliant prow. Similar to Lanny Bassham or Superbloc in feel. Al got to see me properly try and I got to find where fruit powered reserves go to.

 

Bowden.

 

The Hateful Eight

Bowden is very child friendly so we’ve still been pottering there a lot in the past year. I’ve got a few things left that I’d like to do but they are conditionsy. One thing that looked a bit more amenable was a line Ned and I had spotted last October. Ned had a quick go and ripped a huge jug off and landed on his arse on a rock. This would’ve put most rational people off but I’ve not got a huge amount of choice at that crag. It got wet after that during the winter of endless misery. So I’d left it until May’s dry spell, when the underside finally looked hard enough to take my weight on the crimps. With a bit of stabilizing and a deadlifting warm up on the offending rock (which is now flat) I managed to figure the roof out. I could tension and cut the move but in the end I went for a half and half, cut and pop. It felt more reliable. I finished up born lippy initially but knew that the best challenge would be to take it into pulp friction. As Northumberland’s current hardest mantle it deserved a hard start for a really well rounded problem. It’s a bit easier than this (https://bleau.info/isatis/602.html) which is a hard 8B after the mantle has repeatedly broken, so hard 8A+ seems fair for the minute. It was a great session though and whilst I was chuffed to climb the lines there in a morning (I’d previously done the exits though) I can also remember when Bowden looked like a long wave of potential. In 5 years I’ve plugged a lot of the gaps and there’s not a huge amount left for me to do there now. For now, It’s still got a few important cards left to play, and that’s a nice feeling for Northumberland’s flagship sand dune. 

 

 

Dove:

Dove Crag, Impailed, ~7a+ Flash from betabouldering on Vimeo.

 It’s sometimes weird being at the forefront of development, you don’t know whether you’re half mad by walking an hour to go bouldering under one of the best trad venues in the lakes. If people had done it for years then it’d seem normal. Pushing through this unease, Rich and I ventured up to do the classic Impaled, which is a stunning line indeed and worth the walk for any keen boulderer. On the way back down we took a look at a project I’d spotted the year before. At first it looked easy, then I just couldn’t make anything work on one of the moves. After about an hour of trying all sorts I just combatted the thing. Arms and legs pushing and pulling and then I got so tied up I had to jump out of it at some good holds. A grin burst to the surface that I hadn’t felt the likes of for years. I’d just done some genuinely new sequences that I’d never have thought of. I can’t think of another hard problem worldwide that uses crossed over gastons, toe hooks and a drop knee all at once to simply get in position for a double tap exit. It isn’t the case of most problems where you simply rag a heel, toe, foothold and pull. This felt like some really involved movement that you’d typically get in a hard corner or slab but instead it was on a 40-degree overhang. I love those moments and surprises of what’s possible. Better yet I found it on a nice afternoon out in Ullswater, with beautiful Lakeland scenery, those dappled cloudscapes on the hills and good company. Moments like that make up for all the disappointments when looking for new climbs. The Rocking Spectre isn’t aesthetically the best line I’ve ever put up, but its certainly one of the most unique sets of moves I’ve ever done. It was such a nice set of moves though its rate up there on my all time favourites. It'll be In Blocheads, Al's Film http://www.mountainfest.co.uk/programme/event/world-film-premiere-blocheads if you want to get a good sense of the place and the moves.

 

Fairhead: the whole week was fantastic, great company and perfect weather. Good lines and good trundling. Thanks to Al, Dave, Michelle and Ricky for the craic

The line on the guillotine block that became Blondie, we put a lot of work into the landing on this but it was worth it. Fairhead has plenty of stunning Aretes.

Picture/Copyright: Alastair Lee

first to the crag, last to leave. No stone unfilmed... or trundled. 

Picture/Copyright: Alastair Lee

just hanging out on a ledge, eatin' some beetroot.

Picture/Copyright: Ricky Bell

sore feet, fresh arms on paralysed power e6 OS. Great pitch.

Picture/Copyright: Ricky Bell collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Ton of New Eights

Posted on March 18, 2016 by Dan Varian

A ton of new 8’s

 

This spring, after possibly the most depressing winter in living memory things have finally picked up again and i’ve made the most of some days spent cleaning boulders in the winter.

Sat in Space

New carrock low end 8B, really nice moves on this.

 

Incidentally this has meant that I’ve lurched past the hundred marker for hard new boulders in the UK. There wasn’t any great sense of satisfaction at the time. But retrospectively its something I’m quite proud of so it seems like a decent time to look back and take an abridged look at why, where and what I’ve been doing all these years.

Motivation for putting up new problems is a funny one. These days It seems most popular in middle to older aged men. It's Incredibly rare in the fairer sex and its an activity which is somewhat challenging for anyone who can’t drive. So why do I do it?

 

Well, these are my cards.

 

When I was younger I realized that British Bouldering was still only really coming into fruition. I sort of coasted in at the beginning of boom time when loads of crags had little or no high seven or eighth grade climbs done. I noticed this when I was 17 and just beginning to operate at those grades. A lot of this was thanks to lakesbloc creating a good movement in the lakes as well as bits and bats of info trickling down from Northumberland. When I started bouldering in Northumberland in 2002 it had two straight up 8’s done. (the bitch and working class) Nowadays it has sixty one. 39 of these are from my various days out there over the years. It has been incredible finding and climbing many of these lines and to be of the privileged generation that was born at the right time.

This has been my game plan if you will. Every generation has had a great opportunity to develop new rock, mine seemed to have nearly all the best hard boulders still to do. I’ve always been captivated by the bouldering movement in this country and its home grown feel. It was exciting when I was young and lots of things were happening pretty near to home. Malc, Gaskins and Andy Earl were putting up 8A-8C’s nearby. It seemed to show that anything was possible on the blank walls left by previous generations. I took a look round some local crags to see if I could play with the big boys and couldn’t believe my luck. Places like Queens Crag were totally unclimbed bar a few mid 6’s. Imagine walking into queen’s crag and having the big blank lines all to do? blank aretes and walls like queen kong and red dragon, arc royal.

I don’t have to imagine as I was there with Chris, and it was full on super market sweep mode.

 Every so often I would head up to the crag and expect loads of people to be there as it was no secret where the venue was. Nope. And, barring a few exceptions, that’s pretty much been the case for the last 13years. line after line of great climbing all to play for, just sat there for the picking. Its been a great process sniffing things out and getting stronger and more cunning at finding them, with help from friends as the years have gone by.

 I wouldn’t say I’ve ever vehemently hunted problems. Over the years I’ve repeated more than twice as many as I’ve put up in the UK. I’ve also put up eighth grade problems in France, Italy, Germany and the USA.

I’ve just always done two key things when I’ve gone out climbing. A: kept my eyes open to good gaps. B: made the harder decision to go and explore/try the unknown. This is opposed to the ease of going to a crag and knowing what to try and roughly how hard it is and what to do.

I think whilst climbing walls are fantastic for introducing people to the sport and helping them to get strong they have inevitably taken over the traditional shirt tails, rock based, upbringing into the sport that my generation had. I think this has meant that the outdoors is more of a unfamiliar commodity than it used to be for many and its something which I think has lead the crafty middle aged man to continue to dominate the FA side of the sport for the last 10 years when it comes to doing new things . They still hold all the knowledge of what’s to be done where and unless you are good friends with your local one you will likely be on the back foot when it comes to finding good new boulders in the UK.

All I can say is those people have got a good thing going most of the time,as it can be bloody fun finding and climbing new problems, especially if they are big boomers. If you’re not part of the development wave or have never ridden on it then it is a very different thing and I’d urge anyone to have a go somewhere once or twice in their life. Good problems can also be hiding anywhere. Two of my bizzarest moments have been literally stumbling upon great problems. Once when I went for a poo in Simonside woods and found Awooga and again when I took a bee line back to the van after exploring at Succoth and found “The beast of Succoth” 10m off the path, 10m high but fairly invisible from just above it.

 I think that after the next fifteen years their wont be a lot of amazing problems left to be done in England and Wales bar the very hardest, Just like I can’t rock up to Stanage and put up 20 new HVS’s nowadays. Its not like every blank gap is climbable; as skin and rubber have their limits set by physics. Developing climbs is a one time only thing. After they’re done everyone can enjoy them, which is also a great part of it for me. but if you think you’re the type of person who’d like to head off into the true unkown or can tackle the hardest gaps still to do I’d get cracking now, as there’re buggers like me out there who really like doing it, and I’ve got pretty decent at it over the years. I’ve had so many fun experiences that it’s hard not to keep seeking them out if I spot something. I tell myself that I can repeat climbs any time when its convenient, and often do. But new lines are a one time only commodity. My only caveat is to pinch myself once in a while, if I find myself climbing some crap lowball link up its time to change tune and go and enjoy another niche or sport.

 For someone to come into the sport in England or Wales nowadays and put up a hundered hard problems which aren’t crap link ups would be a big ask. That ship has pretty much sailed and the next generations will re invent the frontline I’m sure. If you’re Scottish or Irish, I think there’s plenty to do still. Good luck.

 Here’s some pics of a quarter of my eighth graded problems that don’t really sum up the experiences too well but they might show what it’d be like to find them and where they are at. The UK is great for bouldering and, as ever I’d like to encourage people to get out and enjoy its huge diversity of rock types and landscapes.

Iron Lung 8A Callaly moor. Northumberland at its quietest, and it's pretty quiet...
callaly moorColonel Hathi 8A+

 Colonel Hathi 8A+. Put up in just under 2 hours after a stag do, i guessed the sequence fast and got lucky just before the beer sweats got a bit much.

Stand

 Marratime 8A+, of the twelve 8's i've put up in Scotland only 3 have taken more than a  a session. It Would be good to see this get a repeat, its almost perma dry on the hard bit.

Bourgeoisie

Bourgeoisie 8A+, when the crimps get this dirty the teeth come out.

half the story

Arc Royal. This one is like an old friend.

the shrubbery

The Shrubbery 8A+, index mono. The trees are gone nowadays, which has made the landing much better. 

The Clangers. 8A+/A Great team boulder move on this one Pic: Rob Hunter

Bewilderness. A limestone problem that isn't shit! Pic: Adam Long

Darkest Cloud 8A 5th cloud. Lovely slopers, minging crimps Pic: Nick Brown

Stanton Deliver 8A+, the only FA in life on hold, poor show boys! 

Pic: Nick Brown

End Sequence 8B. One of my favourite FA experiences

Black Triage, 8A+ Like Monk Life only the holds are worse and the move smaller, and no one except Nige has put any time in. Pic Mark Savage

Ivan Dobsky 8A+, my first proper session on this was amazing, i was so close on every go, the session where i did it was humid, midgy and shit but i pulled it out the bag.

Pic Mark Savage

The Crack in the Shadows 8A, quietly brilliant this one 10m high.

Pic Mark Savage

Queen Kong my first 8A FA age 18 and by far my most repeated

Pic Mark Savage

Red Dragon 8A, Ned and i carried in this massive mat from my woody to do a highball there.

Pic Mark Savage

Awooga SS 8A+

Pic Mark Savage

Home 8B

Star Power 8B+ish Proper big boomer

Wilson 8A St Bees

Hobbie Noble 8B. Simply the Best

Glen Ross. One of the UK's best moves, cool sitter project too

The Pit Problem 8A+ Fairhead, done in the dark with Jonesy and Eddie

Helicoidal flow, one of my favourite ever days out bouldering anywhere 8A+ Reiff

Nth Power, one of my most perfect moments in climbing 8A+ Nth cloud

I forget the name of this one... Pic: Nick Brown

All pics Varian/Mundy collection unless credited.

Apologies for the back patting, i'll wait until 200 for the next bout of it. It's been pretty hard work putting these problems up over the years, If anyone fancies coming out and scrubbing muddy top outs, trundling massive rocks over their feet. ripping their good jackets on endless brambles and explaining to secluded land owners just why that little rock is so important to you, give your local developer a call. 

A huge Thank you to Scarpa and MBC for their support in recent years. They're actively funding new problem development in this country which is a great thing. 

 

 

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