UIAA Open North American Championships to be part of Bozeman Ice Festival

27 Sep, 2013

The competitive ice climbing season begins this year with the opening of athlete registration for the first UIAA Open North American Championships in Bozeman, Montana (U.S.A) starting on Tuesday, 1 October.

The competition takes place 13 – 15 December as part of the 17th Annual Arc'teryx Bozeman Ice Festival In Bozeman, Montana near Hyalite Canyon. The area is famous for having the longest season of accessible ice of any venue in America, a season that stretches from late October until April.

The late Alex Lowe made the area famous for its traditional ice and mixed climbing and is now home to over 225 routes in a five square kilometre area, and also home to some of the hardest non-drilled dry tool routes anywhere, up to M12+.

Athletes can check the festival website for registration detrails.

The ice climbing competition take place in Bozeman and is not yet part of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour, but UIAA Ice Climbing Commission officials are working with organizers to ensure that it is compatible with UIAA tour which takes place in Korea, Italy, France, Romania and Russia every year between January and March.

Will Gadd who won the first UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup will compete in Bozeman this year (Photo: Claudia Lopez)

"The Bozeman Ice Festival is proud to be part of the UIAA International ice climbing circuit,” said Conrad Anker, Competition Director for the event. "This is an opportunity to increase the level of competition in the US and encourage participation from around the world. We are very thankful to the UIAA for their help in making our dream a reality."

Urs Stoecker, president of the UIAA Ice Climbing Commission said it is important for the sport to take a foothold in North America, as the effort to make ice climbing an Olympic sport is pursued.

"We are excited to see this relationship grow,” said Stoecker.

The sentiment was echoed by Joe Josephson, Festival Director, who said "bringing a world class competition to Bozeman has been our goal for many years. We look forward to introducing the UIAA and the Olympic-movement for the sport of competitive ice climbing to the North American audience.”

"The entire community of Bozeman is proud to be hosting the only sanctioned event in North America and the first in many years,” said Josephson. "Our next step is to grow enough to be able to host a bone fide World Cup event and ultimately we are working toward developing a permanent "Ice Tower" facility that can host competitions and where athletes can train year round.

Bozeman officials say the their championships will feature a Saturday afternoon preliminary in Lead Difficulty on their unique "Ice Breaker Tower” featuring former World Cup Champions and other Olympic-caliber athletes from the US, Canada and Europe.

Downtown Bozeman, Montana (Photo: Photo: Ben Herndon)

On Saturday night they will reconvene under the bright lights for the Lead Difficulty Finals. The Open North American Speed Climbing Championships will be held on Sunday afternoon. The competition and festival will wrap with a pasta dinner, party and celebration of climbing Sunday night.

The Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival is operated by Friends of Hyalite, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining access and stewardship of Hyalite Canyon.

The Hyalite Clinic sign ups (limited to 260 participants), including America’s largest Women’s Only clinic, opens October 1st. A final festival schedule, live broadcast times, and registration details for the UIAA Open North American Championships can be found at www.bozemanicefest.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @bozemanicefest. #bif17

The UIAA Open North American Championships is presented by Lowa Boots and Voke Tabs.