Conceived as a means to provide athletes with even more opportunities to climb in a competitive environment, the early rounds of the inaugural UIAA Ice Climbing European Tour have proved extremely popular.
On 3 December, Domžale, Slovenia officially opened the UIAA Ice Climbing season with 45 athletes from 12 countries gracing a well received competition. Italy’s Angelika Rainer, twice UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour winner in lead, and second overall during the most recent season, claimed victory ahead of Marian Van der Steen (NED) and Coralie Jary (FRA). In the men’s competition, France’s Louna Ladevant, 20th overall last year, finished ahead of Swiss youngster Lukas Goetz and Nikolay Primerov of Russia, recently elected to the UIAA Ice Climbing Commission as an athlete representative. Ladevant’s older brother Tristan came fourth.
Attending the event in Domžale, organised in partnership with the the Alpine Association of Slovenia, UIAA Executive Board member Thomas Kähr commented: “Domžale set a truly high standard for the competitions to follow. The feedback from the international athletes was enthusiastic and extremely positive notably in relation to the quality of the construction, the excellent routesetting and judging and perfect, hospitable organisation. Furthermore, the event generated great interest, helping draw more people to ice climbing and creating a stimulating atmosphere for competitors. This enthusiasm truly helps the athletes scale even greater heights.”
A week later nearly 60 athletes from 13 countries competed in the second event of the season in Bratislava, Slovakia. Once again, Rainer and Ladevant, 2017 Ice Climbing World Youth champion in the U19 lead category, prevailed to take first place on the podium. Completing the leading positions were Maja Sustar (SVK) and Van der Steen in the women’s competition and Juraj Svingal (SVK) and Peter Kuric (SVK). The event was organised in partnership with the Slovak Mountaineering Association (JAMES). The unique nature of the competition enabled spectators to watch two concurrent events during the finals – the Slovak Championships and the European Cup. The routes were highly technical demanding strength, precision and fast climbing.
Star of the women’s competition, Rainer commented: “I have done many competitions and some very special ones too, but descending while hanging from a falling icicle and then having to catch in the air a wooden travers was for sure the craziest of all! Lots of fun and great atmosphere!!! I got very pumped which always feels great!”
The winning climbs in Bratislava:
The UIAA Ice Climbing season reconvenes after the New Year with the World Youth Championships in Malbun, Liechtenstein from 5-7 January. The next round of the European Tour takes places in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France a week later. The main event of the season, the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour commences with the first of five World Cup events starting with Saas Fee, Switzerland on 18-20 January. The 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing season is partnered by The North Face Korea.
A full preview to the World Tour season, including details on how to follow the action, will be available on Wednesday 3 January.
The full calendar can be found here.
A dedicated Athlete’s Handbook can be downloaded here.
For full information about the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing season click here.