Round 5 of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season, the penultimate, took place in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France on 8-9 February. One of the most striking and impressive ice towers in the world provided the setting for a competition which delivered some potentially decisive results in terms of the overall World Tour classification.
The 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour is partnered by Outdoor Research, the event in Champagny was organised in collaboration with la Fédération Française des clubs alpins et de montagne (FFCAM) and La Plagne resort.
All results can be found here.
Photos from Champagny can be found here.
Women’s Speed: This is proving to be the most open of the four competitions. Five World Cups, five different gold medallists. Winner last weekend in Rabenstein, Ekaterina Feoktistova continued her impressive form in making the final. However, in the final duel against the ever-consistent Natalia Savitskaia she lost the first climb by over a second before falling early in the deciding ascent. In the process Savitskaia, 26, claims her first World Cup gold medal and as importantly climbs into joint-second in the overall rankings. Ekaterina Koshcheeva heads the leaderboard by 54 points but this weekend’s fourth place, her most disappointing result of the season, provides some hope for her challengers in the final round in the United States. Valeriia Bogdan claimed bronze this weekend. Overall Standings.
Men’s Speed: Anton Nemov of Russia is the best competition speed ice climber on the planet right now. Four World Cup golds in five events is an enormous achievement given the fickle and highly-competitive nature of speed competition. In Champagny, Nemov defeated compatriot Anton Sukharev largely thanks to a blistering first duel climb of 06:52 which was well over a second ahead of his opponent. Vladislav Iurlov defeated Nikolai Kuzovlev for the bronze medal. Nemov’s 94-point lead at the top of the standings is almost unassailable. Iurlov sits in second, Sukharev third. Overall Standings.
Women’s Lead: Six minutes to top the route and negotiate 18 quick draws was the challenge facing the eight women from six countries who contested the Lead Finals. It was a tall order requiring significant speed to cover a long route. The contenders all performed impressively. The most efficient performer unsurprisingly was World Tour leader Maria Tolokonina who climbed narrowly higher than reigning World Champion Woonseon Shin. The Russian now extends at the top of the leaderboard to 76 points claiming her fourth gold of the season. Shin again performed excellently, claiming her fourth silver medal of the season to add to the gold she claimed in Saas-Fee. In only her second appearance of the season, Switzerland’s Petra Klingler took bronze. Overall Standings.
Men’s Lead: A fourth gold medal for Nikolai Kuzovlev has essentially sealed the men’s lead competition. Despite outstanding performances from a number of contenders across the season, Kuzovlev has barely made a mistake. His aggressive yet calculated style combined with being in peak physical condition has put on him on a different level. World Champion Heeyong Park continues to improve by the week claiming a third silver medal of the season. Bronze went to local French climber Louna Ladevant. Kuzovlev leads Park by a gigantic 153 points. Overall Standings.
Replay: Lead Semi-Finals
Replay, Speed Finals
Replay, Lead Finals
Next Stop: Denver
The final round of the 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season will be held in Denver, Colorado from 22-24 February. Held within the city, the event is expected to attract a crowd of 10-15,000 spectators. Organised in collaboration with The American Alpine Club it should be an event like no other. Full details on the competition in Denver can be found here.
Preview: 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup, Denver, 22-24 February
Athletes prepare for Denver finale
Main Photo: Nikolai Kuzovlev climbs to another lead gold. Copyright: UIAA/Monica Dalmasso