2016 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour Review. We Are Ice Climbing

Another enthralling UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour concluded at the end of January following an intense and competitive series held across three continents.

All photos available on the UIAA Flickr account

Nearly 180 athletes from 22 countries took part in the competition confirming ice climbing’s growing reputation and showcasing the rising popularity of the sport.

Ice climbing has steep traditions with the sport dating back to 1912. The annual World Tour has been organized by the UIAA since 2002 and is supported by The North Face Korea.

UIAA is fully committed to fulfilling its ambition of ensuring ice climbing becomes part of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games event programme. As part of this mission, ice climbing is currently featuring as part of the Sjoggfest (snow festival) programme at the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic Games.

The Winners


Russian athletes Maxim Tomilov and Maria Tolokonina took the plaudits making a clean sweep of the competition winning both the speed and lead disciplines. More information about the two different disciplines can be discovered in our UIAA Ice Climbing media guide.

The diminutive Tolokonina was arguably the athlete of the tournament claiming an incredible six gold medals out of a possible eight.

The competition witnessed not only the strength of Russian athletes but the continued emergence notably of Korean and Swiss ice climbers and the improvements made from athletes from across the world, from Iran to the United Kingdom. In total nine different ice climbers claimed gold medals.


Tomilov who retained the lead competition he has dominated in recent years, took his first ever speed title in the closest run competition which crowned four different gold medal winners and where the leading three athletes finished separated by just seven points.

Full results, including the winners of the individual continental titles, and details about the 2016 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour sponsored by The North Face Korea are at: http://www.iceclimbingworldcup.org

The Events 

Bozeman, Montana (USA) hosted the season opener and the North American Championships in mid-December with the ice climbing community coming together to help rebuild the competition tower which was battered by storms just weeks earlier.  The venue is iconic in North America, supported by climbing heroes like Conrad Anker and Jeff Lowe. On the ice, Tolokonina and Tomilov claimed the gold medals.

The second event at the state-of-the-art complex in Cheongsong (South Korea)  the Asian Championships drew large crowds in treacherous conditions. Their highlight was watching the charismatic local hero HeeYong Park claim the men’s lead title in dramatic style.


A week later the athletes found themselves in Saas Fee, Switzerland, an amphitheatre of an ice climbing stadium. For the Saturday night lead finals, a thousand spectators cheered from various vantage points. Swiss athletes Yannick Glatthard and Petra Klingler made impressive podium births as Tolokonina and Tomilov held on to their overall leads.

Rabenstein, Italy hosted the grand season finale. The venue lies in the heart of the mountains and is the centre of Italian ice climbing. Some new faces emerged as winners including Korea’s Song HanNaRai in female lead and Radomir Proschenko in men’s speed. Ultimately Tomilov and Tolokonina were crowned ranking winners. Winning both disciplines is an incredible achievement and almost unprecedented in UIAA Ice Climbing history. Only Tolokonina (2009) has previously won the overall season ranking in both disciplines.

During the first week of February, Rabenstein also hosted the UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships, celebrating the future of the sport and the UIAA’s commitment to the next generation of ice climbers.

5 Events, 5 Videos 



Relive the best of the action from four very distinct events in as many countries. All videos now available on the UIAA YouTube and Vimeo channels.

Close to the action

The UIAA Flickr account showcases the best still images from the competition and captures the more seminal and memorable moments.





1) Maxim Tomilov (RUS) 331 points
2) HeeYong Park (KOR) 271
3) Janez Svoljšak (SLO) 270


1) Maria Tolokonina (RUS) 340 points
2) Ekaterina Vlasova (RUS) 240
3) Song HanNaRai (KOR) 235



1) Maxim Tomilov (RUS) 221 points
2) Alexey Vagin (RUS) 216
3) Vladimir Kartashev (RUS) 214


1) Maria Tolokonina (RUS) 380 points
2) Ekaterina Koshcheeva (RUS) 292
3) Maryam Filippova (RUS) 276


weareiceclimbing84 countries
3 continents
169 athletes (113 male, 56 female)
22 nationalities
born 1960, Chu Byoungsun (KOR), oldest athlete
born 1999, youngest athletes, Lukas & Sina Goetz (SUI) and David Oberprantacher (ITA)
9 different gold medal winners from a possible 16
6.76 seconds Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS) in Saas Fee fastest final round speed climb (man)
10.09 seconds Ekaterina Koshcheeva (RUS) in Saas Fee fastest final round speed climb (woman)


The UIAA is committed to its vision of ensuring that ice climbing becomes part of the official Winter Olympic Games competition programme in 2022. As part of this process, ice climbing is currently featuring as part of the sports initiation programme at the Youth Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer.