2018-19 UIAA ICE CLIMBING SEASON REVIEW:
STARS ON ICE

The 2018-2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour concluded in mid March with the biennial World Championships held in Kirov, Russia. This was the final act in an incredible season which witnessed three formats of World Championships, six World Cups as well as four European Cup events. Competitions were hosted on three continents and in ten countries.

Across the 13 events, 187 athletes competed representing 29 national federations. World Cup gold medallists came from Russia, South Korea and Switzerland with athletes from Canada, Finland, France, Iran and Ireland also making the podium. All World Tour events featured a livestream of the competition semi-finals and finals, with nearly four million unique views of all video content, a reach of 7.5 million people.

Photo: UIAA/Levi Harrell

The UIAA helped amplify coverage of the World Tour through its media partners, in particular EXTREME, the Olympic Channel, EpicTV, Red Bull TV, Trek TV and Swiss-Sport TV. The livestream coverage was managed by QTV. Commentary came from Liam Lonsdale. The UIAA thanks all event organisers for their support in staging memorable competitions as we all as its new title sponsor Outdoor Research without whom none of this would have been possible. A special mention also to the athletes whose skill, commitment and dedication make the sport what it is.
Below is a recap of each World Tour event.

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD COMBINED CHAMPIONSHIPS: MOSCOW

Photo: UIAA/Eugenia Aleekseva

The first ever UIAA World Combined Ice Climbing Championships were held in Moscow, 14-16 December.  The event, staged next to the famous Luzhniki Stadium, attracted 27 athletes from ten countries. The freezing temperatures certainly didn’t deter the competitors from producing some high quality action.  Russia enjoyed a clean sweep of the medals in the Women’s speed event with Valeriia Bogdan beating the ever-consistent Maria Tolokonina in the speed finals, with the results reversed in the lead category.  The prodigiously talented 17-year-old Nikita Glazyrin won the men’s speed final holding off the challenge of the outstanding Nikolai Kuzovlev.  Kuzovlev was to taste success by taking the lead gold however.

Maria Tolokonina: World Combined Champion

The most important verdict though was the winner of the Combined rankings for the two disciplines with Tolokonina and Kuzovlev awarded these crowns becoming the first Combined World Champions. The event was witnessed by an audience of over 520,000 through the UIAA’s official social media and online partners. Organised in collaboration with the Russian Mountaineering Federation.

Gold Medals

Men’s Combined Nikolai Kuzovlev

Women’s Combined Maria Tolokonina

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: CHEONGSONG

Photo: UIAA/KAF

South Korea, a staple host on the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour was the first stop of the World Cup season. The popular venue of Cheongsong, in the country’s apple growing region, provided athletes with a magnificent and technical ice tower as well as partisan local support.  Following on from Moscow, Maria Tolokonina continued her excellent start to the season, enjoying a memorable day, taking gold in both the speed and lead events. In the men’s speed event there was something of an upset.  Despite producing the fastest ascent of the weekend in the quarter finals, Nikolai Kuzovlev was beaten by compatriot Anton Nemov in the final. Kuzovlev redeemed himself in the final of the lead event, beating home favourite Heeyong Park to win gold. Organised in collaboration with the Korean Alpine Federation.

Gold Medals

Men’s Speed Anton Nemov

Men’s Lead Nikolai Kuzovlev

Women’s Speed Maria Tolokonina

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: BEIJING

Photo: UIAA/CMA

The magnificent ice climbing walls of Beijing played host to the next round from 18-20 January.  This was the second time the Chinese capital had hosted the event which witnessed some new medal winners.  The Russian pair of Nikolai Kuzovlev and Maria Tolokonina continued their dominance in the lead events.  In his first finals, France’s Nathan Clair claimed silver, narrowly being defeated by Kuzovlev.  Tolokonina was forced to settle for a bronze medal in the women’s speed finals with fellow Russian’s Ekaterina Koshcheeva defeating Ekaterina Feoktistova to take gold.  The men’s speed competition was claimed by Vladislav Iurlov who defeated reigning World Champion Vladimir Kartashev. Organised in collaboration with the Chinese Mountaineering Association.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead Nikolai Kuzovlev

Men’s Speed Vladislav Iurlov

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina

Women’s Speed Ekaterina Koshcheeva

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: SAAS-FEE

Photo: UIAA/ Stian Glatthard

The third stop of the UIAA World Ice Climbing Tour was a fitting one. Not only because Saas-Fee was celebrating its 20-year association with the ice climbing world tour, but also as the host nation enjoyed success. Local favourite Yannick Glatthard produced a faultless climb to win his first ever-gold medal beating the peerless Kuzovlev in the process.  Another Swiss athlete, Nikolay Primerov, won bronze.  The success didn’t end there, as in the women’s lead final Sina Goetz claimed silver for Switzerland, behind winner Woonseon Shin of South Korea in the Final.  The Russian pair of Anton Nemov and Valeriia Bogdan won the respective men’s and women’s Speed Gold medals. Organised in collaboration with Ice and Sound Saas-Fee.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead Yannick Glatthard

Men’s Speed Anton Nemov

Women’s Lead Woonseon Shin

Women’s Speed Valeriia Bogdan

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: RABENSTEIN

Photo: UIAA/Patrick Schwienbacher

Rabenstein, Italy held the fourth round of events, 2-3 February.  Despite a dramatic change in temperatures, with freezing weather and heavy snow, things remained the same on a sporting front as the World Tour leaders continued their impressive form.

For the second year in a row, Russia’s Anton Nemov claimed the gold medal in the men’s speed event.  Compatriot Ekaterina Feoktistova took advantage of a slip from favourite Valeriia Bogdan to win gold in the women’s event, which was especially sweet after missing out at Saas-Fee through illness.

In the lead finals it was very much business as usual as both Nikolai Kuzovlev and Maria Tolokonina asserted their dominance on the event, claiming their third gold medal in four events. Organised in collaboration with Reinhard Graf.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead Nikolai Kuzovlev

Men’s Speed Anton Nemov

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina

Women’s Speed Ekaterina Feoktistova

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: CHAMPAGNY-EN-VANOISE

Photo: UIAA/Nils Paillard/alpy.io

One of the most striking and impressive ice towers in the world in Champagny-en-Vanoise provided the setting for the fifth round of competition, 8-9 February. It was one which delivered some potentially decisive results in terms of the overall World Tour classification.

Natalia Savitskaia claimed her first World Cup Gold in the women’s speed event, as a consequence moving into second place in the overall standings, 54 points behind leader Ekaterina Koshcheeva.  In the lead event, Maria Tolokonina claimed her fourth gold medal of the season by beating reigning World Champion Woonseon Shin in the final.

In the men’s events, it was no surprise to see Russia’s Anton Nemov continue his outstanding form by once again winning gold in the speed event.  Likewise, in the lead event, Nikolai Kuzovlev all but sealed the overall title by winning his fourth gold medal. Organised in collaboration with FFCAM.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead Nikolai Kuzovlev

Men’s Speed Anton Nemov

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina

Women’s Speed Natalia Savitskaia

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CUP: DENVER

Photo: UIAA/Levi Harrell

The UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season concluded in Denver, Colorado, 22-24 February.  The event attracted a record crowd of over 25,000 spectators (potentially a record for a competition climbing event) over two days as well as impressive online audience figures reaching into the hundreds of thousands.  Held within City Civic Park helped the event reach a more diverse audience.

The men’s lead final proved a fitting conclusion with the two athletes to win gold medals this season, battling it out.  The daring Yannick Glatthard and the overall winner of the series Nikolai Kuvolev fought it out, with the Swiss youngster coming out on top on this occasion.  In the women’s event, Tolokonina once again came out on top, securing a fifth gold medal.  Woonseon Shin had to settle for a fifth silver medal, with Ireland’s Eimir McSwiggan taking bronze and overall third place.

Fresh from his lead exploits, Nikolai Kuzovlev took gold in the speed event, with Canada’s David Bouffard taking a first World Cup medal with silver. Tolokonina’s taste for gold continued as she won the women’s speed as Ekaterina Koshcheeva secured the overall season title. Organised in collaboration with the American Alpine Club.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead Yannick Glatthard

Men’s Speed Nikolai Kuzovlev

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina

Women’s Speed Maria Tolokonina

OVERALL WORLD CUP SEASON WINNERS

Men’s Lead Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS)

Men’s Speed Anton Nemov (RUS)

Women’s Lead Maria Tolokonina (RUS)

Women’s Speed Ekaterina Koshcheeva (RUS)

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS: OULU

The 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships was held in Oulu, Finland on Saturday 2 March. The next generation of climbers, 84 athletes from 10 countries tackled Oulu’s technical ice tower. Organised in collaboration with FINICE.

Photo: UIAA/FINICE

Gold Medals

U16 –

Male

Lead: Keenan Griscom (USA)
Speed: Danila Naumov (RUS)

U16 – Female

Lead: Daria Glotova (RUS)
Speed: Daria Glotova (RUS)

U19 – Male

Lead: Ivan Loshchenko (RUS)
Speed: Nikita Glazyrin (RUS)

U19 – Female

Lead: Victoria Holub (UKR)
Speed: Irina Dubovtseva (RUS)

U22 – Male

Lead: Yannick Glatthard (SUI)
Speed: Vadim Malshchukov (RUS)

U22 – Female

Lead: Sina Goetz (SUI)
Speed: Valeriia Bogdan (RUS)

UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: KIROV

The UIAA Ice Climbing season ended in Kirov, Russia with the biannual UIAA Ice Climbing World Championships, 9-10 March. The event is the pinnacle competition in the UIAA Ice Climbing calendar.

Photo: UIAA/Timur Gainullin

Of the four winners of the overall six-event World Cup season, Nikolai Kuzovlev capped an incredible season becoming the only athlete to eventually add a world title success, beating the returning Maxim Tomilov.  In the speed event, Beijing gold medal winner Vladislav Iurlov defeated Anton Sukharev.

In the women’s events, defending champion Woonseon Shin pipped Maria Tolokonina to gold.  However, the Russian didn’t have to wait long for compensation as her prolific season concluded with her crowned the world speed champion after defeating Natalia Savitskaia in the final. Organised in collaboration with the Russian Mountaineering Federation.

Gold Medals

Men’s Lead:Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS)

Men’s Speed: Vladislav Iurlov (RUS)

Women’s Lead: Woonseon Shin (KOR)

Women’s Speed: Maria Tolokonina (RUS)

The calendar for the 2019-2020 UIAA Ice Climbing season will be revealed in the coming months.


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