Climbers reflect as the 2012 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup moves to Switzerland

The European leg of the 2012 Ice Climbing World Cup organized by the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) begins on 20 January 2012 in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

Angelika Rainer, fresh from a victory in the Lead discipline in South Korea, says she’s always had a soft spot for Saas Fee where she won her first World Cup and first World Championship.

Rainer said she has put behind her an elbow injury that plagued her last year and disappointments that made her think of quitting competitive ice climbing.

“After a good start in Cheongsong, I’m quite positive,” said Rainer. A video interview with Rainer can be found here.

On hand will be ice climbing superstars such as Markus Bendler of Austria and Maria Tolokonina of Russia who will be looking to regain their footing after stumbling at the recently concluded first phase of the World Cup competition held in Cheongsong, South Korea.

Bendler who is a veteran of 11 years of competition said he’s looking to regain his concentration and fighting form after a shaky start this year.

“I feel fitter than … before,” said Bendler. A video interview with Bendler can be found here.

“I have to find the motivation again and I have to find my style of fighting,” said Bender. “It could be a good battle.”

The Saas Fee competition takes place in a car parking lot that has been transformed into a unique venue for an ice climbing wall, with spectator galleries that spiral around the action.

Two types of competition take place in the World Cup, Speed and Lead. In Speed, spectators climb up the wall in the fastest time while in the Lead discipline spectators are judged on their ability to climb a difficult route in the best time.

There are two types of winners; those who win each phase of the competition and overall winners based on the total points accumulated after events in South Korea, Switzerland, France, Romania and Russia where the World Cup concludes on 10 March 2012.