Korea and Russia leave mark on 2011 Ice Climbing season

The 2011 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup, which ended on March 8 with competitions in Kirov, Russia, will be remembered for the entrance of Korea and its athletes on the world stage.

While Russian athletes continued to dominate the Speed discipline and perform strongly in Lead, all eyes were on the first event of the year held in January in Cheongsong, Korea since it was the first time the World Cup series had ever been held in Asia.

And Korean athletes did not disappoint the large crowds on hand for the memorable event. Hee Yong Park finished second in Lead behind Austria’s Markus Bendler and Woon Sheon Shin also placed second in women’s Lead after Russia’s Maria Tolokonina.

Park maintained his consistency in Lead with a third place finish in Saas Fee, Switzerland, second in Kirov, Russia and by winning the World Championship in Lead in Busteni, Romania. Not surprisingly, Park finished the season with the most overall points in Lead, unseating Bendler who was the overall winner in this category in 2009 and 2010.

Russian dominance

In the women’s events, Shin was in the ascent in Lead, scoring two second place finishes (one in the World Championships) and a fourth to finish the season in third position overall, behind Russia’s Anna Gallyamova and the Czech Republic’s Lucie Hrozova.

The arrival on the scene of strong Korean athletes did not overshadow the dominating performances of Russia’s athletes, particularly in the Speed discipline. Pavel Batushev was the overall winner in the men’s category while Maria Tolokonina took the women’s crown.

In the Speed World Championships, held appropriately in Kirov, Russia, Pavel Gulyaev won in the men’s event and Maria Tolokonina took top honours among the women.

Read the full results of each of the four events held in 2011.

Go to the photo galleries for images of the competitions: Saas Fee, SwitzerlandCheongsong, KoreaBusteni, Romania and Kirov, Russia.

Lead and Speed

UIAA recognises Ice Climbing as a competitive sport and is responsible for organisation and promotion of the Ice Climbing World Cup and International Championships. There are two Ice Climbing disciplines; 
Speed and Lead. In Speed, athletes race up an ice face for the best time. In Lead competitions the climbers’ ability to master a difficult route in a given time is tested. See video.

Global reach


The UIAA, with 80 member organisations in 57 countries, represents more than 1 million people worldwide. It’s the International Olympic Committee’s recognised international federation for mountaineering and 
natural surface climbing.